Most people consider only themselves when designing a living space. They may want taller counters to suit their height, never considering how difficult it will be for children to reach them. Or they might add steep or narrow stairs that cause problems when elderly family members visit. This is not uncommon; when people are paying to upgrade their homes they naturally want the final product to meet their own needs and sensibilities. But when you share a living space it’s a good idea to think about others in your household during the design process. So why wouldn’t you create a living space that caters to the particular needs of your pets?
This is not to say that you need to turn your home into a litter box or an aviary. But putting a little thought into what motivates the behaviors of your pets could actually save you a lot of heartache down the line from animals that act out. For example, dogs like to be near their humans, which is why many want to jump up on the furniture with you. By providing them with their own resting places close to your favorite leisure spots you can keep them happy while curbing them of a bad habit. And if you’re tired of your dog waking you in the middle of the night to be let outside (or using the floor as a toilet), simply install a doggie door. The trick is to predict potential problems based on your type of pet so that you can design a living space that is conducive to a harmonious household.
Of course, most animals need more than food and a restroom to lead a full life. Young animals need play time, toys, and a space in which to romp, especially if they’re largely indoor pets. Or you might have a breed that is particularly energetic. Either way, you don’t necessarily want them streaking through the house day and night, ruining your nice stuff. For this reason you might want to think about how you can design your space so that your pets can expend some energy without throwing the whole place into chaos. Cats like a variety of toys, but they also like height, and you can use both to your advantage. By adding carpeted or padded shelves (designed to support the weight and force of a leaping feline) you can allow them to traverse entire rooms without ever touching the floor. And you can tack down toys that will have them running up and down the walls until they’re positively pooped out.
Dogs, on the other hand, are a bit easier in that they tend to develop a preference for a particular toy (or type of toy). However, runners will go up and down the hallways or around and around rooms at full tilt when they’re full of energy. How can your home design combat this? If what you’re worried about is letting your dog out in an unfenced yard, consider creating a warren of tunnels from clear, plastic tubing (like a hamster setup) so that your dog can head out the dog door and run around the yard while remaining confined. Otherwise you’ll want to leave throughways in your home that are clear of clutter and outfitted with bumpers on sharp corners so that your dog can chase a ball down the hall without fear of harming himself or your home goods.
You can also find ways to optimize your interior living spaces if you’re trying to accommodate birds, rodents, reptiles, or all manner of other pets. And if your house simply isn’t suited to the pet you have you could always look up online estate agents to help you find living arrangements that will work better for everyone in your family, pets included. In truth, you can make nearly any domicile work, but if you truly want to create a happy home, it behooves you to consider the needs of your pets during the design process so that you can all cohabitate peacefully.