It doesn’t matter if they’re furry, scaled, or feathered. Your pet is part of your family.
That means you have to consider their safety and well-being just as much as your own when deciding where to live.
Never moved with your pet before? This guide is for you!
Read on to learn everything you need to know when searching for a pet-friendly neighborhood.
Signs of a pet-friendly neighborhood
When getting ready to move with pets, there are a few essential things you need to explore to know you’re looking at a pet-friendly neighborhood. Here are some of the most important ones:
We all know how frustrating it can be to try and walk your dog (or another pet that likes to go for a stroll regularly) somewhere without sidewalks.
Don’t want to dive into the bushes every time a car drives by? Make sure the neighborhood gives you plenty of room to walk so you and your pet stay safe.
Lots of (night) light
Do you like to walk your dog at night?
If so, make sure your neighborhood has plenty of streetlights. Not only does this help you see where you’re going, but it also ensures you (and your pet) don’t get startled by someone else out on a late-night walk.
We’ve got one more step for nighttime dog walkers.
Drive through the neighborhood in the evening. That way, you’ll know the streetlights work and don’t get hit with an unpleasant surprise after you move in!
Superior safety ratings
These days, it’s easier than ever to learn about a neighborhood.
With apps like Nextdoor, you can quickly find out how safe a neighborhood is and what kinds of complaints people have (people’s incessant online venting can be helpful sometimes).
Check the neighborhood’s safety ratings and look for posts about recent crime in the area. This tip is especially helpful if you live alone, walk your dog alone at night, or both.
Plenty of parks
When your pup needs to get some extra energy out and isn’t satisfied with a neighborhood stroll, you need to be able to get them to the park quickly (before they decide to use that energy to chew on your couch!).
When looking at nearby parks, make sure they’re pet-friendly. How disappointing would it be to take your dog to a beautiful park only to find out they’re not allowed?
Check that there is plenty of open, grassy space and trash cans for throwing away pet waste (you don’t want to be one of those pet parents).
See also: this app is a reactive dog parent's dream.
Very close veterinarians
Few things are scarier or more stressful than when your pet is sick or injured. If this happens, you need to get them to a doctor right away.
When evaluating different neighborhoods, consider how close they are to a veterinarian and how easy it will be for you to get your pet there if needed. For example, if you plan to walk to the veterinarian, will you have to cross a busy street?
If you have a less common pet, such as a reptile, don’t forget to make sure the veterinarian treats them (most veterinarians specify which animals they treat on their websites).
If your pet needs regular grooming, consider how close the neighborhood is to your preferred groomer (or, depending on how far away you’re moving, a new-to-you groomer with good online ratings).
Having a groomer nearby ensures they don’t have to suffer with bad hair days while you scramble to find someone who can squeeze them in.
Pet-friendly public transportation
Do you take public transportation often? If so, check that the nearby buses, subways, or other public transportation options allow pets.
Find out what rules they have (if any), too. For example, some allow pets but require them to be in carriers or on leashes.
Choosing pet-friendly housing options
Okay, you’ve evaluated a neighborhood, and it seems like a pet-friendly spot. You’re not done just yet, though!
The neighborhood might be pet-friendly, but that doesn’t mean all the housing options are.
Some apartments, condos, and townhomes have strict rules regarding pets. They may not allow pets at all, or they might only accept service animals or animals under a specific weight.
Always talk to your potential landlord or the head of the homeowner’s association to learn the rules before you choose a house or apartment. Doing so will save you a lot of stress (and a lot of money in potential fines).
In addition to general pet-friendliness, there are some other factors to keep in mind when touring houses or apartments to determine if they’re a good option for your pet:
Fenced yards: If you want to let your dog outside, make sure you have a fenced yard to keep them safe.
Pet amenities: Some apartment and condo complexes have fun pet amenities like dog parks and pet waste stations.
The number of visible pets: When you tour the property, do you see lots of people walking dogs or tending to other animals?
It also helps to read online reviews. See what current and previous residents think about the area and its pet-friendliness.
For example, if there are lots of complaints about off-leash dogs, it might not be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if many people rave about the onsite dog park, that might be a sign that it’s a “yes.”
Ready to find a pet-friendly place?
Finding a pet-friendly neighborhood and pet-friendly housing options can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time pet parent.
If you follow the guidelines discussed above, though, you’ll have a much easier time narrowing down your options and picking the right place for you and your pet.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.