DOG OWNER'S TIPS
There are many considerations to make when you’re looking for a new home, but if you own a dog, there are a few more things to add to the list. Like us, dogs can have a difficult time adjusting to change, so keep your pooch in mind when surveying the living space and neighborhood — to include any local rules and regulations. Whatever you do, don’t exhibit feelings of guilt around your dog as he/she is liable to pick up on your negative energy. Instead, think through potential scenarios in advance so you can both have a seamless move.
Look Into Area Restrictions
While it may not be top of mind, make sure you look into city, county, and Home Owner Association (if applicable) laws before signing on the dotted line. Some cities restrict the number of pets and have stricter rules about collar and leash laws — the last thing you want is for your dog to be taken away to the pound. When it comes to Homeowner Association rules, not every association allows pets, and some are picky about size restrictions and whether or not you can bring Fido in the lobby if leashed.
Along with giving your dog plenty of space to run around, another benefit of having a large, fenced in backyard is that you can occasionally forgo a walk to let him/her do their business. If the home already has a fence, be sure to give it a thorough inspection to make sure the gate latches work and it’s high enough so your dog doesn’t try to escape. If you have an aging pet, you may want to consider purchasing a single-story home to avoid potentially painful trips up and down the stairs. Wall-to-wall carpeting is not a desirable option for any animal owner as it retains odors, pet hair, and stains.
While accidents can occur anywhere, choosing a home that’s on or near a busy road or highway means you’re going to have to be extra careful to make sure your dog doesn’t slip out the door and potentially run into traffic — approximately 1.2 million dogs are killed on the roads each year. It’s a good idea to scope out the area to see if there are dog-friendly restaurants, a dog park, and services such as a pet store, groomer, and daycare center.
Acclimate Into New Surroundings
The work continues once you move into your new abode as you’re going to need to help your dog adapt to its new surroundings:
- Keep your dog’s previous routine: This isn’t the time to become experimental. Even if your dog’s environment has changed, that doesn’t mean things like feeding and walk times should change. If you simply must alter your schedule due to something like a different job, implement these changes gradually until your pooch gets settled.
- Don’t introduce new gear or comfort items: New home, new bed? Not so fast. Keeping your dog’s previous bed/blanket, toys, etc. will help provide comfort due to the fact that they have smells that are familiar to them. Treat them to something fresh once they get used to their new surroundings.
- Provide lots of attention: Don’t get so caught up with the move that you forget to give your dog some extra TLC. Make an effort to spend quality time on the daily so your pooch doesn’t feel neglected. Experts even suggest spending time on the floor with your dog to help them feel more comforted.
- Be patient: Some dogs bounce back in a few days while others take several weeks. Don’t lose your cool if your buddy takes a bit longer to come around. Executing patience may actually help expedite the adjustment period.
Though the reasons differ, remember that moving is just as stressful for your dog as it is for you. Take a step back to think if your new home and neighborhood presents any challenges for your pooch. Remember that being a pet owner means you’re 100 percent committed to the health and happiness of your animal for the long haul.
Article written by Cindy Aldridge