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Many families love their pets so much that they are willing to relocate to make them happy, according to a 2020 report by the National Association of Realtors. The study showed approximately 66% of U.S. households currently own a pet or plan to get one, and 43% would be willing to move or change their living situation to accommodate their pet.
While a large fenced-in backyard might seem like the first box to check off the list when house hunting with a pet, there are actually a lot of factors that can affect how animal-friendly your new space is.
If a large backyard is not available, look for neighborhood walkability and proximity to local parks. Pet-friendly neighborhoods should have safe sidewalks where both you and your pet can get out and stretch your legs.
In addition to prioritizing a fenced-in yard, other pet-friendly features to consider are flooring and accessibility. The flooring should be non-porous (or stain-resistant if carpet) and hard to scratch to make for easier cleaning.
If you are house shopping with an older pet, accessibility is an important factor as well as lots of steps can be a challenge for them. While you might not buy a ranch home just for your aging pet, making a comfortable space for them on one level of the home near family members can help.
Research local ordinances about pets when relocating to a new area, as many towns and cities have rules about leash laws, fencing and animal breeds. 68% of members said that community animal policies influenced their clients' decision to rent/buy in a particular community.
A fenced-in front or backyard is one of the best ways to keep your pet safe, but there are threats that lurk in your yard to take note of as well. Flowers such as azaleas, daffodils and daylilies can be poisonous to pets if eaten. The ASPCA lists all of the plants that could harm your dog, cat or horse here.
Other safety factors to consider are busy streets and the security of upstairs windows and balconies.
To further pet-proof your home upon moving in, make sure to keep cords off the ground and out of reach of chewing, lock up any medication or chemicals, and keep sharp objects in pet-proof drawers.
While you're scoping out fun attractions for your family in a new neighborhood, also keep in mind the proximity to veterinarians, pet stores, and even pet-friendly restaurants so you can include your furry friend in dinner plans. Finding a new space close to the areas you visit most such as work can help too, as you can hurry home to spend a little time with your animal during your lunch break.
Finally, remember that moving to a new house can be stressful for your pet as well. If your dog or cat acts in strange ways after a big move, give them time to adjust too. It can take two weeks to three months for an animal to adapt, but quality playtime and getting in a new routine as soon as possible definitely helps.
Looking to buy a new home with your pet in mind? Our neighborhood expert real estate agents can help. Look over our buying guide for more information on finding a dream home for both you and your four-legged friend in Metro Atlanta.