This post was written by Anne Haimes of AH Interiors. Anne is a passionate interior designer with over 20 years’ experience, based in Henley-on-Thames, England.
As all animal lovers will agree, no home is complete without a four-legged friend or two. I’m a self-confessed dog person (sorry Fritha!), and my canine companions have the run of the house.
Admittedly, my dogs aren’t always the best houseguests. Many a cherished sofa has been destroyed by sharp claws, and I’ve had to invest in an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner to deal with the thick layers of fur.
However, as I regularly tell my clients, welcoming a dog into your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have to forsake style. There are many attractive ways of dog-proofing a house, without resorting to bare floors and plastic-coated furnishings.
Many first-time dog owners overlook their indoor gardens, in the mistaken belief that puppies don’t eat plants. However, as many dismayed owners have learned, some dogs will nibble just about anything they can get their paws on.
Green-fingered pet owners should take care, as many common house plant varieties are poisonous. Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell the difference between plants, and your four-legged friend could mistakenly eat something lethal.
If you don’t want to lose your beloved greenery, opt for wall-mounted pots. Be sure to place them well out of your dog’s reach! Repurposed mason jars make excellent wall planters:
There are also a number of stylish made-for-purpose varieties available. You should always make sure your plants are dog-friendly, even if using wall planters. Accidents do happen (as I can attest!), and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Cyclamen, heart-leaf philodendron, and aloe plants are just some varieties to avoid. Many types of palm and fern are dog-friendly, although you should always check with a vet first.
Unless you enjoy vacuuming, deep-pile carpet is the worst possible flooring choice for dog owners. The fibres tend to be dirt magnets, trapping hair, mud, and unsavoury odours. If you absolutely must have carpet flooring, consider a hard-wearing, short-pile variety.
Vinyl is the best flooring option for your canine companions. It’s durable, won’t soak up any ‘accidents’, and is easy to clean. However, many style-conscious homeowners (myself included) will baulk at the mere suggestion of vinyl.
Many of my clients believe that wooden floors are incompatible with dogs. However, as long as certain precautions are taken, there is no reason why they can’t choose wooden flooring. Long claws can cause dogs to slip on wooden surfaces, so it’s important to keep Fido’s claws trimmed (although responsible dog owners should do this anyway).
Scratches are inevitable, so choose flooring which can be refinished numerous times. Placing washable, short-pile rugs in areas of high traffic can significantly reduce wear and tear.
All new dog parents face a major decision - should you let your pet sit on the furniture? My two have the run of the house (just one pleading look and my resolve crumbles away), but many dog owners are fiercely protective of their soft furnishings.
One solution is to purchase a raised dog bed or ottoman. Your canine companion will feel comfortable and close to you, without putting your three-piece suite in danger. A word to the wise - make sure your chosen piece has a removable cover for easy cleaning.
If your pampered pet sleeps on your bed, bear the height of the mattress in mind. Some breeds may find it difficult to jump up, particularly as they grow older. A conveniently-placed ottoman or bedding box at the end of the bed can act as a stylish stepping stone - choose one with a fabric top to prevent slipping.