Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has helped create the world's first wellness inspired dog house, designed to raise awareness about the hidden risks pooches face in their owners' homes.
In a bid to educate Britain’s 12 million dog owners about the little-known ways their homes may damage their dogs' joints, the interior designer teamed up with pet supplement brand YuMOVE to design the ‘World’s Best Dog House’.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of dog owners, polled by YuMOVE, said they would give their homes a makeover to create a more pet friendly environment for their dogs.
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However, only one in five, (20%) know what home improvements are good for the health and wellbeing of their furry friends.
Most dog owners thought dog toys (65%), a nice garden (62%) and a blanket (51%) were the most important items to have in the home.
But while these items are all great additions to a pooch house, they don't have the health benefits of other lesser-known items.
“Dogs are incredible at coping and carrying on and we often don’t detect they are having difficulties until they are in considerable discomfort," explains Hannah Capon, vet and founder of Canine Arthritis Management.
"Making quick and easy at-home adaptations helps dogs live happier lives, while enhancing their long-term health and wellbeing.”
Capon says there are certain features that every dog home should include to provide the best environment for our four-legged friends including doggie steps up to the sofa or bed, non slip mats or flooring, a raised or orthopaedic bed and raised food and water bowls.
Other inclusions that will help improve doggy wellbeing include a slow feeder, to manage food intake avoiding speed and over eating; a stairgate, to prevent unnecessary trips; and a stair ramp, so your pooch can avoid stairs.
While many pet owners are keen to ensure their dogs are comfy at home, very few of those surveyed had ever made home adaptions that are proven to improve canine health and wellbeing, revealing a lack of awareness amongst dog owners about the simple home improvements that can aid the long-term health and wellbeing of their dogs.
“We know that owners want to do the best for their pets, but some don't realise the damage a typical home environment can cause to a dog's joints," explains Dr John Howie, CEO and founder at Lintbells, YuMOVE's manufacturer.
"We’ve created the ‘World’s Best Dog House' to educate owners about hidden dangers in the home while showing them how easy it is to create the best in-home environment that will benefit the long-term health and wellbeing of their beloved pet.”
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So what's the secret behind the perfect doggy home?
Enter Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. As the proud owner of three Spaniels – Estella Piglet (12), Dylis Daughter of Gladice (11) and Midge Marriott (4), the TV designer was keen to apply his interiors know how to create the best possible home environment for canine companions.
While LLB brought the flair with a delightful colour scheme, bespoke printed wallpaper and bedding that features imagery of his own beloved pooches, he was also keen to highlight the lesser known in-home items that can make a real difference to a dog’s long-term joint health, happiness and wellbeing.
“My first thought was to focus on aesthetics, adding chandeliers or Italian marble, to kit out a stunning dog home," he explains. "However, working alongside the veterinary experts at YuMOVE, we co-designed the first wellness-inspired home environment with a single-minded ambition of improving dog happiness and health."
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Llewelyn-Bowen says he took inspiration for the look from the Italian designer Emilio Pucci, while keeping the wellbeing of pets firmly in his mind.
"With hand-drawn, bespoke wallpaper featuring a series of self-portraits of my beloved Stella adorning the walls and ergonomic bedding," he continues.
"Gentle inclined steps lead to the mezzanine painted in non-slip paint. And to make dinner time more comfortable, raised bowls elegantly decorated in emerald green to match my dog’s eyes complete my masterpiece.”
How to create a wellness-inspired home for your own dog
Introduce non-slip flooring
All of the flooring within the dog house was painted with non-slip paint, while non-slip mats that are kind on doggy joint health were placed within the pooch pad.
Add non-slip mats to your slippery surfaces in areas of high traffic in your own home.
Raise food and water bowls
Raised food bowls make chowing down easier for your canine companion and ease the strain on the joints.
Raising your dog’s feeding and water bowl to between elbow and shoulder height can make meals times more comfortable.
Consider an ergonomic bed
The perfect doggy bed needs to be large enough for a dog to stretch out on. They should also be well cushioned to protect them from the floor below.
A personalised print is an optional extra, but who doesn’t love a self-portrait?
Adapt your stairs
The stairs in the dog house were a bespoke design created for LLB’s dogs and featured gentle depths and heights that are easier on doggy joints.
Each of the steps were hand-painted with non-slip paint, to make ascending and descending less troublesome.
Stairs and steps can be troubling for a dog’s health and wellbeing, but there are plenty of solutions like stairgates to stop access or ramps to make climbing easier.
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