Dogs and cats are treasured members of the family. And most pet owners believe they give more love and affection than they demand. Vet visits, shredded toys and carpet steaming are likely as much a part of your life as your pet is. Don’t banish your best friend to the backyard or force your pet to release pent-up energy in unhealthy ways. These relatively simple renovations can improve life for Fido — and for you.

 

Install tough flooring

Whether you’re planning on getting a kitten, or your dog is getting up there in years, pet-friendly flooring can make a world of difference for your pet at any age. Lingering smells, permanent stains and ruined hardwood don’t have to be inevitable.

Tile and stone flooring are water- and stain-resistant, as well as simple to clean. Strand woven bamboo flooring is also a scratch- and stain-resistant option, in addition to being sustainable. For something easier on your budget, luxury vinyl is also a durable option to fight against stains, scratches and dents.

Craft a play place

Animals have a lot of energy, and sometimes we don’t have it in us to play with them as much as we should. This can lead to destructive behaviors that can damage your furniture and flooring. Instead of paying to send your dog to day care, or punishing your cat for scratching the couch again, invest in a pet playpen designed specifically to keep them entertained. Build ramps for cats to get a bird’s-eye view of their domain. Construct or buy a portable playpen for your puppy.

Disguise the litter box

No one likes to see (or smell) the litter box, especially if you have more than one cat in your home. Repurposing a bench, upcycling a cabinet and even resorting to the unused space under the stairs are ways to mask unsavory sights and scents.

Heat the kennel

Think it sounds over the top to install radiant heating in your dog’s kennel? It’s not. A heated space can ease aches and pains in older dogs and those recovering from a surgery or sickness as well as pets with short hair who live in colder environments.

If you have stone or tile floors, consider expanding radiant heat outside of the kennel and throughout the house so everyone in the house reaps the benefit, no matter where they are.

Create a cleanup station

When your dog or cat gets into something messy, a carved-out cleanup space in your laundry room, garage or mudroom is the perfect solution.

There’s no limit to the possibilities here: From an alcove with an open drain to an elevated tub with built-in stairs, your pet (and your place) will stay sparkling clean.