A Pet-Friendly Home: Selecting a Suitable House for Your Furry Friend
There’s a lot to consider when looking for a new home. Square footage, storage space, the condition of the roof, and location are all important factors. Among all the details of financing, packing, and home inspections, it can be easy to overlook a house’s suitability for the family dog. Remember that dogs are affected by their surroundings just as people are, and a house with insufficient space and no place for your pet to stretch his legs can become a problem for you and your pup. When you’re in the market for a new home, remember that your dog is a member of the family and, as such, deserves consideration, too. Whether you choose to purchase a home may not hinge on whether it’s a good fit for your dog, but you can help make the transition easier by ticking off a few “must have” features.
Location and neighborhood
Finding a good location means more than just a pleasant neighborhood to take your dog for a walk around, or one that’s near a park. Check into any local ordinances requiring you to keep your dog indoors or on a leash. Sometimes, neighborhood associations have rules prohibiting pet ownership or that prevent owners from allowing their dogs to be kept outside where their barking may become an annoyance to neighbors. Failing to comply may mean a fine or even some form of legal action. Look for neighborhoods that cater to dog owners, especially those that have a pet-friendly park or dog-walking trails nearby.
Space and layout are always key considerations when purchasing a home for your family. Don’t forget to factor in your dog’s needs when assessing whether a house has enough room inside and out. Is there enough room for your pet to move around freely inside and run and play outside? This is an important point, because you won’t always be able to take him for a walk around the block or for a romp in the park. He’ll need his own space to run around in. You’ll also need a secure fence, one that’s tall and strong enough to keep your dog from running away or getting into a neighbor’s yard. If your dog has mobility issues or is old and in a weakened condition, remember that climbing stairs could be a problem, especially if they aren’t carpeted. Floor-level windows can give your dog a convenient escape route if left open. A pet door or opening can be a great convenience as long as your yard is secure.
If you have a large dog, check out the nearby parks. Often, they’ll have an area set aside where dogs can run and socialize. This can be a real blessing if your yard is on the small side. It’s also a good way to get to know neighbors and other dog owners in the area, and for spending some quality time with your furry friend.
Once you’ve decided to buy, and you’re busy packing and preparing to move, don’t forget that your dog will need some emotional support as he tries to acclimate to his new surroundings. Try to keep things as normal as possible. Feed him at the same time each day and don’t skip your evening walk. Don’t pack your dog’s belongings all at once; instead, try packing a few items at a time to minimize the disruption. When moving day arrives, you can make things considerably easier by boarding your pet at a dog-sitting service, where he can socialize with other dogs, or by keeping him at a friend’s house, away from all the chaos at home. Once you’re all moved in, spend some time playing with or holding your pet to make him feel at ease amid his strange, new surroundings.
Remember that pets have to get used to a new living space, just as people do. Some make the transition easier than others. Try to minimize the shock of new smells and sights by maintaining a normal routine before and after you’ve moved. The more time you can spend with your pooch, the more comfortable he’ll be amid all the hubbub and turmoil of a move.
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