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7 upgrades to make your house a home for your pets

What we'll cover

  • Upgrades to make your home pet-friendly

  • The benefits of pet-proof flooring

  • Upgrades that could help your home resale value go up

Looking for the purr-fect pet project? Considering making a few pup-grades? Looking to make some pet-friendly updates to your home? Well, you’re not alone.

During the pandemic, 23 million households welcomed either a cat or dog. Not only is pet ownership on the rise, but so is consideration for our furry friends’ needs when home shopping. A recent survey from Ally Home found one in five people take their pets along when house hunting and just about a quarter say having a dedicated space for pets is a major consideration when organizing their home.

Whether you’re in the market for a new home or looking to update your existing one with your fur babies in mind, these features will make any house sweet for both you and your animals.

Linoleum and vinyl flooring has come a long way from the versions you remember in your grandparents’ kitchen and the basement of your childhood home. Today, vinyl hardwood flooring can mimic the warm look and feel of hardwood — but without the maintenance and costly price tags. Spills and accidents from non-house-trained puppies wipe up quickly without soaking in or leaving lasting damage.

Whether you’re in the market for a new home or looking to update your existing one with your fur babies in mind, these features will make any house sweet for both you and your animals.

1. Pet-proof flooring

Stain-resistant carpeting is another flooring option that can save you time, stress and money when your pet creates a mess. Choose between wall-to-wall options that don’t absorb any liquids (reducing odors and making clean-up easy) and rugs that can be tossed in your washing machine for easy laundering. No costly, professional cleaning service needed.

2. Washing station

Keeping a home clean with a four-legged friend can be a never-ending chore. A dedicated bathing area may sound like something only for grooming businesses, but you might be surprised by how useful (and cost-effective) this addition can be. This animal-friendly space (think: stainless steel for easy cleaning and a small staircase for entry so you don’t have to lift your 100-pound lab into the tub) for taking care of muddy paws or for washing away the sand after a day at the beach keeps the mess contained and makes bath time more manageable — and easier on your back.

Tibetan Terrier dog sitting in stainless steel sink getting ready for a bath.

3. Radiant floor heating

While this may not seem like an obvious pet-centric addition, your pup or cat may beg to differ. (We’re guessing the humans in your home will be big fans, too.) A heated floor will soon become your dog’s or cat’s favorite place to nap, keeping them cozy while the snow falls outside during the winter months and helping puppies warm up after being out for a walk in the elements. The radiant heat will also keep your tootsies toasty and could help improve the energy efficiency of your home.

4. Fenced-in yard

Ask any dog-owner what their number one feature in a home is, and odds are good their response will be a fenced-in yard. This popular upgrade keeps canines of all sizes safely contained and can also be a good deterrent for keeping other wildlife out. A fence also gives Fido plenty of space for exercise and those oh-so-loved games of fetch.

If you’re thinking about a home’s future resale value, it’s important to note non-dog owners may also see a fence as a desirable privacy feature and safety feature for younger children.

5. Feline fortress

Everyone deserves a space of their own, including our animals. With a little imagination and some DIY skills, you can turn an underutilized space beneath the stairs or a unique niche/alcove you’re not quite sure what to do with into your cat’s own little sanctuary. Just grab some cardboard, scratching posts, and start constructing.

Maine Coon kitten sitting on scratching post.

6. Doggy door

Gone are the days of simple flaps that were a security risk and offered an entrance for any passing wildlife. Today’s doggy doors give your pooch a sense of freedom without the danger. Smart dog doors are electronic, weather-proof and feature automated controls that unlock the flap so your pup can head outside, while your home stays secure. Programmable collars or pet-safe microchips act as the key.

7. Indoor gated community

As much as we love our pets, sometimes you need to keep them out of (or in) certain areas. Installing sliding gates can be a functional and surprisingly stylish way to keep pets in the right place. Typically made of wood, these barriers are secured to a nearby wall or doorway and are more secure than temporary freestanding or tension gates.

Most styles can be easily removed if future buyers aren’t interested, and young families may actually see them as a bonus feature since they can double as child safety gates.

Realize your home project dreams

The home upgrades you’ve been dreaming about may not be too far from reach. With a cash-out refinance , you can leverage your house’s equity and get cash to make the updates you want.

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