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Friday, January 8, 2021
Moving to New York City with Pets!

NYC is amazing! It’s full of the hustle and bustle of city life, great nightlife and out-there eateries. It’s also a fast-paced working environment. Whatever your reasons, moving to New York City would be a great adventure. However, if you’re thinking of moving there with your favourite pet, there are a few things to consider. It’s not as simple as just moving to a new house, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

The first thing you need to think about BEFORE you decide to make the move is your living space:

New York City Accommodation

If you’re moving from somewhere that has a ton of wide-open spaces, fields, woodland and sizeable houses, then both you and your pet might be in for a bit of a shock. New York City is made up mainly of apartment buildings. Although they’re a great size for a family, they won’t be the size that you’re used to if you previously lived on a farm, for example. If you come from Hong Kong or Asia however, you might find the size familiar.

You’ll need to consider how much space you’ll need to keep your pet comfortable and ensure you plan for this prior to the move. If you happen to have a small animal, such as a rabbit, guinea pig or even a reptile, you’ll have no problem with space. Cats should be fine too. However, a dog needs much more space to wander about during the day and they’re physically bigger anyway. You’ll need to ensure that your pooch has enough space in your apartment to be themselves. If not, city living might not be for you.

The Law

Make sure you check the terms of your building before signing a lease. Dog-friendly rentals that are large enough for a medium-sized dog (Collie or Labrador) are hard to come by, so you’ll need to start searching early and you may need to pay rent a few months in advance to secure the right place.

Lots of buildings won’t allow dogs over 50 lbs as barking can become an issue for neighbours and bigger dogs can do more damage. In these apartments, small animals might be fine, but if you happen to have a St Bernard – think again!

Some buildings won’t allow any pets of any sort at all. Seems harsh, I know, but they have their reasons and you need to respect those. Start searching early to make sure you get a place that’s all above board.

nyc dog streetscene

Outdoors

Next, you’ll need to think about what your pet is used to. Most apartments won’t have an outdoor space, or just a ridiculously small balcony. Sure, you can walk your dog in the park, so no big deal, but if you happen to have a rabbit that is used to going out on the grass, then you need to come up with a solution there. Taking your rabbit to the park isn’t going to work.

Think about ways that you could potentially secure your balcony to allow your pet to safely get a bit of fresh air, if it’s appropriate. You’ll also need to find a decent grass substitute if grass was previously a large part of your pet’s diet. They are some great dried grass pet foods out there.

Walkies

Again, we’re focussing on dogs here, unless you happen to have a ferret or maybe a tortoise that is used to several walks a day? If you’ve come from a house with a garden or any outdoor space, it will have been easy for you just to let them out during the day if they needed an impromptu toilet break.

However, if you live in a fourth-floor apartment, that’s not so easy. While you can teach cats, or even rabbits, to use a litter tray, dogs will need to be taken outside each and every time they need a quick pee. You need to be prepared to get up and go outside, even when you’re safely snuggled in for the night watching Netflix.

You also need to consider who’s going to go in during the day for walk them. If you’re moving to NYC, it’s safe to say that you’ll have a job that won’t allow you to come home every lunch time to take your dog out. Because dogs are pack animals, they need that company, it’s not fair to leave them on their own all day. And they will also have to answer nature’s call around lunchtime. You need to find someone that’s flexible enough to give your dog the attention they need. There are lots of doggy day-care options around NYC for this very reason, but places fill up fast, so make sure you secure your place ahead of time. If you have a cat, don’t worry about it, they might not even notice you were gone. We found this resource for doggy daycare, maybe you can check-it-out. https://www.expertise.com/ny/nyc/dog-daycares

Dollar Signs

We’ve left one of the most important things until last. Money. Can you actually afford to live in NYC with your pet? In New York, dogs still need to be licenced. It’s only a small cost (around US$9 per year) but it’s still a cost that you might not be used to. Then you need to consider the vet bills. A vet bill on average for a dog is around $591 dollars each time. Make sure you have insurance! And remember that, depending on where you’re moving from, your pooch may need to have several vaccinations before they’re allowed to live there, so that’s a huge bill to begin with. The average cost of owning a dog in NYC was around US$2600 in 2019 and those costs are rising all the time. Pull your budget together first so you’re not left high and dry.

NYC cat

To Summarise:

If you have a small pet or a cat, then moving to NYC shouldn’t be too much of an ordeal, as long as you find the right apartment that allows pets.

Dogs are a little more difficult. You need to find a building big enough, that allows dogs and also find a solution for their care during the day. Horses – out of the question!

Remember to plan ahead, ensure you can afford to move your pet and sort out their accommodation before you make the move.

Further reading:

Pet Relocation and Shipping to USA

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