any ideas for building a home with pets in mind?

trinigeminiNovember 17, 2009

We started to talk a bit about this topic on the thread dealing with senior pets and someone suggested I start a new thread.

We are considering building a home. We will always have bulldogs and I have been thinking about ideas to make their lives a little easier. For instance we would build a one story instead of two. Someone on the other thread mentioned cork flooring which might be better on an old dogs limbs, hips and shoulders.

We know that we will have a dog run in the yard for them to do their business. We will be building on one acre and I think that is too much freedom for a dog to have in Florida, so they will have their own little yard within ours where they are completely safe, with some agility toys in there. They will still never be outside alone, but this way while we are in the pool they can have free roam a bit outside.

Are there any other ideas any of you would like to have in a house. I'm particularly interested in hearing from dog owners as I know cats are a bit different.

I have checked out pools already and see that we can design one with a natural beach entry instead of stairs. This was also mentioned on the other thread, I think its a great idea.

Any other ideas?

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In your laundry area have a sink installed that is large enough to bath your dog. Also put in a pull out faucet. Have an area beside the sink where you can prep the dog before bathing. You might even do a customized grooming table.

Possibly a doggie door to your enclosed fenced outside area. You would probably want to put a top on the actual enclosure. That way they can go outside if you are gone.

And since your talking about a pool. Do you plan on having a wash off area outside before you enter the house? If so, you might want to attach a long hose to the shower so that you could also wash off the dog before entering. Or have a hose attachment plumbed separately.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 7:56PM
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Interesting ideas housefairy. I didn't even think about a wash area for them outside the pool area. (although I did think of one for the humans) We live in Florida and generally bathe the dog outside...easier on all of us so we won't need a wash area in the house. But I like the idea of having a nice paved area to wash them off after the pool.

I've thought about giving them a doggie door off the screened in patio for their play area...still not sure on if I like the idea of them running around outside on their own. My DH is retired and I work from home most days so going out is never an issue...a human is always around to care for them...florida has too many wildlife hazards for me to feel comfortable with a doggie door.

I been trying to figure out what kind of "cover" to put in the play area. When it rains it would be nice for the dogs to be able to go out without getting soaked. But my dog is a sun bunny so it also needs to have open air so they can soak up some sun. Maybe just cover the half that's used for their business.

Anyone have some good poop disposal far all I've come up with is a hidden garbage to dump the poop....not sure if dog poop can be used in composting but if it can that would be great.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 8:27PM
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Are cork floors sealed? I would be concerned with clean up and humidity affecting the floors, I suggest area or throw carpets they are easy to clean and can be moved to problem areas.
As for too much space - for dog I dont think there is such a thing.
You need to watch for killer bees nesting and fire ants in Florida as well as bugs of all sorts, snakes and alligators and most of all 24 hour protection from the heat as bulldogs over heat quickly.
My friends had their house built it had a dog entry to a place behind the kitchen. The area was insulated and had access through a kitchen wall panel (easier to clean the floors) the panel had been cut a third the way up the wall and had a handle on it. If you did not know what it was, you would never notice it. The dogs had their own space to sleep and hang out out of the elements and they also had access to inside the house - the owners had easy access to the dogs place - it was very cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Almost like a little bunker for them.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Mazer...that's why I won't let them run free on an acre...too much trouble. :-) I think a smaller space will be easier to watch them when we are working or otherwise occupied outside.

I was reading up on cork floors and apparently they handle liquids quite well...although I would love to hear some first hand experience.

The below is from a quick google search. We will be asking the builder about it.

"Cork flooring is the perfect choice for people who have pets at home but it is essential to make sure that their nails are kept short in order to prevent floor damage.

Cork flooring is known to be resistant to moisture as it contains suberin, which is a waxy substance. Suberin is the reason why floating cork flooring is best when it comes to moisture resistant. However, it is still best to avoid spilling fluids on the floor and letting it stand for a long time. Make sure to clean the spills right away if you want to maintain the quality and beauty of your floor."

The problem with area rugs, which we are experiencing now is that the dogs are so heavy and clumsy that they move the carpet, so it is still not great for their legs. I'm still not sure about the cork flooring though and will be doing further research before I make the decision.

