Pets are a huge part of many homeowners’ lives, and building a new custom Florida home means including animal friends in the planning.

Gone are the days where opening the back door was sufficient for Fido’s exercise, feeding and toilet times. For many pet parents, customizing spaces for Fido and other pets is as important as Dog Friendly Homeplanning human spaces in a new home.

Here’s how to create a home with Fido in mind.

Consider the functions

Regardless of size, dogs do require maintenance. They must be fed, watered, bathed and taken outside (for the most part) to do their business and exercise.

Some of the things pet owners must consider when designing a new home is how much dog maintenance must be performed indoors and how much must happen outdoors.

The next question is how to do it. Does the garden hose still suffice for cleanup (our guess is no)? Or would a custom-built dog wash make life a lot easier (our guess is yes)?

One very popular option among ICI Homes customers is the combination dog-wash, dog-feeding stations that can be incorporated into laundry, utility or mudrooms. It centralizes most necessary Fido functions, plus cabinets and drawers can be built for pet food, leashes, bedding, and toys.

Plus, you’ll do laundry in the same room, and perhaps pot your plants in a giant utility sink. So dirty, hungry dogs won’t be out of place!

Use Fido-hardy materials

Flooring probably is the paramount consideration — dogs’ claws can do a number on soft surfaces — but don’t forget wet messes and shedding fur.

Ceramic tile, wood-look tile, and other hard surfaces are the most impervious materials. You want flooring materials that stand up to all household functions, and if your flooring choices stand up to Fido, they’ll likely stand up to whatever else happens atop them.

Keeping pet spaces on the first floor also is important. It’s more convenient to wash — then dry — a reluctant dog downstairs than to do it on an upper floor and risk him or her fleeing all over the house.

Have a little fun

Want to go all-out for your furry friend?

Once you’re ready to design your new custom Florida home, bring your ideas and needs to your complimentary design meeting with one of our floorplan designers. You’ll have the opportunity to tweak the plan (often at no cost) with your designer’s help.

Once you’re ready to choose your finishes, building materials and colors at ICI Homes’ Design Center, bring those same ideas. Your design consultant can help those ideas look good and function well.

Some fun suggestions:

Why not an outdoor doghouse that’s a replica of your own? And/or a built-in space for your dog’s kennel – such as an under-the-stairs doghouse?

And, if you have a backyard, design a discreet, fenced-in dog run where Fido can toilet in private without spoiling flower beds and other landscaping.

Ready for your new custom Florida home? Start the conversation here. opens in a new window