Britain has long been known as a nation of dog lovers. The most recent survey suggests that 27% of UK adults have a dog. The estimated dog population of the UK is a whopping 10.2 million. Research also shows that more households took on a four-legged family members during covid lockdown. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that more of us are searching for ways to design pet-friendly homes, and in particular – kitchens.
And searching we most definitely are! Th term ‘Dog Friendly Kitchens’ saw a 118% rise in Google searches over the last 18 months. Meanwhile, ‘Dog Bed in Kitchen’ saw a 200% increase. In fact, ‘Dog Bed Ideas for Kitchen’ saw an absolutely massive increase in searches – up by an incredible 2700%! ‘Dog Bed Under Kitchen Worktop’ also rose by 490%.
We could go on, but we think you will have caught the drift by now. Anything with ‘dog’ and ‘kitchen’ in it has seen a dramatic rise in Google searches over recent times.
Animal friendly kitchens – A priority for pet parents
With more people working from home since lockdown, we have been spending more time with our pets than ever before. The big stumbling block for many in getting a dog has always been the time that we would need to leave them at home while we were out at work. But with the dramatic increase in remote and hybrid work patterns, this is no longer the massive hurdle it used to be. Having a dog friendly kitchen is now a priority for many pooch parents.
So, whether you’re planning a full kitchen refurb, or you simply want to know what to tweak in the house before bringing a new furry friend home, here’s the lowdown on how to create and maintain the perfect pooch-friendly space – and the ultimate dog friendly kitchen space.
First things first – Can you have a boot room?
Although it’s not practical in all houses; if you can, it’s a great idea to have a utility or boot room. It’s not such an issue in the warmer (and drier) summer months, but we are now well into the seasons where virtually every trip outside that our four-legged friends take will result in muddy paws coming back into the house. A boot room – where paws can be dried off and wiped down before entering the rest of the house – can be a godsend.
Of course, a utility space is also great for the kids too (and indeed all the family) to leave their wellies, boots, and coats. Easy-wipe ceramic tiles make the perfect flooring. In an ideal world, the utility space should have a deep ceramic sink – perfect for little doggie paws and little kiddie feet as well.
If you are designing a kitchen from scratch or are considering an extension, a boot room may be a possibility. If this is the case, try to incorporate a low bench or seating, boot storage on the floor, and overhead hooks.
Dog friendly kitchens – Think easy-clean and dark tones
If you’re designing a kitchen from scratch, opt for an easy-clean floor, such as tiles or laminate. Either surface is easy to wipe, mop, or brush up. It will save you a lot of time as well as giving you a great looking kitchen floor. Brushing or sweeping up is the least effective method for cleaning a floor if you have messy mammals. Essentially, brushing will simply spread the pet hair from one part of the floor to another. A vacuum with a hard floor setting is ideal. Failing that, a mop with soapy water will remove any paw marks with relative ease.
Accidents happen, particularly ‘toilet accidents’ with small puppies. This is why easy-clean surfaces really are a must. Vinyl and tiled flooring will withstand any amount of running around on it too. The surfaces will remain scratch-free!
In terms of colour schemes, darker tones tend to be better at masking blemishes and scuffs. Fortunately, some of the most appealing and on trend colours right now are darker hues, such as dark navy and dark green.
So, what makes a dog friendly kitchen?
Anybody who has pets will agree that our fur babies are an important part of the family. When you consider purchasing a new home or even just a new kitchen, all members of the family must come into our thoughts. In the same way that we would think through the needs of a toddler in terms of making sure that everything is kid friendly, we need to have similar thoughts when it comes to our pets. Remember that your dogs have needs just as much as the humans who live in your home.
The starting point should be by thinking about the everyday routine of you and your pets. What can you do to make the kitchen a safer and more convenient and comfortable space for you all to share? Having a space for the dog’s things to belong is important. It will help you to keep the kitchen looking clean and tidy. It will also prevent potential accidents, such as tripping over the dog bowl while you have a hot pan in your hand.
