Choosing a Home with Pets in Mind
Written by Sean Cooper

Monday, October 29th, 2018

For many of us, our pets are like members of the family. We couldn't think of life without them. Some people buy their pets holiday gifts, dress them up in nice clothing and treat them to fancy things like spa treatments.

When it comes to finding a place to buy or rent, there are many considerations — even more if you're looking for a place for you and a pet. Here are some important things to consider:

Are There any Pet Restrictions?

This is important to know upfront in your search. Rental agreements and building rules or bylaws for condos and townhouses may include pet restrictions. Pet rules might also vary by city or province.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that just because you see residents with pets, it's ok for you to have a pet. Sometimes the rules are grandfathered in. Other times, there might be restrictions on the number of pets and size of pets.

Consider the Needs and Wants of Your Pets

When putting together a list of needs and wants for the place you'd like to rent or buy, don't forget to consider the needs and wants of your pets.

Try to find a place that actively encourages pets. For example, some more upscale buildings may include a dog walker as part of the amenities. This can be ideal if you sometimes work long hours at the office. Other buildings may have a designated greenspace for you to let your dog run off leash.

If you have a dog that you like to take to off-leash parks, you'll want to see if there are any good ones nearby. You may not always have the time and energy to drive 30 minutes to a better dog park across town.

Budgeting for Extra Costs

If you're looking for a house with a yard for your pet, keep in mind that this might put you into higher priced properties. You'll want to avoid stretching yourself too much financially. And don't forget to factor in the yard maintenance work and costs that come along with the property.

If you're buying a new home and the yard doesn't have a fence, you'll want to budget the cost of building one in order for your pet to roam free in the yard. Think about other potential costs, such as adding a doggie door or a doghouse in the backyard.

Whether you're buying a new or resale home, you'll want to choose flooring that suits your pets. Although hardwood is a popular type of floor, it can be easily scratched by pets. You may want to go with something like vinyl or tile flooring, which tend to be more pet resistant.

Keeping Your Pet Safe

Are you buying in a pet-friendly neighbourhood with plenty of parks and fellow pet owners to socialize with? Is your place far away from dangerous places for your pets, such as busy roads and ponds? These are other considerations that might be important to you.

And as you're looking at home layouts, remember to keep your pet in mind. For example, older dogs may have difficulty with stairs. Also, some breeds of pets may not make sense in certain places, such as a big dog in a little apartment.

Pet owners treat their pets like any member of the family, so it makes sense to consider their needs when choosing a place to live.


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