Many of us feel the need to please and communicate with our furry family members, and one way to do this is to keep our pets in mind when organizing and decorating our homes. When designing an animal-friendly home, Feng Shui principles can create an environment that benefits you and your pet. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy in which basic concepts of energy, balance, and connectedness are used to create an environment that supports your unique intentions.
Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway) is associated with five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood), and each element with its colors, scents, and shapes can be used to create environments according to our intentions. There are some basic Feng Shui concepts that we can use to raise a new puppy or to provide a comfortable and safe environment for our older friends. We need to use space as a tool, while remaining mindful that the colors we choose for bedding, the shapes we use for dinner plates, and even the flooring and fabric choices in our homes must be intentionally chosen to suit. the needs of our pets. while contributing to the warmth and loving atmosphere of our homes. Implementing new and exciting items in a way that improves or corrects unfavorable conditions in your living space is often simple and inexpensive.
A new puppy in the home brings renewed energy, love, and excitement with all the possibilities life has to offer. They are our “yang” energies, full of life, energy and fun. However, for a dog, being in a new environment can bring fear and insecurities. Our pups need stability, grounding, and security. Adding some “yin” to the environment will help balance your energies, especially at bedtime.
According to Feng Shui principles, the Earth element gives one a sense of belonging, permanence, and a feeling of connection. When looking for bedding or blankets for a new puppy, trust the Earth element by incorporating earth tone colors (brown, yellow, terracotta, sand tones, gray) with a square pattern. In all your decisions, keep in mind the way dogs see color. Humans see a full spectrum of colors, while studies show that the dog’s world is made up of yellows, blues, and grays. Like a human with red-green color blindness, they cannot tell the difference between red and green. When a human perceives a red object, it appears yellow to the dog.
Wrapping up your new family member is another way to give them a sense of security or a “cave” feeling. Whether you’re creating or not, place your bedding in a corner away from doors and with as little activity and draft as possible. There are wonderful “dens” on the market that replicate nature. These study environments provide a sense of warmth, security, and privacy, while integrating nature’s source of life.
Our older friends need the same consideration when it comes to home design and planning. There are wonderful products on the market that offer orthopedic beds for sore joints. Just like a new puppy, our older friends can sometimes have “accidents” and choosing bedding with fabrics that prevent moisture, bacteria, and stains from building up in the fibers allows for a more enjoyable experience for both humans and for the pets. Crypton fabric washes like a dream and offers design freedom with little worry about wear and tear.
Failing eyesight can be a problem with our elderly dogs, and “pathfinding” principles (used by hospitals and nursing homes) can be used. Our pets can’t read letters, but they understand the difference between a hard surface (wood floor) and a soft surface (carpet). By adding simple elements, we can make it easier and less stressful for our pets to find their familiar path to their food, beds, or a comfortable spot on our laps or at our feet. Using runners or rugs that lead to eating and disposal areas helps pets find their way, with less stress and more precision. Remember to use non-slip mats under your rugs or runners. This can reduce an animal’s stress and anxiety, ensuring a sure footing (or claw). Rearranging furniture should be considered very carefully with an older dog, as it can cause stress and confusion in an animal that knows exactly where things used to be.
You can also take advantage of your dog’s more developed sense of smell, to make him feel more comfortable in your home. Dogs have about 25 times more olfactory receptors (smells) than humans. Knowing the characteristics of each scent, and its properties, allows us to use them consciously where they are most needed. As human beings, we respond to the pleasant and calming scent of lavender, and we know the energetic sensation of smelling peppermint. This is the same for dogs. To help “find his way” around your home, use a scent that will call your dog to the action you want him to take. For example, using a scent where your dog’s food and water bowl is located, such as peppermint or spearmint, can guide him in the right direction when it’s time to eat. You may want to use a different scent that draws them toward your disposal area or out the door, such as an earthy or woody scent.
Part of creating a healthy, happy and balanced home for your pet is removing as many toxins from their environment as possible. Be aware of the volatile organic chemical (VOC) in paints. When using paints in your remodel, look for those with zero VOCs. Paint gives off gases (that terrible paint smell we’ve experienced) and continues to expend toxins for up to 18 months after application, affecting breathing. Keep your environment healthy by being aware of these and other toxins in cleaning, hygiene and beauty products.
Another way to bring Feng Shui to dogs of any age is to use the properties of the Water element. The Water element of Feng Shui, represented in blue and black, increases digestion, allowing more time to relax. This makes a perfect color combination for food bowls and dining rooms, for example. Providing a food bowl for your dog that is black or blue will allow your pet to slow down the eating process, especially helpful if your dog has a tendency to swallow his food. Combine these colors with the square shape of the Earth element to further aid in slower digestion. Avoid round food bowls (the Metal element) as this will make your pet eat more as the circles will not allow our eyes to rest in one place but your pet will continually search around and around for food. Keep in mind that food and water bowls should be elevated to make eating and drinking easier, especially for older animals. It is recommended that food and water bowls be placed about six inches below the height of the pet’s withers (top of front shoulder). For small dogs, subtract four inches. You can also find square, raised food and water bowls for your pets that are aesthetically pleasing to complement your existing decor.
Dogs also use other cues like texture, brightness, and position to adapt to their surroundings. Experiment with various textures throughout your home and you may find more ways to make your furry friend comfortable.
By planning for your dog’s habits and personality, and applying the appropriate Feng Shui elements, you can achieve balance in the life of your pet and for everyone who shares your space. Using Feng Shui principles and elements in your animal-friendly design can empower the spirit and the environment not only for you, but for your furry companion as well.