Does the Layout of Your Home Provide a Healthy Environment for Your Dog?

When you bring a new pet into your home, you take on a big responsibility. You’ll probably have to change your lifestyle, routine, and habits to make a better life for your dog—waking up earlier to take them out on walks, remembering to feed someone other than yourself, and closing the toilet lid when you’re done because they just can’t figure out not to drink the water.

In some cases, you might even consider switching up the layout or décor of your home to make it a better place for them to live. Though this sounds extreme, there are some feasible changes you could make to your home that would significantly increase your dog’s comfort, accessibility, and overall level of contentment. If you’re lucky enough to be choosing a new home and getting a dog at once, you should take these factors into consideration when making the big purchase.

Your Dog’s Mobility

Stairs can be tough for both older dogs and small breeds. If you’re not against purchasing a rancher, it would be the best choice for your four-legged friend. You’ll probably thank yourself on move-in day, too!

If a one-level home is out of the question for you, try keeping everything your dog needs—food and water bowls, toys, leashes, towels, etc.—on the first floor. When your dog ages, as they sadly always do, they’ll be able to continue living a normal life even if they can’t get up the stairs.

Open Floor Plans or a Yard

Dogs need space to run and play, whether that’s indoors or outdoors. While you don’t need both an open floor plan and a big yard, you’ll have a tougher time giving your dog the exercise they need unless you have at least one. This is one way the layout of your home affects your dog’s health.

That’s not to say you can’t successfully have a dog in a cramped apartment in the city. It’s doable, you’ll just even more responsible for taking your pup out for regular walks, since they probably won’t have much space for running around inside.

A Dedicated “Pet Zone”

Having a landing zone-style area for your dog is important not only to your dog’s comfort, but also to the functionality of your life. Having all your food, medications, brushes, poop bags, leashes and other pet supplies all in one area will make your life a lot simpler. Experts recommend stationing this near an entry so you can easily wipe their paws when they’re muddy or wet.

Opt for Durable Furniture

If you’ve owned a dog or cat for more than a few days, you’ve probably already noticed the hair that’s covering your favorite chair, or the claw marks streaked across your once luxurious leather couch. That’s why choosing durable, stain-resistant furniture is so important for pet owners. It’s especially worth looking into furniture made with Crypton, a nearly indestructible synthetic fabric that’s resistant to smells, bacteria, stains, and muddy paws.

We also recommend choosing the option closest to the color of your dog’s fur, and that goes for your carpets, too. While this obviously doesn’t keep your carpet cleaner, what you can’t see doesn’t hurt you, right? If you can avoid carpet all together, that’s the best choice for your dog hair-filled home.

Keep Dangerous Items Out of Reach

The final element of making your home a safe, healthy environment for your dog is to keep dangerous items out of their paws — and the word “dangerous” could include more than you’d think. Depending how curious your pup is, the following typical household objects could quickly become hazardous:

  • Insecticides, plant fertilizers, rat poison, and traps
  • Batteries and electrical cords
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medicine
  • Cleaners, detergents, and antifreeze
  • Razors or other sharp tools
  • String, rubber bands, and floss
  • Tobacco products
  • Any item small enough to be a choking hazard

The list goes on. From now on, you should focus on pet-proofing your home and keeping these items put away. Now that you’re a dog parent, everything you bring into your home should have passed the question, “Is it safe to have this in a house with my pet?”

While it’s not always realistic to change the layout of your home to make a better environment for your dog, there are still small changes you can make. If you’re moving and planning to bring a fur baby home, be sure to make decisions for your home’s layout, floor plan and yard space with your dog in mind.

Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

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