Ask the Expert

Pet-friendly style

Q: Our house has gone to the dogs - literally. We love our two dogs but they can be tough on our home. What are some pet-friendly ways to decorate or remodel our living spaces without sacrificing style?

With Alaska having 80 percent dog ownership, we frequently work with clients making homes pet-friendly.

One of the best pet-friendly choices on the market today is Luxury Vinyl Tile Plank (LVT) flooring. LVT comes in a variety of real-wood looks and has become very affordable over the past several years due to its availability. Many older dogs, in particular, find laminates very slippery. The LVT is fairly non-slippery, waterproof and easy to install, so it is also a great choice for stairs. This is also an alternative to wood floors that scratch easily or carpet that is much harder to keep clean and is not allergen friendly.

Another favorite product is Architectural Vinyl base which is a great alternative to wood or press-board base. It not only protects flooring edges and the bottoms of your walls but is aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean. It comes in a large variety of profiles and colors.

Having the entry cleanup-ready can be very helpful. Start with a wipe off mat and some towels with a spray bottle to spot clean your dog’s feet when they come in wet and muddy. Having hooks for their leashes, and for coats and towels will keep things organized.

Keeping your home pet-friendly means dealing with fur. Choosing a color for your furnishings that is close to your pet’s fur color pallet, and using slip covers or synthetic microfiber fabrics help with this job. Using Duvet covers on bedding in durable fabrics will extend the life of your bedding.

Dogs often rub against walls or even sling slobber across a room. Using a good quality semi-gloss paint instead of satin or eggshell will help in areas where this happens. This will keep walls looking nice for years with just a simple wipe down.

Many dogs like looking out windows and claws can be destructive to painted or wood surfaces. We recommend using solid surface counter top material like Corian on your window sills. It’s easy to buff out even if the claws make scratches, comes in a variety of colors and patterns and can be shaped to almost any window application.

Keeping your home functional for your pets and not looking like a boarding facility can be a challenge. One great solution is end table dog crates readily available in many wood finishes and metals. There are many feeding, toy and storage furniture options to help keep your home beautiful.

Kathleen Squires is a CGR, award-winning industry leader with 25 years in the design remodeling business. Visit SQUIRES Design & Remodeling at