Often celebrated as man’s best friend, dogs touch nearly every aspect of the daily lives of their owners, from the moment they wake up to feed and walk their beloved pets to the last scratch between the ears as they say goodnight. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that when dog owners decide to build a new home, their furry four-legged companions factor prominently in the design of the house.
According to Statista.com, there are more than 89 million dogs living as pets in U.S. homes today and most of them are considered an important member of their human family. Rick McAlexander, CEO of The House Plan Company, a leading residential design plan company based in Oregon, can attest to the importance of dogs to his clients as he gets many requests for dog-friendly spaces and amenities in the design of a new home.
"Gone are the days when homeowners simply requested an unsightly chain-link, fenced run for their dogs. Clients now come to me with their vision for a dog-friendly living space that includes everything from designated dog entrances and washing stations to playrooms,” McAlexander said.
The House Plan Company’s farmhouse-style Nottingham #70768 house plan exemplifies a design that caters to dogs. In this dog-friendly house plan, Fido has his own entrance from the garage and a dedicated dog room adjacent to the mud room, where a walk-in washing station makes it easy give him a bath after playing outside. All of the dedicated dog spaces are tiled for easy clean-up of muddy paw prints and shedding fur. McAlexander also noted that some homeowners opt to install a wall dryer near the washing station, making the area a complete grooming spa for their pets.
This home design also features a screened porch that opens from the mudroom and makes a perfect spot for Fido to nap in the sun or dry off from a bath. At the other end of the porch, doors lead out to a covered patio for easy access to shaded protection and the backyard.
Another great example of a house plan that caters to dogs is the modern farmhouse, Sweetbriar #23252 by Dowds Design Collection of Mebane, N.C. and featured on The House Plan Company. In this home design, a breezeway location from the garage to the mudroom allows for muddy paws to be cleaned before even entering the house – a mudroom exclusively for pets. A pet shower with shelving and built-in benches for storage helps to keep grooming supplies close at hand and a spacious, attractive kennel makes Fido feel right at home when his owners aren’t home.
“When our kids were growing up, we had two dogs and three cats in our home. I began adding this feature to home designs for the same reason I add mudrooms to nearly every house plan – better organization and less stress,” explained Laura Dowds, owner of Dowds Design Collection. She added, “I want my house plans to be family friendly, so why not make them pet friendly too? Our pets need space for all of their items, such as food and treats, toys, grooming products and especially the dreaded litter box.”
McAlexander agrees that it’s important to locate the dog-centric areas near utilities for easy cleaning.
“Think about transition areas from the outside for your dog as you would for yourself. Mudrooms are designed as a place for your family to leave muddy boots and sports equipment on their way inside the house,” explained McAlexander. He added, “It’s important to have the washer and dryer nearby to throw dirty dog towels, as well as a sink for quick washing up. It contains everyone’s mess to one area of the home.”
A little pre-planning goes a long way in designing a home fit for Fido. It makes a dog-loving lifestyle so much more enjoyable when your beloved pet has his own space and you don’t have to worry about a dirty dog running through the rest of the house.