Including the Family Dog in House Hunting

As a dog owner, you probably consider your dog to be a member of your family. You might include your dog in vacation plans and buy gourmet food and “puppy cakes” on his birthday, and he might even get better salon pampering than anyone in the house. But when it comes to house hunting, does your dog take a back seat?  From choosing a house layout to optimizing the home during your move, your dog is one family member whose bark should be heard.

Before thinking about house style, the number of rooms, and whether it has a pool, take some time to learn about the home's location. What are the local requirements for pet ownership? From licensing to leash laws and waste disposal regulations, you should familiarize yourself with a new town’s rules. Also, some cities may limit the number of domestic animals in a residence, so those with a pack of furry family members might want to make sure they are in the clear.

Beyond the particular legal requirements for dog ownership, do some research on dog-friendly amenities in the area. A town’s parks department will have info about the local dog-walking hotspots and where dogs might be prohibited, such as on beaches during certain hours.

The municipality might not be the sole authority on pet ownership in your new neighborhood. Homeowners associations and planned developments may have particular restrictions, which you should learn before deciding on a new house. And even if these restrictions do not exist, try to do some sleuth work on the neighborhood. Are people walking dogs down the street? Is there a particular dog path? Are the neighbors averse to dogs? You may find the area to be an oasis for dog ownership, or you could be walking into a miserable experience where you are apologizing for your dog’s existence at every turn.

The first consideration as a dog owner when looking at a new house is whether there is a fenced-in yard. A fence protects your dog, keeps him from running off and getting injured, and provides your dog with a play space where he can roam somewhat free. Although a fenced-in yard is not a substitute for walks, it allows more frequent and more convenient outdoor trips for your four-legged friend. Just keep in mind that the national average to have a fence installedis $2,749, which means you may need to make a little room in your budget for this addition.

When it comes to a home’s interior, a dog’s needs are pretty straightforward. If he’s massive, does the house have enough space for him to be comfortable? If he is petite, are there steep stairs or other areas that might need to be gated off? Your dog doesn’t need his own room, but an area where his bedor crate can reside is essential for easing him into his new residence.

And once you settled on the ideal house, you can acclimate your dogin a few easy steps. First, give him his space. Then he needs to understand where he is to go to “do his business.”  Assuming you housetrained him at your previous residence, this should be a quick process of repetition to the appropriate door. Be patient, though, as your dog may be confused.

And while you're easing your dog into your new home, it's a good time to acclimate yourself to good dog ownership habits in and around your house. Add frequent vacuuming to your routine as well as grooming for your dog, and you can minimize dog hair cleanup nightmares. For your furniture, stick to items with stain-resistant fabrics that match your dog's fur.

You love your dog as a member of your family, so don’t treat him as an afterthought in your new home plans. You can both enjoy the new home that allows you to enjoy being a dog owner while keeping messes and inconvenience at bay.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Contributed by: Cindy Aldridge