John Dabbs, broker associate at KL Realty with his two golden retrievers.

Karen Libin, KL Realty

Karen Libin, KL Realty

Coloradoans really love their dogs. Go on one of our many wonderful hiking trails any weekend and you would think having a dog or two is a requirement for living in Boulder County. We don’t just have dogs we are their “guardians”. We want the best for them, including where they live. Here’s what you should consider for your four-legged companions when buying a home.

Rules and regulations
Condo developments and HOAs often have rules and regulations concerning pets: not only if they are allowed but what kinds and how many. Don’t assume since you see a dog in a complex that they are allowed. Some condo developments allow them only certain units, such as ground floor or end units.

Barking considerations
How much does your dog bark? In Boulder County this is pretty much not tolerated anywhere in close quarters with other residents, and is legally enforced. If your dog is a barker, look for a place with lots of outdoor space, and check out the attitude of nearby residents before making an offer.

Home floor plan and safety
Your dog may be young now, but it will age (which usually feels like way too quickly!) and stairs often become an issue. Single story homes and/or ones that have a master on the first floor are preferable. If stairs are required to enter the home, is there room for a ramp if needed in the future? Also a consideration is if the home is big enough for the adult size of your dog: Can you pass each other in the hallway without banging into each other? Will your dog be under foot in a galley kitchen? Safety is also a concern: Is your dog a scratcher? If so, keep in mind residences built prior to 1978 may contain dangerous lead paint or asbestos. Your Realtor can help you find a professional who can test for this before you purchase a property.

Home flooring
The type of flooring is a health and safety issue for the dog, and an aesthetic and cleanliness consideration for you. Carpeting is easy on a dog, actually preferable on stairs, but can get pretty gnarly with the wear and tear (and odor) of a dog. It may be out of fashion, but good old vinyl is a good choice. Concrete and tile flooring can be hard on some dogs, and can even cause a torn meniscus. Soft hardwood is a decent option, but know that after years of wear you will need to refinish it. If you’re redoing flooring before you move in and are choosing a hardwood, go for a “distressed” finish that your dog can simply add to!

Fencing and outside safety
It’s no surprise that good fencing is important to dog owners. Most HOAs have regulations governing fencing, so pay attention to this detail before buying. But fencing isn’t only to keep your dog in; it’s also to keep other animals out. Keep in mind that your proximity to green or open spaces increases the risk of interactions with raccoons, coyotes, mountain lions and bears. Another thought: What happens is your dog gets out of the yard? Are there dangerously busy roads nearby? Is it the type of neighborhood where a friendly neighbor would bring back your dog or would they immediately summon Animal Control?

Walking and off-leash opportunities
If you’re not buying a home with a big yard it’s nice to live in a walking-friendly neighborhood, especially those with alleys

Nearby dog parks may also seem attractive, but know they often contain dogs with flus, kennel coughs, or aggressive natures. Research nearby trail systems and see which allow off-leash opportunities.

Nearby vet and kennels
Proximity to a good vet and kennel will make your life easier in the long run. And you will appreciate this even more in the case of an emergency situation, which every dog seems to get in now and again!

By Karen Libin. Karen is the owner and managing broker of KL Realty, and has more than 29 years of experience in the Boulder County real estate market. Contact Karen at KL Realty, call 303.444.3177, e-mail [email protected] or visit