Top Tips for House-Hunting Pet Parents

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Cindy Aldridge

Are you thinking of finding a new home for you and the furkids? House hunting and moving can be quite an adventure, especially when you have beloved pets to consider. Here’s how to make sure you cover your furry family members’ needs throughout the process.

 A New House with Pets in Mind

When you’re house hunting, you want your whole family to be content with whatever property you choose, both inside and out. Many dog owners prefer a fenced yard to allow Fido freedom to exercise. Another consideration is the house itself. For high-energy dogs, a little space can be a boon, especially on rainy days. Some dog breeds are better off avoiding stairs due to their build or health concerns. Dachshunds, in particular, do best in a single story home.

Beyond the general structure, many home buyers look for extra accommodations for pets these days. For instance, you might consider setting up a special space for your furry friend. A dog room can be worked into many homes, and you should think about whether you could have a room multitask for the purpose or if you want a dedicated space. Laundry rooms and walk-out basements are popular options since they often have low-maintenance flooring

Before you insist on certain features, take the initiative and “test drive” a few homes in the area. There are many pet-friendly rentals in LA, and spending just a few days getting to know new home styles you might like can help you and your pet in the long run. You might, for example, find that a home with a no-step threshold or a ramp at the entryway is best for your dog. Dachshunds often have trouble with high steps because of their long backs and short legs. Make a note of things you do and don’t like and discuss these with your agent.

Having search criteria will help your realtor assist you during the process. While it’s important with any home search, if you’re planning a long-distance move, you’ll find that your agent is an especially invaluable resource. 

Planning for the Transition

Whether planning a move across town or across the country, both cats and dogs should become accustomed to car travel. You’ll want to be able to make stops to allow your pet to stretch her legs, so think about how that will work. As Whole Dog Journal explains, a harness is best for walking on a leash since it relieves pressure on your pet’s back and neck. You pup will be excited, and may want to explore each stop. Before you head away from the car, visually survey the area to ensure your bathroom breaks allow you to stay on a flat surface. The last thing you need during a long road trip is an injured dog.

Another important consideration is your day-to-day schedule leading up to the move.  Having a solid daily routine is one way to provide your furry friend with a sense of familiarity throughout the moving process. With that in mind, if you don’t have a set schedule already, develop one right away. Plan on feeding, walking, and other activities around the same times each day. 

Also, once you start decluttering your current home and packing things away, pets notice the variation. If you perceive your pet demonstrating unusual behaviors, like chewing unusual objects, being unusually vocal, or having excess energy, those could be symptoms of anxiety. Amp up exercise sessions and playtime so your furry family member can burn off those nerves, but if the trouble continues, your vet might suggest medication to help. As far as packing your pet’s things, make sure you box those up last and avoid washing them or buying anything new right away. As tempting as it is to have fresh things in the new house, those familiar scents can help your pet feel more at ease in the new place.

If your pets are microchipped, be sure to update your contact information when you settle in. Also, transfer veterinary records if you move to a new clinic so all your furry friend’s information is in place when you’re ready for the next checkup or in the event of an emergency.

When you arrive at your new home, set things up as quickly as possible, putting safety first. A baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, if applicable, and a set of pet stairs leading to the bed or sofa will allow your dog to look around without overdoing it. If the house has a dog door, block this exit until your dog is more comfortable in his new surroundings.

Moving with a pet can be an anxious time for you both. However, with a little planning and preparation, you and the furkids can enjoy the adventure. Dogs and cats become important family members, and thanks to your loving care, you’ll find the perfect place in no time.

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