9 things to consider before moving with your pet in New York City

A few months ago, we gave you 7 tips to help find the perfect “pet friendly” pad in New York City. However, not every “pet friendly” apartment will be the purr-fect fit for the both of you, nor will every neighborhood adequately meet the needs of both you. Finding the ideal pad in a great neighborhood can be a game of compromises.

Here are 9 things you should consider before signing that lease on a new pad so you and your pet can have a painless move.

1. How much will the move affect your pet?

Papilon looking out the windowPhoto: Robert Clark

Moving in New York City is one of the most dreaded of all processes, possibly beating out a trip to the DMV or getting a root canal. Sure, it would make the process much more simple if you could just ask your pet if they are okay with a move. But, that is obviously not possible — unless you are a believer in pet psychics. Instead, consider how long you’ve been in your present pad with your pet. Have they gotten into a routine that they are happy with? And more importantly, are they resilient? Knowing how your pet adjusts to change is key to determining if your pet is ready for a huge change like a move.

2. Is there enough space your stuff and your pet?

fat catPhoto: DanPerry/Flickr

It should be obvious that a 20 pound cat takes up less physical space than a 150 pound Great Dane. According to the Naked Apartments, the average one bedroom apartment in New York City is about 750 square feet. Will that be enough floor space for your pet to comfortably coexist with your furniture and other “stuff?” Also, consider how active your pet is. A younger pet will likely enjoy more space to play and just be puppy or kitten.

3. Does your pet need friends?

sleeping puppiesPhoto: Bev Sykes/Flickr

Dogs are by their nature pack animals. They need to be social, and in being social their temperament improves — much like humans, despite New Yorkers having a very anti-social reputation. Are they other friendly dogs in your potential new building? Also worth considering, is your dog leaving a good friend behind? Some dogs don’t always bond easily with other dogs. It is worth considering would you be willing to bring your dog back to your old building for a playdate after you’ve moved?

4. Is your new building easily pet accessible?

pug in a boxPhoto: Sam Lavy/Flickr

Just because your new building allows pets, it doesn’t mean the building was designed with pets in mind. Walk-ups may not be the best for the joints of your aging pet, nor will you necessarily be excited at the prospect of carrying them up and down multiple flights of stairs several times a day. Even worse, there is always the possibility your dog won’t even fit in the elevator.

5. Where will you go in the event of an emergency?

Vet hospital nycPhoto: West Village Pets

Unfortunately, pets are not immune to illness and sometimes accidents may happen requiring an emergency animal hospital visit. While New York City certainly has no shortage of licensed veterinarians, finding a 24-hour animal hospital could be more of an issue. And if your pet is approaching their golden years, knowing where the nearest animal hospital is and how easily can get there in an emergency should be a priority if you are considering a move.

6. Does your pet like their primary care physician?

kitten at vetPhoto: Captain Pancakes/Flickr

Many pets, especially cats, are notorious for disliking visits to the vet. If you, and more importantly your pet, are both happy with your current vet, will you be willing to potentially travel across town, maybe into another borough, or even possibly in excess of 30 minutes on the subway or in an Uber to continue seeing your current vet? The change could potentially be disruptive for your pet, affecting them almost as much as the move itself. A good vet you both agree on shouldn’t be discounted without careful consideration, especially if your pet has been seeing their vet for a long time.

7. Sundays in the park with Rover?

dog park nycPhoto: Andre Arden/Flickr

While Manhattan is often referred to as “the concrete jungle,” there are plenty of green patches to be found. Some dog breeds, like Siberian Huskies for example, are “working class” animals. They require rigorous play and exercise, or else they can become destructive in the home, acting out in frustration. While Williamsburg may be trendy and hip enough for you, it has only one green patch and that could be quite a hike literally for the both of you. Look for the nearest city park with a dog run. Exercise and convenient relief areas will make city living easier for the both of you. An afternoon in the park also allows you and your pet to soak in some Vitamin D and work on your social skills!

8. Search Yelp for a list of the nearest doggie day cares.

Doggy Day CarePhoto: Canine to Five/Flickr

If your new neighborhood is light on green space, point your browser to Yelp and investigate the nearest doggie day care facility. Like everything in New York City, the choices vary on how much you are willing to spend. Large corporations like PetSmart have opened moderately sized and priced doggie day care facilities in Manhattan, while privately owned more “upscale” facilities charge substantially higher rates for a more spa-like experience for your pet. Regardless of your budget, chances are with a little leg work you and your pet should be able to find a clean, safe indoor space for them to burn off some steam and make some new friends!

9. Does the building have a recommended dog walker?

NYC Dog WalkersPhoto: Brian Godfrey/Flickr

You’re bound to come across a dog walker expertly wrangling a large pack of dogs if you spend any amount of time walking above ground in Manhattan. Busy New Yorkers turn to dog walkers in droves so their pets don’t have to stay confined inside during long weekday work hours without getting a relief walk. Often “pet-friendly” buildings will have recommendations for dog walkers that already service the building’s pets.

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