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How to find a dog-friendly neighborhood

Love your pup? These signs show that a neighborhood will too.

For dog owners, finding a neighborhood that’s as welcoming to your dog as it is to you is a priority. But how can you tell before moving in? We have tips for online research and in-the-neighborhood sleuthing that let you feel confident that you’re making the right choice.

Here’s how to find a dog-friendly neighborhood: 

Get​​ the scoop from local dog owners.

We asked locals across the nation to tell us about their neighborhood. The resulting What Locals Say ratings on every Neighborhood page on Trulia include important intel for dog owners, like how many locals would say the following about their neighborhood:

  • It’s dog-friendly
  • There are sidewalks
  • People would walk alone at night
  • The streets are well-lit

For example, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, 96% of locals say it’s dog-friendly and 94% say there are sidewalks. One resident reports that “Pleasant dog play areas abound.”1

Map out nearby dog-friendly spots.

It’s a good sign when a neighborhood has a vet’s office and a pet supply store, says Ashley Jacobs, CEO of Sitting For A Cause, a site that matches pet owners with sitters. “When the community cares about animals, keeping them healthy, and controlling the pet population, that’s always a sign that your dog will be welcome and loved.”

Scoping out dog-friendly businesses is easy on Trulia. Every property listing and every Neighborhood page on our site has maps where you can find helpful businesses (the embedded Yelp ratings are a big help), plus places to roam, like dog parks, parks with off-leash hours, and walking trails.

Take a virtual walk.

Before you head over to check out the neighborhood in person, you can get a feel for it on Trulia. Every home’s page on Trulia includes a map gallery under the house photos. Click Google Street View, and you’ll start right at the home’s front door. From there, you can roam around the area to see how the sidewalks look and whether there are any dodgy street crossings on the way to the local dog park.

This is a low-commitment way to look for positive signs like pedestrian-friendly intersections and fenced yards. Bonus points if you spot people out with their dogs in the photos.

Look up the HOA rules.

If you’re considering a neighborhood where there’s a homeowner’s association, or HOA, take a look at the rules. HOAs can dictate whether homeowners can own dogs and can enforce breed or size restrictions. Even if the area is littered with dog parks, you may learn that your 100-pound pal isn’t invited to the party.

Take your dog on a real-life walk.

A virtual visit is a great way to narrow down your choices—but to make your big decision, you’ll want to let your pooch sniff it out IRL. Try to make a few trips at different times of day and different days of the week. Traffic and noise levels will differ, as will the crowd at the dog park and who’s out and about on the sidewalk.

Chat up pet owners.

While you’re in the neighborhood, chat up anyone who’s out walking a dog. Ask about their favorite dog park, where to find a good vet, and whether neighbors are friendly to their pet.

“You want to make sure that people, neighbors, landlords, and business owners are going to welcome your pet,” says Janine Acquafredda, cofounder of Realtors 4 Rescues, a nonprofit that helps keep animals out of shelters.

Scope out hidden treats.

Some great signs of a dog-friendly neighborhood are just too small to appear on a map. In fact, many are right at your dog’s nose level. While in the neighborhood, pay attention to businesses that put out water bowls, a local bakery that sells dog treats, a butcher counter that hands out extra bones to dog owners, or a brewery with a dog-friendly patio.

In many neighborhoods, even the local infrastructure is welcoming for dogs. When walking around, scan for public trash cans, pet waste stations, and pet hydration stations. These extras will enhance the quality of life for you and your best friend—and make your new neighborhood feel like home.

Find homes for sale now in your favorite dog-friendly neighborhood on Trulia.

1 mjbizdev, Sept, 2018“Pleasant dog play areas abound. People and dogs have been nice. Several groups most times of day. Owners are considerate about picking up “