Written by Cindy Aldridge
Many dog owners feel like their dog is part of the family, and just as a parent would keep their kid in mind when house hunting, many dog owners look for a home and neighborhood that accommodates the needs of their pet. In fact, a study found that dogs influence millennials’ future home-buying decisions more than marriage and kids. Providing a safe and comfortable living situation for your dog and helping him adjust to his new home result in a happy pet, and a happy pet makes a happy owner.
All dogs need exercise and playtime. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health, he may need between 30 minutes to two hours every day. As such, it’s important to ensure your dog has enough yard space and living space. A fenced-in yard is a good idea, and you definitely want to choose a home that’s in close proximity to a dog-friendly park, beach, or walking path. Also, if the home has a porch, double check that your dog won’t get caught between the bars or be able to easily jump over the railings.
Finding a home with a mudroom is like hitting the house hunting jackpot for dog owners. When you come in from your walk, it’s helpful to wipe your dog’s paws and hang the leash in a place that’s more appropriate than your living room, especially on rainy days. Try to find a bathtub that accommodates your dog’s size. Some homes even have a dedicated dog wash station. An outdoor faucet is also helpful for bathing, especially if you have a larger dog.
Your home should have enough room and storage space for your dog’s stuff, such as his crate, bed, and water and food bowls. If the home has stairs, ensure the main floor has enough space for your dog, as stairs can be difficult for aging pets. Floor-level windows can create issues for dogs. Some dogs can accidentally run into them and become injured.
Hard flooring materials – including hardwood, tile, and laminate – create dog-friendly floors. However, keep in mind that dogs can scratch hardwood floors, while laminate and tile are more scratch resistant. “The best floor is ceramic tile because it’s easy to clean and resistant to any stain an animal can dish out,” says HGTV. Avoid porous materials like marble or other natural stones. Bathroom accidents or pet spit-up can stain these materials, even if they’re sealed.
You should also try to avoid carpeting. Carpet is difficult to keep clean because it absorbs odors, traps pet hair, and soaks up stains. If you prefer carpet, choose a low pile, which is easier to clean, and avoid continuous loop carpet. A pet’s toenail can easily unravel continuous loop carpet if it catches even a single woven loop.
Look for a neighborhood with a dog-friendly homeowners association. HOAs, cities, and counties often have ordinances regarding pets, such as leash laws and specifications about cleaning up after your pet. While most allow pets, some restrict pets to certain areas on the property. Others have restrictions on certain breeds or sizes of dogs. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules, bylaws, and ordinances in your area.
Moving to a new home can be stressful for your dog, so find ways to help him acclimate to the new home once you’ve moved in. Make the introduction fun by welcoming him with a new toy. Walk with your dog through the new house, and allow him to investigate at his own pace. Be consistent by sticking to his normal routine for feeding and exercising, and hold off on replacing his leash, dishes, food, and bed. When you go to meet your new neighbors, bring your dog along. Most importantly, shower your dog with extra love and attention.
While there may be some things you’re willing to compromise on when choosing a new home, your dog’s safety and comfort are of the utmost importance. That’s why it’s important to consider which accommodations are must-haves for your dog, such as proximity to a dog park, appropriate flooring, and a dog-friendly outdoor area. Once you’ve found the perfect home for you and your dog, don’t forget to help him become adjusted to the move. Following these helpful tips ensures you and your dog will be safe, comfortable, and happy in the new home.
Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.