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Pet-friendly designs to incorporate into your home

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Animal lovers know that your pet is truly your family.

One way to integrate the furry companion into your life is to make your home seamlessly incorporate their needs.

From easy-to-clean sofas to wash stations, the steps you take to create your perfect oasis will also help make your house a home for your pet.

“Just as great design seamlessly melds fashion and function, the best pet-friendly kitchens create stylish, integrated spaces that allow your pets to be part of the family, without adding clutter or creating safety hazards for paws and tails,” HouseBeautiful noted.


Of course, you’ll want to take flooring into account, especially if you have a puppy or kitten. Flooring Inc. counts cork, bamboo, laminate, tile and vinyl among the best flooring for pets. These surfaces provide easy cleanup and are mostly scratch-resistant, or they hide nail marks more easily.

But your four-legged friend likely won’t always be on the floor. For those ever-special cuddle sessions, you’ll likely want them to snuggle up next to you on the couch.

In that case, Apartment Therapy advises you skip the velvet, chenille or silk. Instead, stick to fabrics with a tight weave.

“In terms of other fabrics, you can’t go wrong with microfiber or canvas. These materials are made to withstand all sorts of use, and are typically easy to clean and take care of,” the website said.

All those belly rubs are bound to work up an appetite, however. When that happens, you’ll want your pet to have a place where they can eat comfortably while not taking away from the aesthetics of your home. Feeding stations such as a build-out in the hallway or a buffet-style feeding station tucked into the kitchen island, as shown on Houzz, make for functional designs.

And how about bath time?

One of the most challenging moments for pet owners comes when you have to give them a good cleaning after a romp in the park.

Wash stations in the mudroom or laundry area can provide an easy spot for pet owners to freshen up their furry friends.

“A deep tub that is easy for your pet to access will allow you to keep your dog clean, no matter what it discovers in the backyard. You can even create a built-in crate in this room for your dog, giving it a safe and comfortable space to dry after a nice bath,” South Carolina-based Donald A. Gardner Architects said on its blog.



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You can likely easily tell when a human is stressed out by the way they behave, but it’s not so easy to tell when your canine companion is suffering from anxiety or stress. This is particularly true if you have just adopted the dog and you have not had a chance to get to know them and their usual behaviors very well.

Some dog behaviors are sure giveaways, but others are more subtle. Here are 15 ways your dog may be communicating with you that they are stressed. While these behaviors are seen in dogs who are stressed or anxious, they could also be evidence of an underlying medical problem, so if the behavior persists with no known cause, it’s time for a consultation with your vet.


Most dogs are naturally social, so if he’s trying to hide or get away from a situation, you can be sure he’s stressed. Your dog may run to another room in your house, or try to crawl under a bed or another piece of furniture. In any case, this behavior deserves investigation.



Your dog will naturally pant if she’s too warm, as this is their way of dissipating excess body heat.. But if your dog displays excessive panting, even when environmental conditions don’t warrant it, then you can be sure your dog is upset about something.


Of course, dogs will shiver, just like we do, if they are cold. But just like panting, if the temperature is not overly cold, shivering or trembling is a sure sign of stress or anxiety.


These take some intrpretation, as many dogs will like their lips as a sign of social submission. And drooling in anticipation of a treat is perfectly normal. But dogs who constantly lick their lips, drool when no food is in sight or display excessive chewing may well be exhibiting a response to stress.


This one is a pretty obvious sign and ususally indicates stress. Your dog will flatten her ears, sometimes completely against her head or “pin” them back.


Normally, when your dog looks straight at you, you don’t see the whites of his eyes at all. But when a dog moves his eyes to look around without moving his head, the whites of the eyes become quite visible. Under stress, you may notice the whites of your dog’s eyes are more visible. This is sometimes called moon eyes or whale eyes.


Scratching of course, could easily be a sign of irritated skin or even a flea infestation. But it can also be present when your dog is anxious or under stress.


This can be really noticeable when taking your dog to the groomers or to the vet. Sometimes if your dog is really stressed, he can become so stiff that it makes grooming or even a thorough veterinary exam very difficult.



If your dog is stressed or uncomfortable, he may show signs of aggression, such as curling his lips, snarling, growling or even lunging at a person or object. This can happen if the dog is approached by a stranger or a child makes noise or quick movements around him. Needless to say, you need to be very aware of your dog’s emotional state if he is in such a situation, because if he feels threatened and acts on his emotions by biting someone, there could be a very unfortunate outcome for everyone.


Barking and even howling can be signs of stress and anxiety. This behavior is particularly common with dogs who display separation anxiety when they are apart from their owners.


