Pets are a big part of the family, and these four tips will make both you and your pets more comfortable at home.

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When you think about remodeling your home, you probably focus on things that improve its comfort, convenience and appearance. That’s great, but you may also want to give some thought to how you can make things better for your furry family members as well.

According to a national survey by the American Pet Products Association, some 68 percent of U.S. households (roughly 85 million families) own a pet. A lot of us consider pets to be an important part of our families, so how can we make them feel at home?

One of the advantages of working with a design/build remodeler is that you can customize your remodeling project to meet your specific needs. That means you can make design-specific additions or changes to your home that make life better for your pets — and for you.

Here’s a look at a few ideas that will make your home more pet-friendly — and also more convenient for you.

1. Put in a pet portal

You may have a dog or cat that wants to go in and out multiple times during the day. If you get tired of having to open and close the back door to your house all day long, a pet portal allows your pet to exit and enter at any time, without your involvement. A properly constructed pet portal will seal out heat, cold and moisture, while making it easy for your pet to get in and out. You can also lock it at night or if you’ll be away for a few days. It’s also easy to have a small ramp installed if the opening is above yard level.

2. Build an observation post

Dogs and cats both enjoy having a perch from which they can watch the world around them. You can build in a bay-style window that provides a comfortable place for cats or dogs to lie down and watch out the window. As a bonus, it makes a comfortable window seat for humans who want to do the same thing! Sometimes it can even keep your pets off your furniture.

3. Install a retractable/hidden pet gate

If you have rooms that you want to be off-limits to pets on occasion (such as the kitchen or dining room), you may want to install a gate that slides into the wall and stays hidden until you need it. Instead of wrestling with those awkward (and ugly) portable pet gates, you can simply slide out the gate from the wall when you need it. When you don’t want to use it, nobody (except you) will know it’s there.

4. Create a pet-washing station

If you prefer to bathe your pet at home — but don’t like struggling with getting your dog or cat into and out of the tub — a pet-washing station in your laundry room may be the solution. You can enclose the shower on three sides and make it easy for your pet to walk in. You can also install the sprayer and controls at a convenient height to make it easier to control the experience. In addition to being easier for you and your pet, it keeps pet hair out of your bathroom. You could also install the pet spa in your basement or mudroom if that’s more convenient.

A good contractor can help with these and other pet-related improvements you choose to make. If you have pets that are a big part of your lifestyle, make the improvements that make life better for them and you.


Brooks Powell is the general manager of  Powell Homes and Renovations and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the MBA’s weekly column. If you have a home  improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to