If you’re searching for a new home, chances are high that you’re also one of the 65 percent of Americans who own a pet. When choosing a home to keep you and your furry companion happy, here are a few key features to look for.
Flooring: Pet owners should avoid carpets whenever possible, not just because they attract stains and odors, but also because they trap pet hair and dander that can lead to allergic reactions. Instead, look for hardwood, tile, and linoleum, which has antimicrobial and antistatic properties.
Exterior wash station: Most outdoor pet owners are all too familiar with the problem of pets tracking dirt (or worse) into the house. Whether it’s a hose and drain in the garage or a sink in the laundry room, a wash station between your outdoor and indoor space can save you a lot of cleaning and stress.
Childproofing: Even if you don’t have children, childproof features can be a huge help in managing your curious pet. Special latches and knobs, temporary or built-in gates, and other childproofing measures keep pets secure and away from the hazardous chemicals under your sink.
Screens: Cats are naturally attracted to high places, and while they’re known for surviving falls, they’re not invincible. There’s even a name for the recent trend of pet deaths as a result of falls: “High Rise Syndrome.” To protect your pets from falls, make sure any home you consider has window screens that are sturdy and intact.
Paint: While dog slobber washes off your face and hands easily enough, it can stain walls and other surfaces. Satin or semi-gloss paint resists marks and stains and stands up to scrubbing better than eggshell or matte.
Fencing: Make sure any fences at a prospective home are in good condition and free of large holes or gaps your pet can squeeze through. Invisible fence systems can cost thousands to install, so be on the lookout for homes that already have invisible fences on their property.
Landscaping and vegetation: While a big, beautifully landscaped yard may seem like heaven for animal lovers, many common plants pose health risks for your pets. Baby’s breath and crabapples, for instance, are harmful to dogs, while lilies are toxic to cats. Visit the ASPCA website for a full list of other plants to watch out for.