Here are some tips to help ensure your future home and neighborhood are pet-friendly:
1. Check local requirements
For any potential home purchase, familiarize yourself with city and county ordinances that are in place for health and safety reasons. Often, they require you to obey leash laws and clean up after your pet in public places. Noncompliance can result in a fine. Many communities are striving to create and maintain environmentally friendly and pet-friendly parks. Information on what pet parks and playgrounds exist in the area of a potential home should be available from the local parks and recreation department.
If you plan to house farm animal as a pet, such as a goat or a donkey, clarify the zoning regulations and ordinances with the proper officials. While house pets such as cats, dogs, birds, fish, and rabbits are acceptable in most types of housing, there may be restrictions on the total number of animals allowed in a single dwelling.
2. Ask for apartment or HOA rules
While a single-family home is likely to provide your pet with the most freedom, a townhouse, apartment or condominium may be what fits your budget. For these options, check the townhouse or condo board rules and regulations for pets. Homeowners associations (HOAs) typically govern condos and townhouses with rules and bylaws for what’s allowed, disallowed and required. Some HOAs will allow pets but restrict them to certain areas on the property. You may face fines for violating the rules and bylaws.
3. Assess the home layout
Consider creature comforts inside and outside the home. Will your pet have enough yard our living space to live and play in without difficulty? Will your pet be happier with carpeting or tiled floors? Note whether the windows are at floor level, as your pet can accidentally run into them. Check the layout of the home and think about what would be needed to make your pet comfortable there. If your pet is older, stairs may be difficult and your pet could be confined to a single floor in the house.
Examine the outside of the home, too. Is there a doghouse or place for your pet to roam? Is the yard fenced? If you have a big, hairy dog, you might want a garden faucet to use when bathing your pet.
If a pet is a central part of your life, you will find personal enjoyment in your future house only if it accommodates the needs of your pet. As you consider the needs of your family, including pets, decide what you must have and what you can compromise on. You can also speak casually to potential neighbors to see if they are pet-friendly. After all, a happy pet makes a happy owner.
Updated from an earlier version by Susan Wellish