In the Dog House: Home Buying for Pet Owners

Do you treat your pets like family? If so, then you're in good company.  Millions of Americans see no difference between kids of the two and four-legged varieties.  That's okay; everyone deserves a loving home.  But you'll need a little more than love if you're in the market for a new residence.  You'll also need to know what to look for and what to look out for.  Here are some tips for finding a house that will please your pooch as much as it does you.

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Scout Out the Area

Communities’ feelings towards pets differ like night and day.  Some welcome canines with open arms. Others condition their acceptance on your dog's size, breed, and even temperament.  Some ban animals altogether. Here are some things to ask:

●      Does the city and/or county have rules about the number of dogs you can own, how you must keep them, or where they may roam?  Some localities allow dogs in fenced yards but not chained to a post.  Others require you to walk Rover on a leash and pick up his poop.  Many rural communities let folks do as they please towards their canine companions.

●      Will you answer to a homeowners association (HOA)?  If so, what do its bylaws say about pets?  If you've never dealt with an HOA before, then you should know that they can make your life miserable if you provoke their wrath.  So read the fine print and make sure you're okay with the covenants before you commit yourself.

●      Does the area have a pet store, dog park, vet office, groomer, pet sitter, pooper scooper and other resources you'll need?  If so, do these facilities meet your standards?  It's especially important to pick a good vet.  Your dog's life might depend on it.

A Bit About Barking

All dogs bark.  Not all human beings love this fact.  Some people will go to great lengths to make sure they never hear a bark, growl, or yap ever again.  Remember this if your dog is fond of self-expression.  Even the most lax local rules still have provisions for so-called "nuisance noise," which includes barking.

It's best to walk your dog around a prospective neighborhood to see how she reacts to the area.  This is especially important if your potential neighbors have dogs of their own.  Dogs, like people, may or may not get along with each other.  Your pet may have gone through life barely making a peep before she met the person who lives one yard over.  Now she's got a lot to say and she could care less who hears it.  It's happened before; don't let it happen to you.

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Making Fido Feel at Home

Settling into new surroundings is a big change for everyone involved.  So it's only natural if your dog takes a while to get used to your updated digs.  Here's how you can help her adjust:

●      Lots of pets are phobic about luggage.  They see you break out the suitcases and they know change is on the way.  Minimize the effect this has on your dog by unpacking items when she's not looking.

●      Keep old habits in place.  Maintain her traditional feeding and play times as much as possible.  This will give her much-needed consistency.

●      Show her you love her.  Dogs crave companionship and affection. This is what makes them such wonderful friends.

Moving is a challenge for humans and dogs alike.  Following the tips in this post, however, will help to ensure that everyone is happy in your new home.

This guest post was written by Cindy Aldridge of OurDogFriends.org.