Our dog also has access to the entire house...the outdoor run is really just for them to poop in and have some safe outdoor space where we don't have to monitor so closely.

I have also thought of the heat and their outside will have ample shade. We generally do not allow the dog outside for long in the summer....even in the shade sometimes the humidity is just too much for them. We also will have an outside patio that will be totally screened in for clean up area.

As for sleeping space...well our dog is spoiled and she sleeps in bed with us.

I was not aware of killer bees in Florida...although I was aware of all the other hazards....alligators are why I do not want land anywhere near water. :-) My little bullies would be a nice tasty treat.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 11:27PM
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QUOTE--I been trying to figure out what kind of "cover" to put in the play area. When it rains it would be nice for the dogs to be able to go out without getting soaked. But my dog is a sun bunny so it also needs to have open air so they can soak up some sun. Maybe just cover the half that's used for their business.--QUOTE

If the play area is beside the house or building have you thought about a motorized awning? You can now get them with remote control and wind sensing units. With a remote you could open it from inside the house if it's raining. Obviously you could open it fully or partially if you are wanting shade. They really work well. Ours is over a decade old and still works flawlessly. It's one of those things you wonder why didn't I buy this sooner.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 4:37PM
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housefairy I love that idea and will ask the builder about having one installed. Thanks :-)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Seems to me using non slick flooring would be best. At least in the dog freindly areas.

An automatic waterer is a good idea as is an automatic feeder for free feed dogs.

Fans hooked to a thermometer/auto temp control in the dog play area. Maybe a mister added. I don't know if the mister would be a problem with Bulldogs upturned noses, tho.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:43PM
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Make sure to wander over to the flooring forum and ask about people's experience with cork or other type of flooring. Real user reviews are priceless. I know there are people who compost dog waste with their other stuff (but you have to have a fairly large compost pile, etc... I don't know all the details. In the past, I've had a doggy dooley (dog waste only composter). I actually liked it, and plan to make my own next spring--when the ground thaws... You could show the builder the concept and have him make something a little more upscale and tough than the cheapo-creepo doggy dooley. Outside, on pathway through the garden, I'd use crushed granite (it's a little coarser than sand) they mix it with some kind of stabilizer to it stays in place. Pea gravel seems to get stuck in the paws and then they drag it in the house and I doubt if it feels good, while flagstone etc.. is slippery and in Florida it might get quite hot for puppy paws.

I'll be interested to follow this. I win the lottery and I'd love to build my own dog house. :-)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 6:41PM
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I have never understood why we don't have doggy toilets. I would design one like one of those old porcelain sinks with attached drainboards, with a flush mechanism that washed the whole surface as it flushed waste away.

You should never put the waste of meat-eating animals in your compost pile. Don't remember if I know WHY, though!

I made a dog-washing station next to the back door in my old house. Hot and cold running water with a pull-out faucet. We had a small back yard, a black walnut tree, and three dogs who would stalk and chase the squirrels who sat in the tree eating nuts. That made for a muddy backyard every fall, winter, and spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog-washing station

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 1:39AM
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Very cute doggy wash area. We have been trying to figure out the poop thing. I've checked out the doggy dooley and it looks promising. But we live in Florida where the water table is high so it may not be good for us. We are also going to be asking the guy who installs the septic tank about an outdoor dog potty. Something like what nancy is talking about. It seems like there should be a way to have an outdoor doggie poop disposal connected to the main septic tank. We've even though about putting a regular toilet out there that can be flushed but we'll seems a little gross.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 1:55AM
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If you have tile and do a dog door next to the wall (and I did this), put the tile partially up on the wall to accomodate the mud and gook that dogs pick up coming into the house.

I have tile floors with heat mats underneath (that is for comfort for both human and dogs). Plus, tile is SOOOOO much easier to upkeep than any other surface for dogs.

