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Five Tips for Dog Owners Looking to Buy a Home in L.A.

Dogs are part of the family. So, when buying a home in a new neighborhood, you’ll definitely want to take your pet’s needs into consideration. Is the neighborhood safe? Are parks, pet stores and veterinary care easily accessible? You’d also be wise to know the area’s pet regulations and ordinances. To help you find the ideal home for you and your pup, U.S News & World Report gleaned advice from some of L.A.’s top real estate agents as identified by the real estate data company OpenHouse Realty. Here’s what they had to say.

Big dogs belong by the beach
Although there are no regulations mandating where owners of certain dogs may live, people who own big dogs generally like to live by the beach. Some recommendations include Long Beach for its access to Leo Carrillo State Park, as well as Redondo Beach for its pup-friendly shoreline.

Dog parks are a great way to meet your neighbors
Finding a neighborhood with a dog park not only is important for your pet’s health, but it also is a terrific way to connect with your neighbors. Among the most popular: Silver Lake Dog Park, next to the reservoir, with shade canopies and a separate section for smaller pooches, and Santa Monica Airport Park, a 4-acre park with an off-leash dog area and walking loop, along with Westminster Off-Leash Park in Venice and and Playa Vista Dog Park.

Ask about homeowner association policies
L.A. doesn’t have a uniform ordinance for homeowner associations, but most HOAs have some rules regarding pets. Many HOAs won’t allow dogs that weigh more than 50 pounds, and some will even limit you to a 35-pound dog. They also might limit you to just one pet, depending on the size and availability of outdoor facilities. Your HOA also might have specific areas where your dogs can roam free or must be on a leash.

Review city ordinances
L.A. County has its own rules and ordinances regarding pets. For example, all homeowners are limited to a total of three dogs in their residences. Dogs are required to be on a leash whenever they are off of your private property, unless they have a license. Regulations also require dog owners to carry bags for cleaning all dog waste off public streets. For details, visit the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control website at http://animalcare.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/acc.

Do what it takes to keep your dog happy and healthy
No matter which neighborhood you decide on for you and your pet, be sure to keep your animal safe from the elements. Provide plenty of shade and water if you plan on keeping your pet outdoors during the daytime. If you have a yard, consider installing fencing to help keep your animals from getting out and other animals (such as coyotes and mountain lions) from getting in. Additionally, the city of L.A. requires all dog owners to tag and license their pets, which helps shelters identify animals if they are lost. Before tagging, dogs must be spayed or neutered and receive a rabies vaccination. Owners pay a fee for a one- or three-year tag license, and dogs must wear their tags whenever they are off the owner’s property.