House Hunting? Your New Home Needs These Dog-Friendly Features
Many of us have been stuck working from home for more than a year now, so it's not much of a surprise that some of us—who haven't already moved—might be looking for a new home. Finding a good home for us humans is only part of the process, however. We've gotta take care of our dogs, too.
In fact, a National Association of Realtors survey recently found that 43 percent of Americans would move to a new home to accommodate their pets. They're just as important as our children. (No offense, human kids.)
With that in mind, the folks at Rover and my girlfriend's new favorite website published a list of 15 "emerging dog-friendly cities." For the most part, these cities are in warm climates and contain plenty of parks and dog-friendly amenities. Ideally, they're places where you and your dog can both be happiest, and isn't that what we're all working toward? Here are the top five cities:
- Orlando, Fla.
- Anaheim, Calif.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Birmingham, Ala.
That's all fine and dandy if you're able to move wherever you want, but that's not a reality for most of us looking to move with our dogs. We can still help, though! We polled several Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agents as well as Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT—Daily Paws' health and behavior editor who recently moved herself.
"Every homebuyer is different in terms of specific things they will want in a new home—but it is important to take extra consideration for your dog's sake, so consider added expenses of making a potential home more dog friendly," she says.
Together, they helped us build the list of must-haves for you and your dog's new home.
The Big One: a Fenced Yard (Duh)
The utility of a fenced-in yard is unmatched for dog owners. Name a room in your house that can serve as a playground, nap space, dining room, and bathroom all at once. You can't! It's the top request from dog-owning homebuyers who work with Sharae McIntyre, a sales associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Paracle.
"It'll seal the deal," she tells Daily Paws.
McIntyre, who's worked in real estate across the country for 15 years and is now based in Charlotte, says she's even seen impressive dog-friendly backyards be enough to persuade dog parents to overlook other shortcomings—like a lack of closet space—and put in an offer.
Several other agents agreed, telling Daily Paws a fenced-in yard is often the top request from dog owners. They're the best!
"In an ideal world all homes would come with a huge, fully fenced yard but since that rarely happens, especially in big cities, a home with some kind of grassy area that is securely fenced is great," Bergeland says. "Your dog needs an easy-to-access place where they can safely potty, without issue. Even if your new home is an apartment, make sure there is a green space, even a small one, that your dog can use."
A Dog-Friendly Neighborhood
This includes several assets, but McIntyre's clients will usually ask specifically for sidewalks. We all love a good walk with our dog—an activity that can benefit our pups both physically and mentally—and the best way to safely do that is on a sidewalk. You don't want to walk on the street or through people's yards.
For others, especially dog owners who might not have a yard, a park, or dog park nearby might be more important. (McIntyre mentioned that people living in an urban condominium could desire a dog park nearby so their yardless dogs have a place where they know they can play.)
"A dog friendly community is a must," Bergeland says. "That means the neighborhood has sidewalks for walking, grass, trees, and parks or recreation areas nearby—meaning within a short walking distance. Dogs need to be able to go for daily walks or hikes and they must be able to sniff, mark, and investigate the world around them in order to live their very best doggie lives."
Two other Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agents, Fred Siegel and Faith Mattei, also listed dog parks among the top requests from their pet-parent clients. Another on Mattei's list? A veterinarian nearby. That's a trip you never want to take too long.
Pet Perks inside Your Home
We'd be remiss to not mention the inside of you and your dog's prospective new homes. If your dog is older or has a condition that makes stairs inaccessible, then you want to make sure they're able to get around as well as they can.
Homeowners will also opt for no carpet (easier to clean up accidents) or a doggie door to make their and their dogs' lives easier. When it comes to doggie doors, however, McIntyre urges people to make sure they're as safe and secure as possible. You don't want to give burglars an easy way in.
If you're building a new home or have the chance to add onto an existing property, you can really pamper your pup. Dana Hall-Bradley, owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Fine Living, says she recently sold a property that includes plans for a dog shower. That's a pretty handy tool if your dog loves the mud.
Kathleen Schilling, a sales associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Paracle, tells Daily Paws that her daughter installed something similar. Her two dogs need frequent baths, too, so she installed a tasteful dog bath for her Rottweiler on the patio.
"It is raised, with a drain, and matches the stones in their patio so you can hardly tell it is there," Schilling says. That's a good reminder, too: With the necessary money and materials, you can make your current home more of a puppy palace. Take a trip over to our DIY page for some inspiration.