Moving house? How to tell if your new neighbourhood is dog-friendly
Kiwis are a pet-loving lot. A 2016 report by The New Zealand Companion Animal Council shows that about 64 per cent of New Zealand households are home to at least one pet. In fact, according to that report, at an estimated 4.6 million, pets outnumber their owners.
Our furry friends are family members, so when it's time to move house, it's worth taking a look around your potential new neighbourhood and seeing whether it's a welcoming place for them, too.
Cats are the most popular pet, but dogs are the most social of our companion animals, and the ones most likely to be affected by a move.
What's the best way to tell if a city or suburban neighbourhood is dog-friendly?
* Welcome to Homed
* Meet the Homed team
* Top tips for pet-friendly landlords and renters with pets
* Surviving a house move with dogs
1. YOU SEE A LOT OF DOGS OUT AND ABOUT
An obvious sign of a pet-friendly neighbourhood is one that has lots of dogs exploring with their humans. You want to make sure that people, neighbours, landlords, and business owners are going to welcome your pet, and the best indicator of that is if there are lots of other dogs around.
Where there are dogs, there are dog owners that care about animals, so your dog will be in a welcoming environment.
A neighbourhood with lots of dog activity is also much more likely to have dog-loving neighbours – and those nearby dog-lovers are much more likely to help you find your pup if he ever gets loose or runs away.
2. THERE'S A NEARBY DOG PARK, BEACH OR RESERVE
You want to be sure the "doggie playground" near your future home will be a pleasant experience for your pooch. Visit early on a weekend morning, when the beach or reserve is most likely to have dogs around.
If you're not sure of the protocol, look for a sign with the local leash regulations, or take your cue from the other owners and your knowledge of your own pet.
Check out the canine crowd, and observe the owners too. Is the vibe friendly? This will give you an idea of what type of dogs and dog owners frequent the place. And an added bonus is that taking your dog out for a play can help you make friends in your new neighbourhood.
3. YOU CAN EASILY FIND A VETERINARIAN AND PET SUPPLY STORE
Businesses go where the demand is, so a vet and a pet store indicate a pet-friendly neighbourhood.
When you have a community that cares about animals and keeping them healthy, that's always a telltale sign that your dog will be welcome and loved.
4. THERE ARE PLENTY OF SIDEWALKS AND PLACES TO WALK
If you're living in town, you'll walk your dog often, so you'll want a neighbourhood that makes this accessible. In addition to sidewalks, are there reserves or trails to explore?
Bonus points if the neighbourhood provides waste bags or dog-accessible water bowls, which are a sure sign an area welcomes pooches.
5. PLACES FOR PEOPLE ALSO WELCOME PETS
If a neighbourhood looks promising, call or stop by some of the local restaurants, stores, or coffeehouses and ask about their policy on pets. Look for dogs lounging on local restaurant patios while their human family members enjoy lunch or dinner nearby.
Spotting dog treats on the counter at the local bakery or cafe is a good sign. These little extras will enhance the quality of life for you and your pet – and make your new neighbourhood feel like home for everyone in the family.