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Beyond the Dog Door
We want your pet-savvy home improvement advice
What's your best dog-friendly housekeeping tip? Share it for a chance to win prizes and be included in our story.

UPDATE: Thanks for your tips added below, sent in via email, and posted on Facebook. Look for your the wisdom of Bark readers and editors in our September issue. A winner has been selected and notified.


When my husband and I renovated our house—we replaced our solid wood front door with a glass door. We made the change because here in Seattle you will do pretty much anything to capture daylight—or what passes for daylight in these parts. But our new door proved a brilliant stroke for our dogs, especially Lulu. She lounges in the entrance and watches the world—lots of walkers and dogs, squirrels, crows and blue jays—go by. The only minor downside is the persistent cloud of nose prints on the glass.


We have other friends who were more proactive in accommodating their dogs—installing viewing holes in a fence, adding on mudrooms, or setting up outdoor cleaning stations. They chose distressed leather for dog-friendly couches, installed natural, anti-bacterial Marmoleum floors, elevated dog bowls, and replaced all chemical cleaners with natural options such as vinegar. And more.


We figure this sort of creative canine-centered housekeeping is everyday stuff for Bark readers, and we want to learn from you. From renovation ideas and quick fixes to your favorite housecleaning products and tools (tell me, is the Roomba as great as it sounds?). We want to know—and share with others—your advice.


Maybe you learned something was great for dogs by accident (as we did with our front door) or applied research and deliberate brainstorming to solve your canine-roommate challenges (or should we say, opportunities?). Post a comment below or send us an email, and you could be an important part of our dog-smart home story in the next issue of Bark.


Plus, everyone providing suggestions will be entered in a drawing for some cool Bark prizes.


Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com


CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Liz Henderson | June 3 2010 |

The dogs are allowed on all the furniture, so leather sofas and chairs (or vinyl if you prefer) with lots of cheap Ikea fleece blankets are easy to sweep clean of fur and slobber. Ikea has some inexpensive leather sofas too. Hardwood or laminate floors are great as long as you cover them with rugs so your dogs don't hurt themseves. SmartBargains.com and Overstock.com sell inexpensive sisal or jute rugs with rubber backing, perfect for this purpose. We have multi-colored berber carpet in some rooms and removeable carpet squares in others, and slate or terracotta tile on the kitchen floor to absorb water dribbles. A stain remover called Gonzo gets out everything! And of course, the Dyson Animal :) This isn't a cleaning tip, but you can turn your own crate in to a decent sidetable or coffee table depending on the size. Get a nice decorative fabric and tightly cover the desired sides. Then place a nice piece of wood or even glass on top.

Submitted by @laurajjacobs | June 3 2010 |

A vacuum w/pet hair attachment is essential. We have a Bissel, but others make them. Rids furniture, stairs of hair in a snap!

Submitted by Catrina | June 10 2010 |

I have both dogs and cats, and my Labrador loves to "get into" the cat litter box. The box is in my laundry room (no door) and I needed to keep the dog out but let the cat in to access the box.

I could not find a small fence or gate to do this so I used a baby gate that fits in the doorway using pressure (the wooden gate frame is pressed to the sides of the doorway using a lever in the middle... I think you've seen these gates!?). I put the gate above the floor about 6-8 inches so the cat could slip under but a large dog could not. So far it has worked pretty well.

The funny part was watching the Lab try to squeeze under in the beginning (before she learned she was not cat-sized)!

Submitted by Tara L. | June 15 2010 |

In an effort to curb our dogs addiction to the litter box delicacies, we too came up with a baby gate modification.

We purchase one of those very inexpensive pressure mounted wooden baby gates, but the material in the body of the gate is plastic "lattice work." They cost less than $20 from Target. We then cut a "kitty-sized door" in the bottom corner of the plastic. When the cats decided to give it a try, they also found it makes the perfect kitty back scratcher as well.

Our dog can only poke his snout through the opening, which is priceless, but cannot go near the litter box buffet anymore!

Submitted by Anonymous | June 11 2010 |

Our home only has window air conditioners in the bedrooms, So we installed a dog door in the interior of the house. It keeps our bedroom nice and cool and allows the pets to go in and out without wasting energy.

Submitted by Tiffani | June 12 2010 |

We have five pets. Two dogs and three cats. The best thing we did for our home was to buy a Hoover All Terrain carpet shampooer! It really does make the carpets look new again.

Submitted by KellyM | June 25 2010 |

We spend a lot of time in our backyard during the summer. We have a large deck with two sets of stairs that leads to a fenced-in area containing an inground pool. I was a nervous wreck leaving the dogs in the backyard alone because I was so afraid of them falling into the pool and drowning.

I wanted to construct a gate that was easy to use but easy to remove at the same time, and was having such a hard time finding deck supplies that fit this need. Since my two dogs are like my babies I started looking online at baby supplies and settled on the accordian baby gate. They fit perfectly! When I'm not using them, they close up and latch on the one side of the deck railing.

Submitted by AnSciGrad | July 14 2010 |

As a college student I adopted Eleanor a wonderfully fluffy mutt, although her papers say lab I have no doubt she is a shepherd or border mix as her energy level is through the roof.
My apartment is a half basement apartment meaning all my windows are to high for El to see out. After I noticed how she would lay and stare out the backdoor of my friends house, I proceeded to build her a window perch (think giant version of a cat perch) about 3 1/2 ft off the ground so she could be ground level to watch all her arch enemies.. the squirrels.

Submitted by Leslie Vanauken | August 2 2010 |

I have two 100 lb. dogs (a boxer lab and a neopolitan mastiff boxer) that are real babies, but extremely protective of the home. Whenever someone comes to the door (pity the poor FedEx man) they are treated to the sight of two ravening monsters on the other side of the door.

I have a front door that is bordered by two narrow vertical windows and on either side of them is a 4" wide wall that soon had deep gouges in it from overeager protectors. I was at a loss on how to repair and keep it from happening over and over, until I decided to cover the wall area with small, distressed marble tiles.

The 4" tiles from my local big box hardware store, were very inexpensive and are impervious to scrabbling claws. Plus, they look pretty classy too!

Submitted by DogDoors | September 9 2010 |

Great post! Useful tips and ideas on dog doors, thanks for sharing!

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