Keeping your Pets Safe

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Finding the right home for you and your family is all well and good, but what about your pets? There are many who regard their pets as very important members of the family and will consider their needs along with their human family's requirements when choosing a home.

There is far more to finding the right pet pad than ensuring that the property is fully fenced. We take a look at what pet lovers should be on the lookout for when buying a new home.

• If you are considering buying into a sectional title scheme, make sure that you read the body corporate rules regarding pet ownership. Do not take the owner’s or agent’s word for it -check for yourself. Do not assume that because there are animals on the premises that you will be allowed to home your pet on the property - new rules often come in to play and you may not be allowed to keep any animal. Even if it is permissible, many bodies corporate have restrictions as to the type and size of pet allowed.

• Pet owners who have more than one pet or who have an animal which sheds large amounts of hair should consider looking at property with tiled or wooden flooring. These aspects are also ideal if you are considering getting a new puppy and house training becomes an issue.

• It is also recommended that buyers with pets take a look at the surrounds. Living on a street with high traffic volumes is not recommended. Cats, by their very nature, are inquisitive and may wander into the traffic. And no matter how careful you think you are, gates do get left open and even a well-behaved dog may be tempted to make a run for it.

• Inspect the fence/wall to ensure that it is fully secure.

• If you keep your pets inside, take a look at the amount of living space available. Is there enough room for them to run around and play without bumping into furniture?

• Inspect the swimming pool. Not all animals (including dogs) are necessarily good swimmers. We tend to be very aware of the dangers that a pool can pose for young children, but animals are also at risk. Ascertain how well your pet can swim. And do keep in mind that there are risks other than drowning that your pet could face if it falls into the water. We live in a warm climate, but water temperatures drop significantly during the winter months. There is a real danger of an animal dying of hypothermia if it falls into the pool during the colder months of the year. Check that the pool is fenced and inspect the structure to ensure that there are no gaps that the animal could squeeze through.

• Check out the neighbour's pets. Living next door to a couple of snarling Rottweilers may not be you or your pet's cup of tea. If the lure of the property is too strong and you want to buy it regardless, consider putting up additional fencing to ensure the animals are kept separate.

• For those with older pets, it may be wise to look at buying a single storey dwelling as stairs can prove problematic for geriatric animals.


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