House buying for dogs
We have long been a nation of dog lovers, but dog ownership soared during the pandemic. According to the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association), there are now 12 million dogs that are kept as pets in the UK.
“Moving to the country and getting a dog often go hand-in-hand,” says Nick Cunningham of Stacks Property Search.
“Some of our buyers’ moves from town to country are actually driven by the desire for a dog.
“The ergonomic and practical needs of a canine member of the family are extensive; and if you want your new partnership to be a happy one, you should add your new dog’s requirements to your list of property ‘must haves’.
“First and foremost is suitable outside space where your dog can be left unattended without escaping or causing any damage. It’s amazing what a big dog can get over, and what a small dog can get under, so view the garden space from a dog’s eye view. You can of course fortify fencing, and add invisible fences, but dog-proofing a garden comes at a price. There are huge advantages to having a small part of the garden that dogs can potter around at will, without access to precious flower beds and immaculate lawns that may look like a perfect spot for digging. Ponds and water features may well be viewed by your dog as their own personal swimming pool.
“As far as location is concerned, don’t assume that because you’re in the countryside, there will be plenty of perfect dog walking routes. Checking footpaths isn’t enough – if the fields are full of stock it won’t be possible for your dogs to be let off their leads. Woods and common land are particularly attractive dog-walking areas.
“Coastal areas with miles of coastal path are wonderful, but check the rules around when and if dogs are allowed on beaches. Some don’t allow dogs at all, some have seasonal restrictions, and some allow dogs all year-round.
“A dedicated dog room, preferably with an external door, will make your life as a dog owner much happier. Muddy or wet dogs can be contained until they are dry and sweet-smelling; thieves can be banished when you are preparing dinner; and you can restrict canine access to the human part of the house for the occasions when you will find they’re not welcome. Walk-in dog showers are the new must-have for house-proud dog owners.
“Check out the local dog culture. Some villages are literally full of dog lovers, most of whom will happily stop to chat to you about the pros and cons of the area, the best walks, the availability of vets, dog walkers and sitters. Many of these communities will have social media groups for local dog-owners to interact and swap ideas and information.”
Clare Coode of Stacks Property Search recently helped a client buy a property that they dramatically modified to suit their dog. They reduced the size of an extension to allow for a larger dog run fully protected from the outside world; they changed the flooring to a surface that wouldn’t be scratched by canine claws; and they divided the utility space into two, dedicating one part to humans and the other to dogs with sleeping area, low wash basin, and underfloor heating. She says, “Thirty per cent of my clients mention that they have dogs in their first conversation with me. Their priorities are dog walks from the door, and a dedicated dog room with external access.”
Another of Stacks Property Search’s clients replaced a staircase that didn’t have risers with a more traditional version as their dog was nervous about using the original. Another had custom built ramps installed wherever there was a change of level on the ground floor to allow their Dachshund to come and go freely.
Stacks Property Search, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk