Dog Windows

February 19, 2014

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We’ve all heard of a dog door, but have you ever heard of a dog window?  Studies show that dogs tend to be less stressed in environments where they can visually see what’s going on outside of their confined spaces.  That’s why we’re seeing more and more kennels and canine boarding facilities incorporating runs and cages with glass doors and partitions vs. solid.  It is said that by expanding a dog’s visual horizon it can actually have a calming effect- making them bark less and relax a little more.  It’s an interesting concept, and one that can easily be in incorporated into your own dog-friendly home.  All you have to do is add a few strategically placed windows.  Above are some examples I found on Houzz.  I think it’s pretty neat how a low level window can not only potentially improve your dog’s mood, it can also provide a unique and visually dynamic design element.  Check out more possible dog windows in The Barkitect’s “Pet’s Perspective”  ideabook on Houzz.

Image Sources (from top to bottom): One, Two, Three, Four, Five

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In my opinion, traditional dog crates are not very attractive.  They’re typically made from black coated metal wire or some form of blah colored rigid vinyl plastic.  They’re big, clunky, and the metal ones are annoyingly loud.  Most people end up shoving them in the corner, or storing them in some back room to keep them out of the way and out of sight- myself included (yes, my Great Danes are crate trained).  A much more practical and visually pleasing solution would be to make your own custom built-in crate.  Every home is full of spaces that would work perfectly.  Below are some ideas that you may not have thought of…


The space underneath stairs is often times a forgotten place.  It’s typically an awkward shape and therefore not ideal for humans to occupy.  Occasionally you’ll see it being used as a coat closet or some kind of storage nook, but did you know that it’s also an ideal space for a built in dog crate?  It’s small, cozy, and tucked away.



Closets are also great little nooks that often get over looked.  If you’re fortunate to have lots of closet space in your home, then consider converting the lower half of one of them into a built in dog crate.  Closets are most often located in bedrooms, so it’s a great way allow your pup to sleep in the same room as you, without him or her taking up any floor or bed space.



Base, or lower cabinets are ideal for built in dog crates because they are pretty much ready to use.  You wouldn’t have to do much building or construction.  Just change out or renovate the doors, finish and/or paint the inside, and poof you’ve got a built-in, ready-to-use dog crate.  These are often ideal in kitchens and laundry rooms, where cabinets are prevalent.



This is a little more of an unusual idea considering most homes probably don’t have built-in lofted beds, but nevertheless it’s something to consider.  The space under the bed is usually useless, but if you get a lofted bed, all of sudden your floor, and storage, space doubles.  Making it another prime location for a built in dog crate.  This is another great option for allowing your dog to sleep in the same room as you while still giving them their own separate space.


For photo examples of built in dog crates, follow The Barkitect on Pinterest, and be sure to check out my board called, “Built-Ins for Dogs.”

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Creative Canine Patterns

October 18, 2013

ChihuahuaS1_low ChihuahuaS2_detail ChihuahuaS2_low DaschundS1_lowDaschundS3_detailDaschundS3_lowWeimaranerS2_detailWeimaranerS2_lowDaschund_S1pencil sketch

Are these prints not the most interesting things you’ve ever seen?  Inspired by geometric wallpaper designs, the talented Winnie Maeve takes a hand drawn pencil sketch of a dog, then flips, rotates, and multiples it into these unique and creative canine patterns.  Choose from the 9 limited editions here or create your own custom design by following these steps.  I personally think the prints are incredibly neat and beautiful.  They would make a wonderful piece of wall art in any dog-loving home.  Be sure to check out more about Winnie Maeve and these amazing prints HERE. Bonus Fact: Each design is printed on high quality, sustainable paper.

Images Courtesy of Winnie Maeve

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1. Ridged Dog Bowls from Williams Sonoma | 2. Wire Elevated Dog Feeder from Petswag | 3. Chilewich Dog Bowl Mat from All Modern | 4. Orange Hat with Brown Dog from Orvis | 5. Orange Stick Squeaker Toy from Williams Sonoma |6. Octopus Rope Toy from Jax & Bones | 7. Orange Dog Raincoat from The Company Store

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Texture plays a big role when it comes to selecting a pet friendly floor.  Too rough and it can be very difficult to clean. Too smooth, and it can be slippery and unsafe for both people and pets.  It’s also important to think about how a pet perceives a floor texture.  Some dogs, like this ONE, refuse to walk on floors with a high gloss finish.  Reflectiveness can seem unstable to animals, similar to water.  Look for floors that have a texture somewhere in the middle, not too rough, not too smooth.  Go for matte or honed finishes over glossy or polished finishes.


