By Cindy Aldridge with ourdogfriends.org
Advice for Finding the Right Home for you - And Your Dog
Sixty-three percent of Americans think of their pets as members of the family, which may mean that finding a suitable neighborhood for your dog is as important to you as identifying the perfect school system for your children. To ensure that Fido enjoys your new home as much as you do, follow the tips below while embarking on your house-hunt.
If you will be renting or leasing your new home, it is important to check with potential property owners for any pet restrictions that will interfere with you keeping your animal on the premises. If you found the perfect home but the landlord does not allow dogs, with a legitimate medical need you may be able to register your pet as an emotional support animal, which will give you and your pet legal protections that forbid landlords from denying their presence. It is important to understand that emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals under the ADA but check with state and local agencies about their laws. If you have the support of medical professionals, the process is straight-forward and requires paperwork and a filing fee.
While you’re house-hunting you will also want to keep an eye out for any animal-related wish list items for your home and property. This might include a fenced yard, hardwood floors, a doggy door (or room for one to be installed), a mudroom, or a yard big enough for an enclosure and dog house. While these features may not be included with the property, it’s important to make sure that your new home will be large enough to accommodate any improvements you plan to make.
Local Canine Benefits
In addition to the house and property, you should also research the local amenities of your new neighborhood. Are there any dog parks nearby? How about lakes or streams where your dog will be able to swim and splash? Will you need to find a new vet in this area? Are there trails or sidewalks nearby for daily walks?
To answer these questions, search the internet, then visit dog parks in your potential neighborhood, and ask around. Native pet parents may be able to point you in the direction of some lesser-known perks of the area, like bakeries and cafes that cater to you and your pet or food trucks that specialize in doggy bags.
Helping Your Dog Feel At Home
Once you’ve chosen your new home it’s important to help your pet feel welcome and comfortable in their new surroundings. Allow your dog to explore the house and grounds upon arrival. Likely, your animal will be excited to discover all the new sights and smells. If your pet has a favorite blanket or cushion, make sure to lay it out in a cozy spot when you first arrive. This can serve their sense of security, giving your animal a place of sanctuary should the new surroundings become overwhelming - or if he just wears himself out while exploring.
Be sure to set out food and water before you start unpacking so you don’t accidentally overlook it and make a point of walking the neighborhood with your dog once you’re settled or in need of a break from all of those boxes.
Your animal may seem lethargic during the first few days in a new place. This is normal and should pass within the first week as your dog becomes more comfortable in your new home. Offering familiar toys, treats, and blankets will help him feel secure as he acclimates.
Choosing a new home is an adventure that should be both exciting and enjoyable but choosing a home that’s right for you - and your pet - is a rewarding experience that will benefit your animal for years to come.
About the Author:
Cindy Aldridge is the creator of OurDogFriends.org, a website advocating for the love and ownership of dogs. She believes that dogs truly are our best friends and wants to see fewer dogs in shelters and more in loving homes.