Does the style of kitchen make a difference?
In terms of practicality, you will find that slab, flat-faced kitchen doors and cabinets are a little easier to clean than panelled or Shaker-style doors. However, you shouldn’t worry if you already have the latter – or if you have your heart set on a new Shaker kitchen.
The choice of flooring in a dog friendly kitchen is much more important than your choice of cabinets. After all, the dog will undoubtedly walk all over the floor – but they won’t be walking on the cabinets!
However, when it comes to low hanging shelves or open end units, you should probably think twice. Not only will these attract dust and dog hair, there’s also a very good chance that a dog will knock things off with its tail – or pull things off with its mouth, if something seems interesting enough!
The kitchen as a contained space
Because the kitchen is such a comforting space, from a dog’s point of view, it is often the room that homeowners choose to keep their dog in when they are out at work. There are obvious other advantages of the kitchen too – tiles or wooden flooring rather than carpets, for example.
Of course, you could close the door of the kitchen to contain the dog inside. However, with a lot of modern open plan designs, this simply isn’t possible. Pet gates, very much like baby gates, can be the ideal solution. They have become all the stylish and sophisticated in recent years. From hand painted screen and bold designer finishes. This is in sharp contrast to the cumbersome functionality of pet gates of the past. You can even get gates that literally slide out of the way, conveniently.
Think hygiene and durability for a dog friendly kitchen
Hygiene and durability should be front of mind if you want to create a kitchen suitable for dogs. You should consider worktop materials that are scratch resistant and easy to clean after little dirty paws have come into contact with the surfaces.
Upstands around worktop edges also make cleaning easier, in general. In terms of flooring, we have already mentioned the importance of choosing hard wearing materials such as sealed laminate or tiles that are easy to mop and maintain. If you do have your heart set on solid wood flooring, harder woods are the best option. The likes of oak and mahogany are durable and less likely to suffer from water-stain damage.
If the kitchen becomes the place where the dog is left when we are out, you might also want to consider under heating on a tiled floor. This will be nice and cosy for the dog to lie on during those cold winter months. It will be also a welcome place of cool darker shades in the summer, a quiet spot away from the hot sun.
A designated space for your beloved pet?
Dogs, of course, are very sociable creatures. They love our company and can suffer from anxiety when they are separated for too long from us. However, just like humans, dog sometimes just want a bit of ‘me time’ and many dogs love having a space such as a little den to hide away in and spend some time on their own every now and again. It gives them a special place to relax and escape when they need a bit of quiet time.
A space such as this doesn’t have to be in the kitchen. But the kitchen is an ideal place for your dog’s bed to belong. This could be beneath a seating area or in between a run of units.
In fact, these parts of the kitchen are often the perfect setting for this, in many ways. It offers your dog the security it needs. Not only that, they have peace of mind because the humans are likely to never be too far away. The added bonus is that it will keep the kitchen floor free from clutter too.
A place to nap and hang out
The kitchen is often the warmest room in the home. Not only that, it’s also a treasure trove tempting smells and aromas. Finally, the kitchen tends to be a hive of activity. Therefore, it’s no real surprise that many dogs tend to gravitate towards the kitchen. The kitchen offers everything the typical dog could want: companionship, comfort and warmth, and the tempting possibility of tasty treats.
No, it’s no surprise at all that dogs often want to hang out in the kitchen. This can be problematic though – especially when you are cooking and preparing meals. Dogs do have a habit of placing their bodies exactly where you are stepping. Shoo them away, and you know that they’ll only be back in the same spot 30 seconds later. This is why creating a private space for your dog in your kitchen is the ideal solution.
Look for clever storage solutions
We’ve waxed lyrical already about the benefits of a boot room area, but if this really isn’t a possibility, it’s not the end of the world. It just means you need to get clever with your storage solutions. Owning a dog means that you have a lot more ‘stuff’ to store. From pet food and water bowls to toys, leads and towels to dry them down with, you’d be surprised how quickly all of this can build up.
