Published on August 4, 2021

When you’re shopping around for a new home, you don’t just have to take your own likes and dislikes into consideration—your pet’s interests matter, too. We want our four-legged friends to be able to get around the house (or yard) with total ease, which can narrow down the options. According to a survey of 1,600 homeowners from Homes.com, 68 percent of people who weren’t already living in a pet-friendly place said they have moved for the sole purpose of accommodating their furry pals in the past year. And more than half of the respondents admitted they’ve dropped plans to purchase a property because it wasn’t a good fit for their companions. 

So what if you stumble across your dream house—top-notch range, walk-in closet, tiled shower—but it’s not necessarily 100 percent compatible with your dog or cat? Before you walk away in search of more square footage, hardwood floors, or a mudroom, remember that these small renovations can make everyone feel a little more at home.

The Discreet Doggie Door

dog waiting by little doorPin It
Photography by Robert Peterson; Design by Sherry Hart; Build by Ladisic Fine Homes; Architecture by Linda MacArthur; Door by Womack Iron

Swap the usual plastic flap for a hand-welded steel door with one operable panel at the bottom. Designer Sherry Hart created this stylish option that features surface bolts that allow the owners to lock or unlock the door and leave it open so their pets can exit the wet bar–slash–laundry room and run out to the pool when they please.  

The Claw-Friendly Climbing Wall

yellow sofa with cat on shelfPin It
Photography by Aaron Bengochea

In an effort to accommodate their Bengal cat Miss Cleo’s adventurous nature and love of heights, Caitlin Mociun and Tammer Hijazi constructed a system in their living room made from IKEA Lack shelves and sheepskin throws. Bonus: If she ever tires of climbing down the road, the platforms can be used for books.  

The Low-Maintenance Yard

dogs on outdoor sofaPin It
Courtesy of Whitney Leigh Morris

You don’t need a palatial grass-covered backyard in order for your pups to enjoy being outdoors. Leave the greenery to the walls like Whitney Leigh Morris did at her tiny bungalow and embrace easy-to-hose-down gravel that’s urine-proof instead. Her lower-energy pooches spend their days lounging on the stain-resistant couch anyway. 

Discussion