A white spotted dog in a cardboard box

If you’re the kind of person who views your dog as part of the family, it’s only natural that you’d make pet-friendly features a priority when buying a home. After all, you want your pup to love your new house just as much as you do. Not to mention, homes with pet-friendly features make life much easier for owners too!

From house hunting to moving day, this guide is here to help you buy a home that’s perfect for your pooch and you.

Shopping for a Pet-Friendly Home

These are the features that dog owners are sure to appreciate in their future home:

  • A walkable, low-traffic neighborhood with nearby parks.
  • Proximity to pet stores, veterinarians, groomers, and doggie daycares.
  • Open floor plans with room to play.
  • A fenced yard for canine safety.
  • Easy-clean, scratch-resistant floors.
  • A mudroom to clean paws and corral pet supplies.
  • A bathtub or large, enclosed shower for easy bathing.
  • Non-toxic landscaping

.It’s not easy to find all these features in a single home, let alone one that’s in your budget, so when you find the perfect dog-friendly house, you should jump at the opportunity. If a house has everything you need but is a little smaller than you’d hoped for, don’t let it stop you from buying. Smaller homes offer great perks, like less maintenance and lower utility bills, and you can easily store infrequently-used items, like recreational equipment and seasonal décor, in a nearby self-storage unit.

Preparing for the Move

Once you’ve found the right house, start planning your move. If moving locally, consider boarding your dog until you’ve settled into the new place. This will also help with showing your old house, as most buyers don’t want to be greeted by a dog when they walk in the door!

Besides Fido himself, be sure to remove all other traces of him from your current abode when you’re ready to show it. If you currently rent, removing pet stains and odors ensures you’ll get most or all of your security deposit back, and owners will make a better impression on potential buyers who don’t see signs of pet damage.

Cleaning supplies around a wooden deck

In addition to thoroughly dusting, sweeping and mopping, get rid of stains your pooch left on carpeting with an enzymatic cleaning solution; be sure to let it soak so it absorbs as much odor-causing material as possible. Scratches caused by excited paws on wood surfaces can be lightly sanded down and stained. Finally, if you have furniture that’s been clearly damaged by your critter, move it out of the house as soon as you list your property. Even if you’ve removed all other traces of pet ownership, a doggy-damaged couch will make shoppers wonder where other pet destruction may be hiding in your home.

Once your house is ready, it’s time to make a plan for your pup. If you’re moving long-distance or boarding isn’t an option, we’ll discuss other strategies for managing your dog’s moving anxiety below. In the meantime, start collecting veterinary records, shopping for vets and dog walkers in your new area, and updating your pet’s tags, microchip data, and registration to reflect the new address.

Moving Day and Your Dog

Moving is tough on dogs! Pups get anxious watching their owners pack up the house, and that anxiety often leads to unwanted behaviors during the move and once you’re in the new house. The last thing you want is a nervous pooch having accidents on freshly-cleaned carpets or tearing up the house you just bought, so it’s important to manage your pet’s anxiety during the transition.

If doing your own packing, start with things your dog isn’t likely to notice missing. You can safely pack up the contents of attics, basements, and closets without triggering your pet’s anxiety, but avoid disassembling furniture and other major changes until moving day.

On moving day, dogs should be crated, boarded, or sent to doggie daycare to prevent an escape. Moving crews will be in and out of your house with doors open. Even if your dog isn’t typically an escape risk, the chaos of moving day could trigger uncharacteristic behavior.

A yellow lab on a couch with their human

From finding a pet-friendly home to preventing a moving-day escape, there’s no doubt that dogs make a big move more challenging. However, the extra effort needed to keep your dog safe and happy pales in comparison to the joy your four-legged friend brings! If you’re having trouble finding a home that fits your needs, talk to a real estate agent who understands the needs of doting dog owners.