You definitely don’t want it strewn all across the house. Neither do you want it cluttering up a particular space in the home. A dedicated kitchen cupboard, used to accommodate all the doggy supplies in an easy to reach space, is probably the next best bet if a purpose-built utility room is genuinely out of the question.
You can use hidden storage by way of pullouts or baskets to provide a storage space for food. Drawer dividers can be used to organise all your dog’s things. You might even want to get a crate – cheap plastic or designer – to house all your pup’s favourite toys and things.
Make kitchen bins dog proof
So, is there anything else specifically about your furry friend that you need to think about to make sure that you have a pet friendly kitchen? Well, yes, there is… food! It sometimes seems like a dog’s life is controlled by the desire for food. Anybody who has sat down on the sofa to eat a snack will know what we mean. You are likely to find yourself with a pair of longing eyes looking up, desperately, at you. Many dogs cunningly position themselves where they think a tasty bit of food might just drop. Whether this is under the dinner table as the family eats or underneath the worktop as you chop. Whenever there is food around in the home, it’s likely that your four-legged friend won’t be too far away.
Therefore, the kitchen bin will be a constant source of exciting smells and potentially tasty temptations. This makes an integral bin a really smart move. It looks much tidier, which helps with a dog friendly kitchen. An integral bin will also be dog proof! It can’t be infiltrated, knocked over, or rummaged through.
The importance of a feeding space
We all love the idea of great food and the warmth and comfort of the family home. Dogs – we are sure – feel exactly the same way. And the fastest way to any dog’s heart is through food! But it’s still a good idea to provide a safe space for your dog to eat away from the main traffic flow of the kitchen. Similarly, you don’t want the bowls to be in a place where they can be tripped over or where water will spill and splatter everywhere. You also don’t really want to be finding a stray dog hair in your own food either.
You can customise cabinets to include a pull-out pet drawer. These can be tucked out of sight when not in use. However, they only really work if you have a dog who eats really neatly. And, if we’re being honest, these types of dogs are few and far between. It wouldn’t be a practical solution for a dog who is a messy eater, or for those that choose to pick at their food throughout the day. What’s more, if your pooch has a tendency to dribble water, make sure you include a waterproof mat for the drawer.
Other custom options that you may wish to consider include dedicated water stations. You can set the water pot at the ideal height for the dog. This makes it really convenient to refill.
Think practicality… and safety
Think about your daily routine, such as coming in and out of the house to take the dog for walks. Having a hook on a door to hang the dog lead on will make life a lot easier.
And safety should never be too far from our minds if you want to create a truly dog friendly kitchen. If you like to have plants and herbs growing in the kitchen, just be mindful that some plants are poisonous to pets. And it goes without saying that cleaning products and such like should be safely stored in a cupboard.
How to design your kitchen to accommodate dogs
The good news is that you should only need to make a few tweaks and adaptations to your existing kitchen to make it a bit more dog friendly.
Pet-proof cabinet fronts and doors are ones that won’t scratch and scuff from those over-excited claws and paws. But this doesn’t mean you need to install a brand-new kitchen. Improvements can be simple, effective – and affordable too. Why not change up the fronts of your and drawers with replacement doors? High-gloss laminate and easy-clean surfaces can be chosen. This will make it easier to get rid of muddy paw prints and such like.
A welcoming and comfortable kitchen for all
The kitchen is often labelled as the ‘heart of the home’, but it is the family members that are the real heartbeat. And as any pet owners will tell you, their pets are as much a part of the family as Mum and Dad. What this means is that you need to make your kitchen a welcoming and comfortable space for all the family members – canine and human alike.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice style. In a nutshell, the best pet friendly kitchens are stylish, integrated and practical spaces that allow dogs to really be a part of the family. Crucially, they are also kitchens that don’t add clutter or create hazards for our cuddly friends’ paws and tails. The guidance and ideas given in this blog should help you to create the ultimate dog friendly kitchen. If you have any questions or queries, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team. We are always on hand to offer our customers the benefit of our experience and expertise.