Natural stone materials, such as marble, travertine, and limestone are undoubtedly beautiful, but they can be a huge headache for someone with pets.  They scratch easily, crack often, stain, and have to be sealed on a regular basis.  If you really like the look of natural stone, a similar, but much more pet-friendly option would be porcelain tile.  Some styles of porcelain tile look exactly like real stone, but the maintenance is so much easier, and it also costs a lot less.


Carpet is basically a sponge.  It’s absorbs liquids, it stains, it traps hair and dirt, and it has this uncanny ability to hold on to odors long after the source is gone.  It’s a scratching post for cats and a never-ending chew toy for teething puppies.  If you have to have carpet, go for carpet tiles.  That way if one gets ruined you can easily replace it without having to rip everything up.  Or invest in a high quality, durable rug.  Best of both worlds?  Go for a tiled rug, like THESE.


If you decide to go with a tile floor, pick a dark grout color.  Some grout, like epoxy, won’t stain, but it still shows dirt.  Light colored grout will show traffic patterns over time.  Meaning it will turn dark in the areas that people and pets often walk.  For a pet-friendly home it’s better to start off with a dark color, keep everything uniform, and not have to worry.


Some pets shed a lot, and no matter how much you clean there’s always going to be hair.  If that’s the case, sometimes it’s better to embrace it, than fight it.  I’m not suggesting to never clean, but if there’s always going to be hair, you might as well pick a floor that helps hide it.  Pick a color that’s similar to your pet’s hair and in a matte finish, and you’d be amazed at how much it helps.


Always order full size samples of a flooring material before installing it in your home.  Lay the samples down in your house, walk on them, have your pet walk on them, get them dirty and try to clean them, feel the texture, look at the sheen, try to scratch them, study the color and durability.  Do everything you can to understand the pros and cons before purchasing the floor.  It’s amazing how different some materials look, feel, and perform from seeing them online or in the store to in person at your home.  It’s better to know ahead of time than be surprised after it’s installed.


Part of designing a pet-friendly home is understanding that every pet, even the most well-trained, aren’t perfect.  They will chew, they will scratch, they will shed and slobber, and they will have accidents.  At the same time no floor is perfect either.  Every option has it pros and cons.  The best thing you can do is understand exactly who your pet is.  Know their habits and regular tendencies.  Then do your research and select a floor that best meets the needs of both your pet and yourself.


Porcelain Tile
Vinyl (Planks, Tiles, Sheet Goods)
Sealed Concrete
Epoxy or Resin


Ceramic Tile
Natural Stone

 Image Source

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Dog City & Co.

October 7, 2013


Dog City & Co. is an animal-passionate brand that sells beautiful gifts for proud pet owners.  As you can tell from the photos above, they have a wide variety of products, from mugs and t-shirts, to iPhone cases, wall prints and totes.  All of which are eco-friendly, and 100% made in the USA.

I was recently fortunate enough to try out one of their text art totes, which Vader and Vixen are showing off in the photos above, and let me tell you, I loved it!

First of all, the graphic is super creative.  I of course opted for the Great Dane design, which features breed specific descriptive words that are sized and rotated to make up the shape of a Great Dane.  It was really neat to read through all of the words, even down to the paws and tail.  They were all perfectly characteristic of my dogs.  If you look through the Dog City & Co. website you can see there are several other amazing options available, including other dog breeds, rabbits, cats, and even horses.

I also thought the tote was especially great because it’s so large.  Just look at it next to my big dogs.  You can definitely tell it’s capable of carrying quite a bit, which makes it very versatile.  I could use it to carry my belongings for a day at the beach, or as a reusable grocery bag for when I go shopping, or as my plus 1 carry-on bag for when I travel on planes.  All the while, I would be showing off my Great Dane pride 🙂

To top it all off, a portion of every sale at Dog City & Co. is donated to animal rescue organizations!  Talk about a great way to give back.  And they can also do custom designs, so even if you don’t see your breed just ask!  All in all I think Dog City and Co. has amazing products that any pet lover would enjoy!

Images Courtesy of Dog City & Co. and The Barkitect

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