Pet-friendly kitchens

What should pet owners consider when designing a new kitchen?

Simply

There are an estimated 20 million pets in the UK – almost one in every two homes – but without clever design, these furry friends can take a toll on your kitchen. Worse still, without proper safety measures, the kitchen is often full of potential dangers to your pet.

So to keep your beloved cats, dogs and other adorable animals safe, and your kitchen looking good as new, we’ve put together a helpful guide to creating a pet-friendly kitchen.

Safety first

Lots of the tastiest things we love to consume, like chocolate and coffee, can be hazardous to some pets, so keeping food out of reach of wandering paws should be top priority. Opting for kitchen cabinets with inlaid handles that pets can’t open, or even fitting child-proof latches, and choosing larders and shelving with retractable shutters or doors is a great way to prevent pets sniffing out dangerous ingredients, while still keeping ingredients close at hand.

It’s also a good idea to replace free-standing bins with a pull-out bin unit built into the cupboard under the sink, so nosy pooches can’t chew through bin-bags full of sharp tin lids.

Meanwhile, since cats and smaller creatures are prone to chewing through kitchen wires, always unplug appliances when not in use and choose a kitchen design with space-saving storage features so you have room to stow gadgets with sharp blades.

Similarly, electric induction hobs with safety lock controls are a better choice for pet owners than gas cookers, as they only heat up when in contact with a pan, making them less of a risk for wandering paws.

Finally, avoid placing breakable ornaments that could be knocked over on open shelves or countertops, and read up on houseplants before bringing them into the home, as certain common plants are poisonous to pets.

Pet-proofing

Once you’ve considered the potential perils of the kitchen for your pets, next it’s time to ensure your kitchen design can stand up to all the tests your furry friends will throw at it, from sharp claws to muddy paws.

Choose durable worktops and hard-wearing materials that don’t easily scratch for your kitchen cabinets and flooring to keep them looking glossy and sleek for longer. It’s also a good idea to opt for cabinets that are easier to wipe clean in case of mess, such as high-gloss slab style doors.

If your over-excitable pets are prone to slipping on smooth floors, you can always add non-slip matts - just choose a non-staining material that’s easy to pop in the washing machine as matts are bound to see their fair share of dirt. Likewise, decorating your kitchen walls with water-resistant paint will allow you to easily wipe off stains without damaging the paintwork.

Happier homes

With the practical considerations out of the way, the only thing left to do is to make sure your kitchen is designed to make both you and your pet feel truly at home.

Why not create a separate space to store pet beds, toys and food bowls away from the main kitchen, like a cosy corner or the snug space under a kitchen island? This not only keeps the kitchen looking chic when you invite guests over, but also prevents you from tripping over scurrying feet while carrying hot pots and pans.