A New Home for Fido…And the Rest of the Family

Anyone who owns a pet knows: a pet is family. And when you’re the parent of a pet and considering a move, you want to be sure your new home and neighbourhood are pet-friendly.

Start by Googling pet-friendly neighbourhoods. A million sites appear with blogs, maps, and articles to help you find your way. Studies show that bringing pets to work improves productivity and decreases sick time; and studies prove that pets increase longevity and decrease the effects of chronic illnesses. Other benefits include community forums, neighbourhood pet parties, pet chat rooms, and even pet-friendly dating services.

Most of these can be excellent information sources. But when it comes to the actual living space, you may want to consider a few questions. Are there too many stairs for an elderly pet to climb? Too many rugs to keep clean and hair-free? Or are the floors too slippery for a pet’s comfort? Is there easy access to a safe, fenced-in play space? Safe routes for a long, leisurely walk?

When you’re satisfied the living space is appropriate, check out the local ordinances and, if you’re condo-bound, read the homeowners association rules, which may limit the number, species, or size of pets.

To be sure Fluffy or Fido is in a healthy environment, investigate the municipal codes, including vaccination and licensing requirements; local animal control service websites are good places to start.

Then, take yourself for a walk.

In a recent article in RISMedia, author Drake Ernest suggests you search for signs the neighbourhood welcomes furry family members. Are there dog-friendly restaurants? Do shopkeepers keep doggie water bowls out in the summer and welcome the well-behaved pooch into their stores? Are there nearby veterinary services, cat sitters, dog walkers, an off-leash dog park?

Once you’ve done your homework, you can be sure your new home will be right for all your family members.