By Bob Walsmith Jr.
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors
For most of us, our pets are family. We let them sleep in our beds, we put nutritional supplements in their organic croquettes and we organize birthday parties for them. In fact, we love our animal companions so much that we even choose a pet home and home design.
These numbers tell the story. Forty-three percent of pet owners say they would move to accommodate their pet, according to a 2021 study from the National Association of Realtors. What’s more, 68% of pet owners surveyed by Realtor.com say they would pass up a perfect home that didn’t meet their pet’s needs.
Here are some pet features that will make a home more animal-friendly.
#1 A bathing station for pets
Washing a dog in a regular bathtub can be miserable. Even if your pup is brushed regularly, she still needs to clean him up after he plays in the dog park or rolls in the mud in the yard. One solution is to build a grooming station in your home for quick cleanups. For larger dogs, you can install a commercial grooming tub with a handheld sprayer or shower that suits your pet. The location is flexible: a grooming station can go in a laundry room, a hallway or a garage.
#2 Pet Proof Floors
Accidents happen, even with the best behaved pets. That’s why floors with a hard, waterproof surface make your life easier. Think tile, hardwood, terrazzo, cement, or laminate. Stay away from wall-to-wall carpet. Carpets absorb pet stains, so they’re a bad idea. Adding hardwood floors to your home also increases the dollar value.
#3 Built-in pet beds
Pet beds lying around the house are unattractive and consume valuable floor space. The alternative is to build pet beds into cabinets, shelves, and other furniture. You can build a pet bed on the bottom shelves of a bookcase or in a kitchen or hall cabinet. Or put it under the stairs. If hiring a cabinetmaker or carpenter to build a seamless pet bed isn’t in your budget, you can also purchase pet beds that look like furniture.
#4 Built-in Pet Doors
You don’t want your pets to get into certain places in your home, and most of us keep them out with baby gates. Plastic baby gates are flimsy and unattractive. A better option is a built-in door. You can hire a cabinetmaker to build a custom pet door for a door that is mounted on a hinged door jamb. Or consider pre-made deluxe pet gates that you can mount to a door jamb or stairwell.
#5 Outdoor Ramp
Just like humans, dogs and cats can get too old to climb stairs easily. If stairs separate your pet from the outside, build a ramp from the door to the patio to make your home accessible as it ages. Be sure to design the ramp at an angle that they can navigate. Small or short-legged dogs, such as basset hounds and corgis, may need a ramp to climb stairs even when they are young.
#6 Enclosed patio for cats
Also called catio (cat + patio), these outdoor enclosures provide a safe place for your cat to play outside. The structure, with a roof and four walls, keeps your cat safe and unable to harm wildlife. Catios can range from window box sized to lanai sized large enough to enclose a patio with seating for people.
#7 Pocket Pet Doors
Those pet doors with rubber flaps and plastic frames that are cut into a door can be flimsy and ugly. Fortunately, there are sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing alternatives. You can get exterior doors with built-in pet doors. Integrating a pet gate into your home design is better for you and your pup because it’s more permanent, secure, and charming.
#8 Fenced Yard
A fenced yard is near the top of most customers’ lists when looking for dog-friendly features. There is no substitute for a safe place for your animals to spend time outdoors.
Bob Walsmith Jr. is a Southern California native and Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara. During his work with the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Bob served on the BASIC Committee, the Education Committee, was Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Multiple Listing Services Committee. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Alpha Resource Center. Bob lives in Goleta with his beautiful wife Julie. When he is not working, Bob likes to play golf, enjoy good wine, good food, and walk along our beautiful coastline. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and/or [email protected]