From Woofs to Walls: Finding a Pet-Friendly Property
Essential points to consider when looking for a pet-friendly property, to ensure that both you and your four-legged friends will feel right at home.
Searching for a new home is an exhilarating
experience, made slightly more tricky when you
have a beloved pet to consider. As a pet owner,
it's crucial to find a property that not only
meets your own needs but also provides a
comfortable and safe environment for your furry
“There are so many things to consider when you’re buying a home. Families may want a spacious property close to amenities like schools and shops, whereas a young professional buying a first home may be looking for a lock-up-and-go in a vibrant area,” says Bradd Bendall, Head of Sales at BetterBond. “If you own pets, it makes sense to take their needs into account, as it can impact on your quality of life down the line. Think about how much space your dogs require if they’re very active, or if a home on a busy road will be a suitable one for cats who like to wander.”
Below, Bendall looks at essential points to consider when looking for a pet-friendly property, to ensure that both you and your four-legged friends will feel right at home.
Is the neighbourhood pet-friendly?
It's essential to assess the overall pet-friendliness of the neighbourhood. Look for signs of a vibrant pet community, such as pet supply stores, pet-friendly restaurants, groomers, and dog parks. Friendly neighbours who are also pet owners can create a welcoming environment for both you and your furry companions, fostering a sense of belonging and support.
Safety inside and out
Finding a pet-friendly
property involves more than just the right
layout and amenities for yourself, says Bendall;
it also means creating a comfortable and safe
haven for your furry companion. Safety inside a
home includes having enough room for pets to
move around in, and no dangerous elements like
exposed wires or staircases without balustrades.
Next, take a walk around a potential home’s property and check that the walls are high enough, or fences are secure enough to contain your pets. “High walls are valued as a security feature against criminals, but they’re a great safety measure if you have pets. The last thing you want is for pets to be able to get out of a property and encounter hazards outside. Well-constructed walls provide peace of mind and prevent any unwanted adventures,” he advises.
Bendall also points out that, according to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), any private swimming pool with a maximum depth of 30cm has to be surrounded by a childproof fence. While this is for the safety of family members and guests, it helps with pets, too. Not all dog and cat breeds are natural swimmers and if they struggle to get out of a pool they’ve fallen into, they could easily drown.
“If you’re working
remotely, or there’s someone home during the
day, you can open or close doors and windows to
regulate the temperature and offer pets
protection on hot, cold, or rainy days,” says
Bendall. “But if you spend most of the day at
work and your pets are kept indoors, efficient
heating and cooling systems can help to keep
Temperature control can be particularly important for breeds sensitive to extreme heat in parts of South Africa that get extremely warm. Good lighting and ventilation also help to improve your pet’s well-being, so prioritise homes with natural light and good ventilation to circulate air and eliminate odours.
Pets can be hard on floors, so it's essential to
choose pet-friendly flooring options that can
withstand their playful antics. Wall-to-wall
carpets and delicate hardwood floors might look
appealing, but they’re not the best options for
pet owners, advises Bendall. “Wooden floors are
prone to damage, and carpets stain easily and
trap pet hair and odours. Damaged floors don’t
look good and, in the long-term, aren’t great
for resale value.”
Instead, says Bendall, look for homes with durable and easy-to-clean flooring materials like tile, laminate, or vinyl, which are resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture, and can be wiped, swept, and cleaned quickly. Tiles also offer a cool place for pets to stretch out on warm summer days. If there are areas where you’d like something softer underfoot, you can put down a throw rug, which can easily be shaken out and cleaned.
browsing for a pet-friendly property, look for
any features that will make living with pets
easier for you. “These may not have been
designed specifically with pets in mind, but
that pet parents will value for their
usefulness,” says Bendall. “Such features
include sufficient storage space inside the
home, which will prove handy for storing items
such as food, toys, grooming supplies, blankets
and leads so that they don’t clutter your home.”
An all-in-one cabinet will prove invaluable for neatly organising pet-related things, like a shower caddy filled with their medicines and grooming supplies, baskets stashed with blankets and toys, and hooks on the cabinet walls for leads and collars. Another handy feature is if the kitchen has a pull-out bin tucked under a counter. If you prefer a standalone rubbish bin you could turn the existing pull-out bin into a pellet storage area. Just pop a clean container in with a sealed lid in to keep pellets fresh and fill it with Fido’s food.
Finally, if your dogs love getting muddy on walks, a dedicated washing area outside in the garden can double up as a pet-washing station, making it easier to wash dogs down.
If your pets are an integral part of your family’s life, then making sure a new home will be ideal for them can go a long way in ensuring everyone’s happiness for years to come.