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Home Matters

Top tips to make your home more dog-friendly

Seattle is well-known for having more pets per capita than children. So how do you coexist with your four-legged friends? Pete and Rob have some tips for making your home more pet and people-friendly.

1. Get an actual divider for your home. Rather than dividing your home into pet-acceptable areas and non pet-acceptable areas with an ugly baby gate, Rob suggests using a garden gate fence. "Check out the interior of your home," he says, "and get something that matches the interior." This could include wrought-iron or wood.

2. Groom your dog often. Rob says this will keep your home smelling fresher and help keep the hair and dander out of your carpet. Maintaining your pet's nails can keep your linoleum or hard wood floors looking new.

3. Build a dog crate. Arguments about the pros and cons of crating your dog aside, Rob is a strong believer in having an aesthetically pleasing dog crate in your home. He suggests making your own crate that matches the decor in your home. The easiest furniture to match is an end table, so "if you're handy enough, build your own," Rob says.

4. Have a feeding station. Rather than just having food and water bowls laying on the floor, Rob says you, again, if you're handy, build a small box to contain all the associated gear. This can also help your pet's ergonomics. As animals age, they are often affected by hip dysplasia. Having an elevated feeding station helps with both their digestion and musculoskeletal system. Rob adds that by adding a lid, you can also keep their food out of the way. For further details, Rob says to check out familyhandyman.com.

5. Have a pet accessory organizer. Rob recommends either purchasing or creating a cabinet where you can keep leashes and other pet accessories up and out of the way.

6. Designate a mud area. In your mud room or step-off area, Rob recommends having a mud mat where you can brush off your dog without tracking mud and dirt throughout your entire house. Pete adds that Rubbermade makes rubberized wallpaper: this can save your walls from any shake-off spray.

7. Have a pet ramp. As your pet ages, they may have difficulty reaching heights that they could previously jump to. Rob recommends having a ramp or set of stairs to those areas, like your bed if they sleep with you, to allow your pet to be independent. Pete adds that you should consider having a pet ramp next to your staircase, if your pet seems to be struggling getting up and down the stairs.

8. Create a pet agility course. Rob says you can create an exercise course for your pet on a reasonable budget by using PVC pipes. "They'll pop together and hold - they won't hold water - but they'll hold together," he says. "That way you if you get bored of your usual walk, you have an alternative."

9. Build a doghouse. "Take a little time, and take a look at your house," Rob says. "Look for design elements, like ratios, and the pitch of the roof." Matching the key features of your house to the doghouse can make the difference between a unique feature in your yard and an eyesore.

10. Vacuum regularly. "On a regular basis," Rob says, "you should be vacuuming two to three times per week. If you've got a dog in the house, it should be more than that." Pet dander can settle into your carpets, which can create allergens and be a contributing factor to asthma. If you have stone or wood, Pete recommends purchasing a steam mop. "It'll sterilize your floors and eliminate odors."

11. Build a puppy septic. "Puppy septic is a good way to deal with the 'eco-hazard' of owning a dog," Rob says. Rather than throwing dog doo into the garbage, which can create health hazards for garbage collectors and contributes to waste in landfills, Rob recommends building a puppy septic. He stresses that you should contact your local code agency to ensure that this system is permissible. "We're not talking about a full-blown, 500-gallon tank," Rob adds. "You could even build a cess-pit - dig a hole and line it with brick so the water can leach back into the ground." Pete recommends, if you're not feeling particularly up to the task, visiting doggiedooley.com, which manufactures small pet waste receptacles that can be buried.

Listen to the whole show.

Home Matters can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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