It’s a dogs’ life… house hunting with your furry friends

Many homes are being purchased in and around West Sussex with a new love in mind; a dog. With plenty of walks to enjoy in the south downs, along the Chichester coastline and everywhere in between, it’s of no surprise that many of my clients over the last year have been keeping their four legged friends in mind when searching for their dream country abode.

Statistics state that in 2020/21 there were 12million dogs living in the UK, with 3.2million households purchasing some form of pet since the start of the pandemic.

However, if you’re thinking about moving this year with your beloved dogs, there are a few things to think about on your property search…

As a dog owner myself to labradors, I know that dogs love to find an escape route from the garden, so fencing all the way around is an absolute must. This is especially true if the land backs onto a farm as you need to prevent your dogs from chasing livestock.

Pools and ponds may be great fun for family and friends, but for dogs they can be very dangerous. You’ll need to invest in some form of fencing to keep them safe if there isn’t already something in place, especially if there is a pool cover. I’ve seen this done really nicely with picket fencing for example, but if you have small children too, this acts as a safety net for them as well.

The desire for utility rooms has shot to the top of the list for dog owners over the last couple of years. They have become essential for washing off the salty sea from one of the local beaches or mud in winter, as well as drying. One buyer for example asked me to find a house that had a dog room and a downstairs shower, but I’ve seen utility rooms with all kinds of cool dog stations and salons within them.

Avoid being on a main road or any busy road, just in case your dog decides to dash out of your front door.

Whilst we are very lucky to have some lovely beaches on our doorstep for dogs to run and enjoy the sea air, some do have seasonal restrictions. Most of the beach websites do have their rules listed on there to check, but between May to September for example, dogs are allowed on West Wittering outside of groynes 14A-18 (the area between the beach huts roughly). Whilst at Church Norton, another stunning coastal spot, dogs can be off the lead but they may need to be on for a short while due to the nature reserve.

On local walks, be sure to keep an eye out for livestock if you’re crossing farmers’ land. There are some great routes around this area to include Itchenor, Birdham, Halnaker Windmill Trail and Kingsley Vale.

Research which villages and local towns have a good dog community. Many have their own Facebook community pages which are very useful sources of information. For example, you can use these to ask for vet, groomer and pet sitter suggestions, or make people aware your dog has escaped so that the local community can keep an eye out and report back any sightings. If there’s a pub, café or restaurant, find out if dogs are allowed inside, and enquire about the local walks. I’ve even been asked if there is a dog show at the local village fete quite a few times. The Kennels at Goodwood have even started their own dog event now!

Owning a dog is definitely a way of life, and they have long been established as being our loyal best friends. From helping your homes feel more secure and allowing you to socialise with other canine friends on walks, to greeting you with their waggy tails as you walk through the front door, dogs can really help boost your mood dramatically whilst encouraging a healthy fitness routine too. It’s therefore no wonder that buyers are making them a priority when searching for their dream country house in West Sussex. For more information about how Director Jennie Hancock can help you with your search, phone +44 (0)7776452128 or e-mail