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Dog-Friendly Homes

To me, home means not just the house I live in but who spends time there with me: my family and good friends.

As homeowners, my husband and I have undertaken dozens of remodeling projects. Most of these projects involved updating something (that old wallpaper had to go) or fixing something (like the leaky roof). Some, however, were customized for the inhabitants of our home, like our golden retriever, Bella.

For dog owners across the country, our homes undergo transitions to make our best canine friend feel comfortable. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 36 percent of U.S. households owned dogs as of 2002, which means about 38 million homes. Dogs are adaptable beings. They will not be impressed by your fancy new barbeque (unless you’re handing them freshly cooked pieces of grilled steak from it), and they do not notice whether your new bathroom vanity is modern-chic or old-world European. Home remodeling with dogs is more about incorporating their needs into your lifestyle.

Some critical areas of the home to consider when you have a dog are: the yard/relief area (we fenced a large section), relaxation dens (such as a bed or special corner of a room where your dog can get away and rest quietly), pet-friendly floors (we have hardwood throughout, which makes cleanups easy) and safety and access (just as you’d do with childproofing, you should ensure that dangerous items are kept out of your dog’s reach). This list is certainly just a starting point; there are many ways in which you’ll need to customize your home for your dog.

For some entertaining reading, dog lovers should check out Dogster’s: For the Love of Dog Blog.

Credit: Special thanks to CalFinder.com for the blog idea and assistance. CalFinder is a free service connecting homeowners to prescreened home improvement professionals.