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What Pet Owners Want in a Home - How About You?

Pet-Friendly Home

Story at-a-glance -

  • Seventy percent of potential homebuyers have pets, and increasingly, families in the market for a new home are looking for pet-friendly amenities
  • One luxury homebuilder offers complete pet suites of varying sizes. Another recommends pet owners talk to their home builder or renovator about special touches to accommodate the needs of a pet, such as built-in dog doors, or outdoor enclosures for a cat or a bird
  • Other considerations for a pet-friendly home include washable wall paint, hard durable floors, and an air filtration system

By Dr. Becker

Well over half of U.S. households include at least one pet. And increasingly, pet guardians consider their dog, cat, bird, hamster, or other companion animal to be a member of the family, deserving of the same consideration in living arrangements as the kids, or grandma, or the in-laws.

Around 70 percent of potential homebuyers have pets, and many bring them along to look at homes for sale.

Would a couple with children build a home that was not suitable for children?

Would a professional who works from home build a house that would not accommodate a home office?

Would a family that includes a handicapped family member build a home that was not properly equipped for even basic handicapped accessibility?

Of course not, you say. So why would a pet owner build a home that was not designed to make pet ownership as convenient as possible?

-- The B.O.L.D. Company1

Adam Cowherd Construction of Springfield, Missouri, builds pet-friendly additions to existing homes. “Owners want it uniquely functional, very contemporary and something that catches the eye,” says Cowherd.

Is it any wonder that enterprising homebuilders are now offering a wide and wonderful variety of built-in pet amenities in new home construction?

How About a Pet Suite in Your New Home?

Luxury homebuilder Standard Pacific Homes, which is building developments across the U.S., conducted “livability studies” with homeowners, and discovered that pets were a constant theme. As a result, the company now offers pet suites as an option in all their new homes.

The large suite is 170 square feet with tiled walls and floor. It comes equipped with a wash station, handheld sprayer, a drying area complete with a commercial pet dryer, water station, automatic feeders, a bunk bed, cabinets for food, treats and toys, a stackable washer and dryer, a flat-screen TV, and a French door that opens to a dog run.

In the Los Angeles area, the large Standard Pacific Homes pet suite adds $35,000 to the price of a home. In other communities, there are smaller pet suites available starting at 60 square feet and $8,000.

If a potential buyer has a cat, Standard Pacific can modify the pet suite to include, for example, a scratching post instead of the pet dryer. There are also endless ways to design a room or several rooms in a home to appeal to a kitty’s natural drive to climb, jump, and perch on high. You can see examples here, here, and here.

For additional ideas on how to design cat-friendly spaces, take a look at Jackson Galaxy's latest book, Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!).

Other Great Ideas for Built-in Pet-Friendly Comfort and Convenience

The B.O.L.D. Company (B.O.L.D. = Builders of Lifelong Dreams) encourages dog owners to ask their homebuilders about built-in pet doors to the backyard or garage, invisible fence, and permanent or removable dog gates or Dutch doors. Another possibility is a pet waste management system.

Cat owners may want to talk to their builder about installing litter box cabinets in less-traveled areas of the home that even include low-volume fans to keep air circulating and odor to a minimum.

And since indoor kitties really enjoy safe, protected access to the outdoors, cat guardians might want to think about a pet door to an outdoor kitty enclosure. Other options could be a sunroom, a screened porch, or extra-deep windowsills or window seats.

Bird owners might want to think about a backyard flight cage, or a built-in birdcage or bird room indoors.

Click here to find out Dr. Becker's top tips against seasonal pet allergiesClick here to find out Dr. Becker's top tips against seasonal pet allergies

Additional Pet-Friendly Ideas for Your Home

When building or renovating a home where pets will live, it’s a good idea to select, non-toxic pet-friendly flooring and wall coverings. Washable paints help maintain clean walls, and hard floors are easier to clean and more durable for households with pets.

It’s also a good idea to pick colors that hide pet hair, and surfaces that won’t reveal every scratch or claw mark, for example, a distressed wood floor. Another thought is to install pet supply storage that will be inaccessible to a determined, clever dog or cat.

It’s also important for the sake of home cleanliness to make smart vacuum (for example, a strong central vacuum system) and air filter choices.

+ Sources and References