If you’ve ever moved with a pet, you know how tough it can sometimes be to find the right apartment for both you and your furry friend. But whether you have a beloved dog, cat, bunny or any other animal, pets are an important part of your family, so it’s important to seek out just the right spot where you both can thrive.
While renters with pets often focus on finding a pet-friendly apartment building, for some animals—especially dogs—the neighborhood can be just as important for finding a suitable place to live. If you’re looking for a new place for you and your beloved pup, take a look at these ideas for finding a pet-friendly neighborhood that you and Fido will both love:
Do Some Preliminary Research
The first step, as always, is to do a little research. Do a few basic searches online to see if you can find a list of dog-friendly neighborhoods in your city. You can also try talking to the humane society or other local animal shelters that handle animal adoptions for people who live in the city. Do they see any neighborhood adoption trends or do they know of any particularly good areas?
Ask Pet Owners for Advice
Get in touch with some of your friends or family members who own pets, or post a social media status to see if anyone has any good advice. A personal recommendation from a trusted source is a really good way to find an area that’s just right for you and your pet.
Look for Dog Parks
Whether you’re researching online or walking around the city, keep an eye out for dog parks, waterfronts or other outdoor recreation areas. Parks—whether or not they’re specifically for off-leash running around—attract pet parents because they make it easy to take Fido outside for some activity and provide a break from being cooped up in an apartment. Especially if you live in a big city with few green areas, parks are a pretty good indicator of a dog-friendly neighborhood.
Search Out Nearby Vets
Being close to a veterinary office will make it easy for you to schedule check-ups or get quick emergency treatment if necessary. Plus, vets are typically located in areas where there are plenty of other pet owners. If you don’t have a vet in your new city yet, do a search online to see which ones in the city are the most reputable. You can also check with local shelters to see which animal hospitals or veterinarians they’d recommend.
Consider the Distance to Pet Stores and Groomers
Similarly to being near a vet office, it’s also a good idea to search for neighborhoods that have other pet-related necessities like pet stores and groomers. These will be a huge benefit if you ever need a few new toys to keep Fido busy during the day or a new bag of dog chow.
Take a Walk
Once you’ve narrowed your neighborhood search down using your knowledge of parks, vets and other pet-related amenities in the city, start going for walks around the areas that seem like they have some potential. The best way to see if your top contenders are pet friendly is to actually see if there are any pets when you’re walking around.
Are people taking dogs for walks? Or do they have them on sidewalk patios or in stores? Keep an eye out for things like free doggie bags in dispensers on the sidewalks, shop signs that say pets are welcome, and busy streets that could potentially be dangerous for dog-walking.
Find a Pet-Friendly Building
Finding a pet friendly building can also help you determine whether a neighborhood is accepting of animals. As you’re visiting potential apartments, talk to the landlord or property manager about how many pet owners live in the building and what types of pets they have. If there are a lot who have dogs, the neighborhood may be a good fit.
You should also check out some common areas of the buildings so that you can talk to some of the people who live there. If you can find a dog owner or two who lives in the building, ask them a couple of questions about the area as a whole.
Niccole Schreck is a rental experience expert for Rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable pet-friendly apartment and provides tips on how to move with your pet. She is also the proud owner of two dogs, Bella and Wallace.