Pet comfort a growing priority in remodeling

More Americans have pets now than at any other time in history. For home builders and remodelers, pet ownership has created a fast-growing market for creative use of space to accommodate the special needs of animals.

Kayla Van Lydegraf, vice president of Dale’s Remodeling of Salem, says the company is getting increasing requests for making homes both pet-proof and pet-friendly. She says most requests fall into these five categories:

1. Place to hide the litter box. Clever ways to provide easy access while keeping the box discreetly out of view. A closet door with a cat-sized entry, an under-the-stairwell cat closet, or a cabinet between a washer and dryer are easy, popular options.

2. Feeding nook. A built-in height-appropriate stand within a cabinet area or under a kitchen island keeps bowls securely in place.

3. Adding a mudroom. Not only ideal for wiping muddy paws and drying rain-soaked fur, it's great for storing leashes, toys and balls, pet crates, towels, and your walking shoes and raincoats. Cabinets can accommodate food storage, and dedicated space holds food and water bowls. Flooring withstands rough use, and is easily cleaned/maintained. Dream feature: a paw-washing station with hose and drain.

4. Lower window placement and window seat. Dogs and cats love window watching! A room with the window lowered, with a durable window seat and stain-resistant cover, is a sure favorite. A window seat can also disguise a litter box.

5. Pet door. Fenced yard required for dogs, and cats have needs of their own, such as penned patios with places to climb, scratch and explore. A designer can help you determine what size and type of pet door is best for your home and pet.

Dale’s Remodeling has created online collections of pet-friendly remodeling projects to help generate ideas. See “For the Pets” Houzz Ideaboard and Pinterest Board at