For expectant parents, the common practice is to prepare a nursery/play room for their upcoming bundle of joy. However, many dog owners (who've got the extra house space) are borrowing this idea by designing a puppy room! This room will act as a safe, comfortable, and entertaining environment for your fur kid for years to come. If you've got a room to spare, it's the perfect way to show your four-legged family member just how much you love him!
Begin with a sleeping area. You may choose to go with a traditional dog bed or utilize what is already available in the room. For example, if there is a window with a view (always a good idea!) put a comfortable chair in front of it which can become a dog bed with the addition of a cushion and/or soft blanket, giving your puppy a place to rest and gaze out at the yard. Many dogs also prefer enclosed spaces, so you may opt for a dog kennel or crate, outfitted with comfy cushions in place of or in addition to an open dog bed.
Create a food and water station. Given a puppy’s energy level, a bowl stand, in which the bowls rest, helps to prevent accidental spills and keeps the bowls from moving around the room. The water should still be as near the floor as possible for easy access. Protect the floor underneath by putting an easy-to-clean surface underneath your feeding station like a bamboo mat or plastic runner so spills will not be an issue.
Consider bathroom options. Your best bet is to choose a room with a wall or door leading to the backyard into which you can install a doggie door. If a dog door isn't an option, an indoor potty with artificial grass provides him his own personal bathroom while inside. Otherwise, use pee pads or litter box train your puppy. If your puppy room is on an outside wall, a dog door to the backyard. Make sure to place your potty as far away from the feeding station as possible.
Add other pieces of furniture that are dog-safe or that you don’t mind getting covered in dog hair or chew marks. A small sofa or relaxing chair placed by the window offers him an alternative resting place.
Add a variety of toys, bones and other forms of entertainment. Puppies like to chew and explore, so including items in their room to keep them entertained helps prevent destructive behavior when your puppy gets bored. A puppy toy box that your little pooch can access himself gives these toys a place you can collect them to when he's dragged a few out. For active puppies, consider agility items such as tunnels to run through or weaving poles.
Add a television to the room and keep it tuned into a nature channel (or play a special DVD made for dogs), as the sights and sounds can help calm your pooch when alone.
Place various hooks and shelves on the wall to hang leashes, clothing, and to store food, cleaning supplies, and other pet goods you'd like to have easy access to. Complete the room with various dog-themed decorations.
By Victoria Lee Blackstone
About the Author
Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.