Designing for Your Debutante Doggie




In my "expert" opinion, some of the most adorable debutantes have four legs! I am fortunate enough to have two of these little southern belles living under my roof. Allow me to introduce my precious little debutante's, Annie and Gracie Brockman! My husband and I were rescued by Gracie (the adorable fawn colored Chiweenie) about 11 years ago. While Annie (the tiny, but mighty Chihuahua) captured our hearts about two years ago. We absolutely love animals and are huge advocates for adopting. We enjoy opening our home and caring for animals in need. We have had the privilege of rescuing other beautiful souls (with four legs) who have since crossed over the rainbow bridge. We consider our pets to be an important part of our family and we take the responsibility of caring for them (their entire lives) very seriously. If you love your fur babies as much as we do, then you know the importance of having a pet friendly home. Being a responsible pet owner means that you always consider their needs when making updates or changes to your environment. Being a debutante doggie owner means that you always do it in style. So without further ado, here are a few things to consider when designing for your debutante doggie (or kitty).

1. Vip Access-

The first step in designing for your debutante doggie is providing proper access. Make sure that they always have access to the obvious things like food, water, and areas to potty. For larger dogs, it is important that their food and water bowls are elevated to a safe, comfortable height for their size. There are lots of cute bowls and stands to choose from, so that you don't have to sacrifice style for function. I have had great success on finding cute, functional, and affordable dog bowls with stands at places like Home Goods and TJ Maxx. If you have smaller dogs, then normal food bowls will be more than fine. However, accessing taller furniture will be their greatest challenge. For this reason, you will want to provide stairs (see photo) so that they can safely climb up or down from taller furniture like beds and sofas (unless you prefer them to stay off of these areas. However, they sure do make good snuggle buddies, so you may want to reconsider).

2. Doggie Day Spa-

Okay...so doggie day spa may be a stretch, but you do need to properly bathe and groom your pets. If your pet has fur/hair (yes, a few breeds actually have hair) that requires grooming, then you will want to find a local groomer to fit your needs. Neglecting to groom your pet regularly can lead to painful mats, sores, and discomfort (it is actually quite cruel). You also need to trim their nails once a month. Most dogs don't get enough exercise to wear them down naturally, so it is up to their owners to keep their nails trimmed. When they get too long it becomes painful for your pet to walk, not to mention the damage that it will do to your flooring, etc. If your dogs are like Gracie and Annie, they don't need to be groomed, but they do need to be bathed. I bathe our little dogutantes once a month at home. I also take them to our vet every month to get their nails trimmed and anal glands expressed (gross, but necessary). Anyway, I like to bathe them in our kitchen sink. We previously had a double bowl stainless steel sink. It worked great for Annie (the smallest doggie), but was a little tight for Gracie. For this reason, when it was time to replace our kitchen sink, we decided on a single bowl sink. This allowed more space to making bathing our precious pups comfortable and convenient (see photos). If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to custom design your laundry room, garage, or mudroom, I would suggest adding a doggie washing station. It can double as utility sink or shower area for your needs, as well. If this isn't an option for you, then simply designate an existing area that will work best. You can even purchase inexpensive, portable attachment sprayers for bathtubs and oversized sinks, etc. Whatever your set up, making a few dog friendly adjustments will make bath time a lot less stressful for you and your pet.

A little side note...if you want a suggestion for really great bath products for your dogutante, then I highly recommend John Paul Pet products by Paul Mitchell. I personally love the oatmeal doggie shampoo and conditioner. I will sometimes use the John Paul Pets tea tree shampoo when Annie's skin allergies flare up. Paul Mitchell also has great wipes for paws, faces, and teeth. You can purchase these products at certain PetSmart stores or Online. Some salons or dog spas may carry them, as well.

3. Forgiving Fabrics and Flooring-

Even the most well-trained pets can have an accident from time to time. Like us, they can get sick or have trouble holding their bladder, etc. Unlike us, they do not have the ability to run to the nearest toilet. Our doggies live to please us, so anytime we become upset it breaks their little hearts. Having washable fabrics and flooring will make life a lot easier for you and a lot less stressful for your pet (especially really young or senior pets). We have chosen to have hardwood floors throughout our home for this very reason. Our bedding is also machine washable. The seat cushion on our sofa is removable and can be dry cleaned, if needed. I also recommend scotch guarding chair cushions and other fabrics that are accessible to your fur-babies. Taking simple precautions now will allow for an easier clean up if/when accidents do occur. We consider our special little "dogutantes" family, so our home is their home. Our pet friendly fabrics and floors are both dog friendly and debutante approved!

4. Sunshine and Soft Surfaces-

All doggies love to sunbathe. They will gladly give up a comfy bed (see photo) to bask in the warmth of the sun. Opening the blinds in at least one sunny area of your home is a very simple way to treat them to one of their favorite doggies pastimes. When they aren't choosing to forgo comfort to nap in the sun, it is important that your four-legged family member has a soft place to relax and sleep. As mentioned earlier, we have hardwood floors throughout our home. While this makes cleaning messes convenient, it does not provide a soft space for our doggies to lounge. As a result, we purchased a couple of adorable (Gracie and Annie approved) doggie beds (see photos). These beds are both stylish and comfortable, making them the perfect choice for our little ladies. Dog beds range from inexpensive to really expensive. You can purchase them almost anywhere. My secret for getting high-end dog beds at budget friendly prices is to purchase them from Home Goods or TJ Maxx. As mentioned earlier, their pet products are awesome! They usually have a wonderful selection of styles and sizes to choose from. The best part is that these choices will not break the bank. Anytime I need to get pet furniture, stairs, blankets, bowls, and accessories, I always start at Home Goods or TJ Maxx. Being a debutante isn't just about being stylish, it is also about being savvy! Anytime that I can find a budget friendly solution without sacrificing quality, I jump on it!

5. Protect Your Pups-

The most basic way to love your pets is to keep them safe. The design of your home plays a big role in pet safety. You need to make sure that they are kept away from harmful chemicals, medicines, foods, plants, and areas where they could be endangered.

For example, plants, like Poinsettias, are actually poisonous to pets, so you will want to keep this in mind when putting out your Christmas decor, etc. There are also common landscaping plants that are know to be poisonous, like Azaleas. Most dogs will ignore them, so they shouldn't be too much of an issue, but you should be always be aware of potential dangers.

For a detailed list of dangerous plants, click on the following link: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list.

There are also certain foods that are dangerous to your pooch. Some dangerous foods are well-known such as chocolate and alcohol. Others may not be so well known such as: grapes, raisins, avocados, onions, garlic, caffeine, dairy products, macadamia nuts, candy/gum/sweets (sweetened with xylitol), bones, fat trimmings, pitted fruits, raw eggs, raw meat and fish, salt, sugary foods/drinks, uncooked yeast dough, etc. If you have small children, you will want to be mindful of food that they drop or feed their four-legged siblings.

To learn more about dangerous foods for your pets you can refer to this link: http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat .

If you have a multi-level home with stairs, then you may need to restrict access for puppies and senior dogs. There are many stylish pet gates available to make these safety features less of an eyesore. Target sells an affordable metal looking baby gate that will fit most door frames. Frontgate makes nice pet gates that work well for wider openings. They are a little pricey, but worth it. Walmart.com also has some aesthetically pleasing options. If you are looking for something more custom, then there are lots of great DIY projects on Pinterest for building your own. Or you can call a local Millwork Company to build one for you.

If you have all hardwood or hard surface floors, but have a larger/older dog (that struggles with slipping), then you may want to place inexpensive, easy to clean rugs throughout your home. There are plenty of affordable, yet stylish, options from places like, Home Depot, Target, Lowes, Ikea, and (of course) Home Goods. If your dog never has accidents, then you can certainly choose something more high-end or custom. Whatever you choose, make sure that it functions well for you, your pet, and your budget.

If you have a fenced in yard, then having a doggie door to access the outside may be a convenient option for your pet. If you choose to have a doggie door, then make sure that there are no openings in your fencing or unlatched gates for your beloved pooch to escape your yard. Microchipping your pet is a must in case ANY incidents of separation ever happen. If you have smaller pets, then you may not want them to have access to your yard without supervision. Large birds of prey (such as hawks and owls) have been known to kill small dogs and cats. Also, the smaller the dog, the easier it is for them to escape through loose boards in your fence or small holes in your yard. Fenced in yards are great for pets to have freedom to play in a safe area. However, don't let it give you a false sense of security. You must stay on top of checking and repairing any maintenance issues.

If you are love spending time with your lovable dogutante, then you may be tempted to take them with you to run errands, etc. Your intentions may be good, but this is rarely a good idea. Many stores and places of business do not allow pets. This may tempt you to crack a window and leave your pet in the car. THIS IS NEVER A SAFE IDEA!!!! Did you know that your lovable pet can die of a heat stroke in a matter of minutes? The pain and anguish of suffering this type of death is absolutely horrible! Even on mild days, your car can rise to unsafe temperatures. I keep a stack of flyers (warning of this danger) in my car every summer, hoping that I won't need to distribute them. Unfortunately, every summer, I am disappointed. So if you love your pet, even a little bit, then leave them in your dog friendly Debutante approved home! You can look forward to a wagging tail and lots of doggie kisses when you return from your errands.

To learn more about the dangers of pets in hot cars and to print your very own set of flyers (to educate others), please click on the following link:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/hot_car_flyer.pdf

There are many ways that we can incorporate our lovable dogutantes into our lives. From providing proper food and shelter to protecting them from potential dangers, our pets look to us for their total care. I hope today's tips provide a combination of fun resources for dog friendly decor, as well as educational tips on how to care for your lovable fur babies. Thank you for taking time to read today's post! Until Next time...

The Funky Debutante's Featured Charity...

The Funky Debutante loves giving back! Today I would like to feature one of my favorite Pet Charities, Pet Buddies Food Pantry! Pet Buddies Food Pantry provides pet food and medical resources for families in need who have pets. Their goal is to keep pets with their families and out of the shelters. If you would like to learn more about Pet Buddies Food Pantry, or donate to their cause, then you can visit their site at: www.petbuddiesfoodpantry.org

{I do my best to proofread my posts, but I am human and sometimes don't catch all of the mistakes. Please excuse any grammatical errors. Thank you!}



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