Monday, July 30, 2012

Kitchen Design For Dogs

As a dog owner I am aware of how my home and my pet "fit".  Gates, water dishes and dog beds all impact how some rooms are designed.  We've recently had a couple dog "guests" in our home, which started me thinking about the number of times I've had to design a kitchen around the family pet.

By far the most common design request I receive for pets is a sleeping space.  This can be as simple as a space along the wall without cabinetry so your pooch can lie down, or something a little more elaborate with a raised platform with cushions and storage.  Remember dogs like to flake out in several different positions, some curl up, some stretch out.  Gromit used to lie on her back sometime.  Make sure you measure the actual space the dog uses when it sleeps, and also make sure there's room for it to turn around (and around and around ... ) as it tries to get comfortable.  And if you're considering a raised platform, consider the age and breed of the dog.  Some dogs (German Shepherds for example) suffer from bad hips as they age possibly making a raised bed too difficult to climb into.

Next to sleeping Gromit, like most dogs, liked to eat.  If a kitchen is large enough it's quite simple to build in a dedicated eating space.  Since dogs are creatures of habit training them to go to the same place for din-dins is simple and if designed properly the dog's dining area is a nice way to show everyone that your pet is an important part of the family.  Make sure the surfaces used are appropriate for the amount of abuse they will suffer ... anyone who's seen a hungry dog inhale a bowl of kibble will know what I mean.  The stainless steel bowls in the island shown here are a great choice, not just because they're easy to keep clean, but also because they're removable.  I'm not so keen on the painted surface around it ... let's just assume it's a plastic laminate shall we?

The biggest problem we had in the kitchen with our dogs had nothing to do with sleeping (Jacks are small and will sleep almost anywhere) but with eating ... in particular storing the large bags of dog food (thanks a LOT Costco).  We've solved the problem with a roll-out shelf in the pantry and a storage tub we picked up at some Scandinavian housewares store.  The food is easily accessible although filling the tub presents a bit of a problem for my wife (it's a height thing).

This is a solution I have used several times.  There are several pull-out waste/recycling bins on the market but I find this one from Richelieu to be one of the best.  The "Euro-Cargo" line has different configurations with different sizes and numbers of tubs.  Whichever accessory you select, be sure the tubs are removable.  You'll thank me when the tubs start smelling a little "funky".  

You may have noticed all my examples here are canine.  I am a dog person, with no experience (or desire to have any) with cats.  If you're a cat person, it shouldn't be to difficult to translate these into your world.  Cat's aren't that bright after all.

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