Even the most well house broken adult dog can revert to puppy-like behavior when under stress. This behavior is particularly repulsive to owners and patience is required. This is another symptom that might be a sign of an underlying medical condition.


All dogs get into trouble once in awhile and chew something they are not supposed to have. Repeated destructive behavior, especially when it occurs when you are not at home, is a clear sign of distress or possibly boredom and can manifest itself in chewed up carpets, torn pillows and ripped up cushions. A daily exercise routine for your dog can go a long way to put a stop to this. Plus, exercise is good for your dog and you as well.


Have you ever been so anxious about something that you just couldn’t sit still? You dog is the same way. If she’s upset, she will likely pace and prowl and just can’t lie down.


Dogs who are anxious or who are under stress are on hyper alert. They are tense, can’t sit still and look nervously about, jumping up at the slightest noise. This is exhausting for both dogs and their owners.


Dogs use their tails to signal their emotional states. When a dog is relaxed and calm, the tail is loose, wagging and flops about. But under stress the tail tells the tale. When a dog’s tail is stiff and points upward, be aware that the dog could be showing aggression or even giving a warning to anyone who approaches him.

Dogs love a predictable routine, so if at all possible, keep to a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Speaking of exercise, it’s the one thing you can do to work off some of that nervous energy and keep your dog calm. Also, providing your dog with his own “calm space” within your household, such as a crate or bed in a quiet place, can go a long way to keep him happy and healthy, both physically and emotionally.

So there you have it. Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from stress and anxiety. But unlike humans, they can’t tell us in so many words what’s wrong. As responsible owners, it’s up to us to interpret our dogs’ body language to keep them safe, calm and out of trouble. And again, please remember that if you cannot clearly indentify the source of your dog’s behavior and it persists, please consult your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition.




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Each year, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day on April 30th raises awareness for thousands of pets that are waiting for (and needing) adoption from the shelters.

Animal shelters require year-round assistance and adoption is a part of the process. Since animals come in daily, the shelters must work quickly to ensure the animal’s health and well being. Only then can they be adopted into their forever home. The day also encourages you to visit a shelter near you and find your new fur baby. Visit with the shelter to consider all the needs the dog or cat requires for the long term.

If you feel you can’t meet those needs, consider helping in other ways. Give your time by volunteering. Not only will this help the shelter by providing the animals with exercise, companionship, and socialization, but it also gives you that wonderful animal love we all so enjoy.

You can also check the shelter’s donation needs list. Bring the items you are able to give. This will help the shelter animals find their forever homes more quickly.

HOW TO OBSERVE #AdoptAShelterPet

Visit a shelter today and consider adopting. Also, remember to spay and neuter your fur babies. It helps reduce the number of unwanted pets in the population. Recent studies are showing we are making progress. Keep up the good work! For more information on adoption, visit the Humane Society or your local shelter. 

Celebrate the day by sharing pictures of your adopted pet on social media using #AdoptAShelterPetDay.

Do you need more incentive to adopt a shelter pet? Check out these 5 Fantastic Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Pet.


Hometown Hall continues researching the origins of this pet-friendly holiday. 



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National Kids and Pets Day on April 26th raises awareness of the importance of picking the right pet for children at the right time. It’s an important decision that can lead to a lifetime of bonding between pet and child.

The day also celebrates the bonds children and pets can share and a day remember safety where our pets and children are concerned. There are many benefits of having a pet in a child’s life. From fostering natural nurturing abilities to developing responsibilities, pets have a lifelong impact on a child’s development.

It is also important to remember that small children as well as the pets may not know their limitations and should not be left alone with each other. They should always be supervised to prevent injury to both the child and the animal.

Even though dogs and cats are some of the most beloved pets in the United States, pet homelessness is a huge problem in the country. There are about 70 million stray animals in the United States. Up to 8 million of these animals end up in shelters. There are 3,500 animal shelters in the country. It’s at these animal shelters that pets receive a second chance. According to the ASPCA, over 3 million shelter animals are adopted each year.

No matter the breed, size or demeanor of the human, er, canine, the shelter will take the time to find the right home for their animals. They schedule visits and have procedures in place to promote healthy adoptions for families and individuals. While some dogs have experienced injury or illness, the shelters work with veterinarians to heal the animals before making them available for adoption.

HOW TO  OBSERVE #NationalKidsAndPetsDay

Help kids and pets learn to be good companions to each other. For more information on adopting shelter dogs visit National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. For those looking for cats and kittens, visit National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

Use #NationalKidsAndPetsDay to post on social media.

Show your pride for your pawsome pets and kids with a pair of socks. Check out our complete selection in our store, here.


In 2005, Colleen Paige, Celebrity Family and Pet Lifestyle Expert, founded National Kids and Pets Day.  



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