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Home Remodeling with Pets in Mind

Home Remodeling with Pets in Mind

When meeting with homeowners to discuss a remodeling project, a question that we ask is whether the family has pets and if so, what types. This is an important part of the interview process, as pets are members of the family that need to be kept in mind when developing the design of a new space.

Joe Klein, S.J. Janis Company Director of Design and himself a pet owner, provides an overview as to the importance of establishing a “pet zone” within a home, especially one that is being remodeled.

“Most pets need to feel safe and have a space they can retreat to if they are scared or just need time away,” Joe said. “A pet zone or space must be sized for the pet. It can be as simple as an open drawer box with a towel in it that a small animal can curl up in. It can be a small area in a closet or hidden under a stairwell or even their crate or bed in a room. The key is that the animal must be comfortable.”

There isn’t one area of the home that best serves as a pet zone. Joe said a mudroom, converted closet, or a nook work well. He said the space should be durable and easy to maintain. “Pet stain and odor resistance are very important,” Joe said. “Be mindful of your pet and the things they may or may not like. For example, if your pet is afraid of the vacuum, don’t put their space in the location where the vacuum is stored. If your pet is afraid of loud noises, like washing machines and dryers, it’s best not to have their zone share the same space.”

In speaking of dogs, Joe said the space needs to accommodate their bed, treats, and food. Flooring within the pet zone is a key component of the space. “Dog claws can make quick work of wood floors and vinyl, so I suggest using either luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring. It’s easier to clean up messes and is very forgiving to dog’s claws and potential damage from dropping larger toys,” he said. “If you’re thinking of a tile floor, consider using in-floor electric or hydronic heat, as it keeps the heat closer to the pets and helps with making them more comfortable. However, be careful that it doesn’t get too warm, which can be bad for your pets and cause them to overheat.”

When it comes to cats, they are very particular about their litter boxes and if there are multiple cats in the home, there is a need for multiple litter boxes. “Cat litter tends to be tracked by cats, so I suggest placing the boxes where excess litter can be cleaned up easily. You may also want to consider adding a tracking mat outside of the litter boxes,” Joe said.

Similar types of considerations are required for other types of pets, including fish and those that are kept in cages. “Heating and cooling are the most important factors for these animals, as smaller caged animals and fish require that their habitats maintain very specific temperature and some even humidity,” Joe said. “Location of these habitats in relation to existing radiators or HVAC vents is very important.

Another aspect is natural daylight, with proximity to windows having an impact on an animal’s environment. “Some pets require certain amounts of natural daylight, with too much and/or too little potentially being harmful. For example, fish tanks and exposure to sunlight is tricky,” Joe said. “Too much can increase the temperature harm them or cause algae to grow too rapidly and affect the chemical balance in the water.”

When the actual remodeling of the home is underway, whether it’s a small or large project, keep your pets in mind. “Pets are creatures of habits and disruptions to their routines can cause them undue stress and anxiety,” he said. “Make sure they have a safe place to go during the work. If they are afraid of loud noises, consider taking them to pet daycare or having them stay offsite during the remodel.”

It is important to keep them out of the work areas, as it might not be safe and they could get hurt. With workers potentially entering and leaving your home, there is a greater chance for your pet to escape. “Even if you believe your pet is a friendly, social animal that would never hurt anyone, put them somewhere safe and secure,” Joe said. “You don’t know how they are going to react to people coming and going from your home and all the loud noises and commotion. It’s better for the workers, you, and your pet if they are somewhere out of the way during the work. It’s one less thing you and the workers have to worry about.”

For more information on remodeling with pets in mind, contact the S.J. Janis Company at (414) 259-0300.

Home Remodeling with Pets in Mind

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