How to Choose a Property with Ideal Features for Your Emotional Support Animal

A man in his living room with his emotional support animal.

If the time is approaching to find a new home for yourself and your beloved emotional support animal (ESA), you will want to look for a property where you will be safe, comfortable, and happy. It goes without saying that your animal’s needs differ greatly from your own, so it’s vital that you find a home that has the best features for you both.

Not quite sure what to look for? Fear not—we have put together a handy guide to choosing a property with ideal features for your ESA.

Take Time to Look

Whether you are looking to buy or rent a property, it is a good idea to give yourself time to look around. Your new home should meet several criteria, and it is not always easy to find a property that checks all the boxes.

For example, if your ESA is a dog, you should look for a property with ample space close to a park. If you have a cat, you should look for a property with a door with a cat flap, and that is situated away from main roads.

Give yourself at least eight weeks to find a new home for you and your emotional support animal. You might need to be more flexible about the type of property you are looking for or the area where you would like to live, especially if you are planning on renting.

If you are searching for a property online, use search filters or keywords such as “quiet,” “park,” “pet friendly,” or “pets allowed.” By allowing yourself some searching time, you can look for properties that suit you and your ESA perfectly.

Now, let us take a look at the features you should look for.

Outdoor Space or a Fenced Yard

One of the first features you should look for in a property is outdoor space or a fenced yard, depending on the type of property you want. This is essential especially if your emotional support animal is high-energy or requires space to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and stretch their legs.

A yard with a six-foot fence is ideal, especially if your ESA is a dog. If you are looking to purchase a property, not having a six-foot fence does not need to be a deal-breaker, as you can always extend the height of the fence if you have the funds to do so.

A fenced yard is not always practical or possible, especially if you are looking for an apartment. If your budget, location, or other factors limit your choice of apartments, look for one that offers a balcony that you can pet-proof with screening and make more comfortable by adding artificial grass.

Screens in Windows

Whether you are looking at double-story homes or apartments that are not on the ground floor, keep a lookout for screens in windows. These are an excellent feature to ensure the safety of your emotional support animal, especially if it is a cat.

Vets see up to five cats a week that are injured by falling from high places during warmer months when owners open windows to enjoy the fresh air and cool breezes.

While cats do have a remarkable ability to land on their feet, they can suffer from cat high-rise syndrome. This means their bodies do not always readjust, so they do not always land on their feet—and even if they do, they are still at risk of serious injury.

ESA-Friendly Flooring

ESA-friendly flooring is another ideal feature to look for when choosing a new property – and we are not talking about carpets!

Yes, carpeting can be comfortable, but animals can easily stain or otherwise damage it. Instead, look for durable, long-lasting flooring such as hardwood, laminate, or tile.

With flooring made from materials such as these, you do not need to worry about odors or stains. They also make cleaning much easier, as carpeting requires deep cleaning more frequently.

Animal-Friendly Finishes

You should also look for animal-friendly finishes. Keep in mind that black finish paint is difficult to clean, so avoid choosing a property with interiors painted black unless you plan on repainting in a different color.

Instead, look for a property where the interior walls and other surfaces are painted with semi-gloss paint. In addition to being elegant, an eggshell or satin finish is easy to clean, making it ideal for people with ESAs.

Animal-Friendly Amenities

Animal-friendly amenities can make life much easier for you and your emotional support animal.

Some of the amenities you can keep in mind include designated play areas, animal washing stations, built-in feeding stations, and dedicated or hidden storage areas for your ESA’s food.

If you are considering moving into an apartment building, check and see if there are amenities such as communal areas for animals where your ESA can interact and socialize with other animals, if appropriate. It may also be worth checking whether the property you are considering is close to a dog park, a veterinary clinic, a grooming salon, or a store where you can buy food, animal shampoo, accessories, and or other products you need to take care of them.

An Appropriately Stimulating Environment

Some emotional support animals, such as dogs, require an appropriately stimulating environment. If you are looking for an apartment, make sure that there is at least one window your ESA can look out of to avoid a lack of visual stimulation.

However, just be sure that they can cope with the level of activity outdoors without becoming overstimulated. While any dog that is an ESA should be well-behaved and respond to basic commands, regular sightings of other dogs, mailmen, or neighbors could lead to excited, frenetic barking that is not always easy to control.

Your home should suit your personality as well as that of your emotional support animal, and it should offer the right amount of stimulation without causing a disturbance.

Your emotional support animal is an important part of your life. Follow the above tips to find a property with the ideal features for you both so that you enjoy a happy, healthy, stress-free life together.

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