When in the market for a pet-friendly home, there are many considerations.  In this article, we will talk about four important, can’t-live-without features to look for in a home. Before you begin your search for the perfect home for you and your furry friend, make sure you are in good hands by reaching out to a pet-friendly realtor, like Elene Schachter of Weichert Realtors in Livingston, NJ.  A realtor can help guide you to discover not only the perfect home but also a neighborhood that is accommodating and will welcome you and your pet with open arms!  Within the neighborhood, you will want to look for nearby pet-friendly parks and trails, dog parks, groomers, vets, pet stores and a local pet care company like Canine Concierge, that will service your area.

What are the most important features in a pet-friendly home?

1. Backyard

When you are searching for a home, sometimes you will make accommodations, such as the house has a brand new kitchen, therefore you can overlook the small, unfenced backyard.  If you have a dog, don’t make this mistake! The important features within a backyard in a pet-friendly home may include a fence (while invisible fence systems are very popular, they still do not contain dogs as well as a physical fence, and require an initial investment plus training).  Make sure the fence is an adequate height and that there are no gaps where your dog can fit through.  This is also a good time to ask about neighboring properties.  Do the neighbors own dogs? Elene Schachter, a sales representative for Weichert says, “You want to know your potential neighbors. It would be important to make sure your new neighbors don’t have a dog that will be barking at your dog all day long.” Another factor to consider is if your neighbors do own dogs, they may be more likely to empathize if your dog does bark now and then.  Also, make sure you ask to see the house after a good rainfall.  Does the yard have adequate drainage? Does it get muddy?  You may choose to look into alternatives to growing grass, such as pet-friendly turf, if the yard has improper drainage, gets too much sun/shade and if your dogs will be using it as their primary restroom.  One last consideration for a pet-friendly home would be which room in the home leads out to the yard? Is there a mud room or area where you can wipe down your dog if it’s been raining before they enter into the main part of the home?

A fenced backyard is pet-friendly

2. Mud/Wash Room

So you want to give your Labrador a hose-down?  Or your Pomeranian a quick spa treatment without a trip to the groomer or local self-wash station? AND you’d like to do it without having hairballs clogging up your kitchen or bathroom drains?  That’s not too much of an ask!  What you need to look for in your new pet-friendly home is a walk-in shower (for large breeds) or a large utility sink with a hand-held showerhead (this can easily be installed if needed) if you have a dog under 25 lbs.  You can also add built-in bins for food and accessories, or even built-in bowls, so they are out of sight and neatly tucked away when not in use.  Add some decorative hooks for leashes, collars, and harnesses and you will be all set.  Don’t forget to add a shoe rack or shelf to store your wellies on those muddy days!


3. Pet-Friendly Flooring

Hardwood, laminate, vinyl, oh my! The choices these days for flooring that can withstand the pitter-patter of pawsteps are endless.  I have had a great experience with luxury vinyl plank flooring, as it has stood the test of time (over 10 years) with hundreds of dogs coming and going from my daycare.  Not only has it stood up to dog spills and accidents, it also survived through 2 minor flooding incidents.  Laminate flooring is also a great option; however, make sure you opt for the planks thicker than 12 mm and that you purchase laminate that is marketed as waterproof.  Porcelain tile that looks like hardwood is very trendy and can withstand moisture (and sure feels good to lay on in the summer if you are a dog!). However, these plank-style tiles do require grout which can be difficult to keep looking new, and can trap odors since it is porous.  Lastly, we can’t forget carpeting! Dogs love carpets! It’s like one giant bed…and bathroom. If you are a fan of having plush carpeting under your feet, do not fear!  Newer carpets tend to be much more stain resistant than ever before.  We recently had Mohawk SmartStrand Silk carpeting installed, which claims to be pet odor and stain resistant due to its Nanoloc™ Spill & Soil Shield.  Luckily, we have only had one accident so far, and it cleaned up perfectly!

4. Dedicated Pet Room

A playroom for the kids? Check! A man cave for the men of the house? Check? A private space where your pet can escape for some uninterrupted, peaceful bliss? That may be harder to come by but not an impossibility!  As much as pets are social beings, they all like to have a little privacy now and again.  Sure, a comfortable crate can suffice.  But with a little creativity, you can turn a small nook in your pet-friendly home into your pet’s private hideaway!  If you have an entire spare room, you can dedicate that space to your furry friend.  Paint using fun colors in a semi-gloss (washable) finish. Decorate with theme-specific items, a plush (washable) rug, a couple inexpensive beds from a decor store, some trendy water and food bowls, and top it off with a Furbo dog-treat-tossing camera--so your dog may be out of sight but not out of mind! If you own a cat, Elene recommends a room that has nice windowsills, as they make a perfect perch for kitty! If you don’t have an entire room, try creating a little spot for them in a closet. Remove the doors, and decorate as you would a larger room, just scaled-down!  Many homeowners are now carving out a space underneath their stairs, creating a peaceful sanctuary for their pets.  Creating a space just for your pets will put them at ease in their new environment and will make them less anxious when you need to leave them to tend to your hooman life.


welcome home

Elene recommends a couple additional considerations when buying a pet-friendly home.  One is to try not to buy a home on a busy street since dogs and cats can easily run out of an open door and into traffic. The other is to consider how many stairs are in the home and what impact that may have on your pets, especially as they age.

“No matter your pet, they are a member of your family and you need to think of them, too!”

-Elane Schachter, Weichert

What are some pet-friendly features you have found that you just can’t live without in your home?  What would be the ideal features in your new home? We would love to hear your ideas!  In the market for a new home or looking to sell your home?  Elene and her team will be happy to help you!  Click here to see her website or give her a call at 973-994-4884.