by staff writer
on Friday, August 14th, 2015 at 4:38am.
So it is time to move and you are starting to look at apartments or condos. The place you like is great for you, but how is your dog going to like it? If you want a quick and easy checklist to see how dog friendly that dream home really is, then this is for you!
First let’s consider the internal amenities:
Access to Potty Area and length of time to get there
Know where the designated potty area for your building is and how long it takes to walk there from your front door. After all, you are going to be making this journey three or more times per day.
Stairwell / Elevator
Is the elevator or stairwell really that convenient? Although being right next to one seems like the way to reduce potty break times, consider that some elevators are off limits to pets, and some are trouble when you meet other dogs along the way. My recommendation is to ask where the service elevator or the quiet stairwell is.
Do you have passing neighbors or an end of corridor location?
You know your dog best, but in my experience a lot of passing traffic by your door makes for a lot of barking. Try to pick an end of corridor location if possible.
Poop Bags and Trash Can
Are poop bags provided? This makes it much faster and more convenient for you - especially when you run out unexpectedly. And is there a trash can to put the full bags into? Not everywhere provides them, and a walk to the dumpster is never the highlight of your day.
Entry for 3rd Parties
This is especially important if you are going to employ a dog walker, but also important when friends come to visit, the cable guy or maid service. Can you get an extra front door key cut or will you have to get this from the building management? Is an entry key fob required to enter the building? How many will you be allocated and is it possible to get extras? Extras can sometimes be purchased, but they are not generally cheap, $50-$100 each is not unusual. Leasing offices often suggest that visitors can get a key from them if you sign a key release. This works great but there are disadvantages such as long wait time if the staff are out on site, or if it is outside of business hours, so plan ahead.
Most places have designated guest spaces, even if they are limited, and some have retail visitor parking for visits of 2-3 hours or less. Many downtown properties have few or none of these amenities, so check it out before you commit - your best friend will thank you for this later.
That covers the building you are planning to choose, now what about the immediate neighborhood?
Here are some external factors you should consider:
Local Park on or off leash
Austin has a plentitude of neighborhood parks, so it may be worth checking out how close you will be to one and if it allows off leash dogs or insists that dogs are kept leashed at all times. Depending on your dog, you will probably have a preference for one or other of these. (Visit http://www.austindogbutler.com/pet-friendlyresources/dog-parks/ for a comprehensive list or off leash dog parks)
Restaurants and bars
Austin is very dog friendly with many places having outside patios that allow dogs, but check first to see if there are any on your block. This is likely to become your Friday night or Sunday morning hangout.
For those of you who work long hours and prefer to drop your pets off at a day care for the day, here are some options around town (http://www.austindogbutler.com/pet-friendlyresources/boarding-facilities/). If you prefer to leave your dog at home, or they prefer to avoid the company of other dogs, then please consider using a dog walker. Your dog may be able to wait the whole day for a potty break, but I am sure they would prefer to get an extra one at lunch time if they could.