Here's a pic of the dog door with the tile partially up the wall (much easier to clean than the painted wall):

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 1:56AM
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I should also mention that door leads out to a privacy fenced half acre back yard. Notice the wall color as well. It's a ralph lauren "rattlebox" color suede paint. Since I have 3 large dogs, the tone is near the color of their fur, and the grout is also a "dirt" color. It makes like soooo much easier.
I utterly believe in designing for the life you have, not the life you wish you had.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 1:59AM
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Cindy putting the tile on the wall makes dog is always pushing doors open with her face...wonder how tile on the door would look :-) I don't plan on having doggie doors...can't because I live in Florida and my breed of choice is the english bulldog. My dogs have all been sun bunnies and then can hardly breathe...I have to keep them inside almost all summer.

I know we will always have dogs and always have our breed, it just makes sense to design with them in mind. For instance, we have decided on a one story, because the dogs are not great with steps, especially when they get older. The bedrooms will be carpeted so they have an easier time jumping onto the bed. I think we will go with some sort of textured tile throughout the rest of the house.

We will never have a nice picture perfect house with nice white floors and pretty furniture thats always spotless. Our dogs drool and slobber...its inevitable that there will be spots on the floor and hair on the carpet and couches. But I would not have it any other way.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 2:41PM
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Hey, in FL you could put a flushing toilet outside. Just hide it a bit behind bushes or fencing.

Love the tile and the thought you put into the grout color, Cindy.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 10:10PM
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I was hoping for something a bit more hidden, but we are going to have an outdoor bathroom anyway for the pool area so we could always just use that. I loved the idea of the doggy dooley because the top was about level with the ground so you could easily just push poop over.

Down here were have dung beetles and they have been doing a great job of taking most of the poop out of my yard now...kind of cool to watch...the first time I thought I saw the poop breathing I freaked out....I waited a bit and then saw the beetles rolling and burying it. Two dogs will be a bit much for the beetles though I think.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 9:01PM
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If you're going to have a septic system you could certainly have a doggie dooley. They are essentially the same thing but the doggie dooley is much smaller and not as deep. I've been meaning to build one myself out of a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom and lower sides. Maybe you could try that now just to see if you like it.

I am so envious of you getting to build a new house with your pets in mind. If I could I'd have a flat type toilet with a spayer built in and I'd teach the cats and the dog how to use it. LOL, I would love to just spray the waste away rasther than scooping and constantly running outside.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 10:42AM
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Yes- a heated tile floor for old dog joints...and a couple plushy soft beds/rugs so the dogs can have a choice of soft or warm. When it is hot outside the tiles are cool. One of the soft/waterproof Gelpro kitchen mats are easy to hose off and great for arthritic bones.(and to prevent arthritis from laying on hard surfaces). A smaller pen is also dangerous- several times a year here where I live dogs get bit by rattlesnakes that slither into their pens- the dogs have no way to 'get away'. Don't do a plumbed automatic waterer- you won't know if your dog is drinking too little/enough/too much water, unless you buy a Nelson with a gallon measurement on it. Better to put a bowl/bucket down daily so you know how much your dogs are drinking.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 1:29AM
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Ilm I would never do an automated waterer or feeder for the reason you mentioned. It is generally warm in Florida. We will also be carpeting the bedrooms (the dogs sleep with us). Also we will have fireplaces for their comfort.

I did not think about the dog run being too small for them to get away. I do not plan on leaving the dogs outside unattended at all so that won't really be a problem...but it does make me think a bit more. Now a whole new concern :-) Thanks alot!!! :-)

So anyone have ideas on a pest, snake, frogs free outdoor area? :-)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 5:15PM
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A friend has a really cool run for her two mini dachshunds. There is a doggie door in her laundry room (set in a people door) that leads out into a run about 8' by 15'. It has a gravel floor, a wall three concrete blocks high, then chain link up to about 7' high with a chain link "roof". They cover part in the winter with shadecloth to keep the snow off.

This ensures that coyotes and hawks can't get in and keeps some crawlies out. They don't watch their dogs 24/7, they can run in and out as needed to do their business. It's just a "potty area" and all the toys are inside, so they are not usually out there very long at all.

Something like that may work for you as well, depending on how big your dogs are.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 8:48PM
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We have English Bulldogs.

I like the idea of the concrete walls combined with the fencing. I won't do a doggie door because my dogs like to lay in the sun....which is not good for them in Florida. As a matter of fact bulldogs like to do lots of things that aren't good for them :-)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:44PM
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