Finding the right apartment can be tricky enough, but when you factor a pet into the equation, it takes the pressure up a notch.
To make sure they’re as happy as possible you need to provide them with plenty of attention, a comfy, cozy space to call their own (that’s a heated dog house to you and me), and you want to make the actual move as stress-free as possible. After all, the last thing you want to do is give your pet any added anxiety.
Whether you’re a pet owner looking for a new place, or an apartment dweller looking for a furry friend, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
You might need to make a few concessions, but there’s no reason why your little buddy won’t be happy in your apartment. Just make sure you follow these simple ground rules.
DO Choose the Right Pet
When you see those little faces in the pet store window, it’s tough to control yourself. But take a step back and do some research.
Cats can be great apartment pets, but some dog breeds just aren’t cut out for life in a confined space. Smaller dogs like Whippets and Pomeranians will adjust more easily, though some larger breeds like Great Danes or Irish Wolfhounds are also suited to apartment life due to their lethargic temperament. Others, however, are likely to go stir-crazy! Fish also make great apartment pets and are much easier to care for than dogs and cats. Filling an aquarium with bristlenose plecos or other easy-to-care-for fish can is perfect for an apartment
DON’T Lie to Your Landlord
It can be difficult to find a pet-friendly apartment, sure. But sneaking a pet into your building is a bad idea for a number of reasons, including the fact that it could get you evicted.
If your lease has a clause prohibiting pets, talk to the agent or landlord. Sometimes, they may make an exception, or allow you to have a pet for an additional fee. Paying extra might seem a little steep, but it’s better than losing your security deposit.
DO Pet-Proof Your Apartment
Every day items can be death traps for tiny puppies and kittens, so make sure you explore every potential hazard: get down on the floor, check for gaps behind the refrigerator, look for loose wires that could be chewed, and research your houseplants—common plants can be toxic to some animals, and no one wants “death by cactus.”.
DON’T Neglect Your Furry Buddy
If you’re the type of person who works long hours, or travels interstate or overseas regularly, make sure you have enough time in your schedule to give your pet they love they need.
While there are plenty of fancy tech inventions that can keep your pet fed and watered while you’re away, like people, animals get depressed when left alone for long periods of time. Sad cats might be funny in memes, but healthy and happy is much better in real life.
DO Make Sure They Get Plenty of Exercise
Cats are relatively low-maintenance, but they can still get bored. (Try our tips to keep your cat entertained.) Dogs are a larger commitment. How much exercise your dog needs will depend on the breed and their personality, but as a general rule, you should make time to take your dog for two 15-minute walks each day.
(Tip for dogs. Invest in some interactive toys like a dog ball launcher).
DON’T Allow Your Pet to Make Unnecessary Noise
When you live in an apartment, it’s important to consider your neighbors.
While cats aren’t likely to be a problem, dogs can bark for a number of reasons. If they are barking to scare off an intruder, that’s a good thing. However, problems like separation anxiety, boredom, or loneliness can also cause them to cry out.
If you leave your dog alone while you go to work, make sure you give them plenty of exercise — a tired dog is a quiet dog. It’s also important to train your dog properly to obey commands, so you can easily stop them barking. The last thing you want is an eviction notice because Fido won’t shut up.
DO Establish a Bathroom Routine
Bathroom breaks for dogs are especially important, and establishing a routine can stop them from getting desperate and messing up your floor. Train them by taking them out at set times during the day or the evening.
Cats are generally fine with kitty litter, though it’s important to remember that they need privacy, so make sure you give them enough space to do their business.
DON’T Let Your Pet Make a Mess Around Your Apartment Block
It may seem obvious, but no one likes to tread in dog or cat poop. If your pet makes a mess on the street, or on the grounds of your apartment block, be sure to clean it up — it’s the neighborly thing to do.
DO Groom Your Pet Regularly
Washing your pet really comes down to how dirty they are. If you can smell them, then they probably need a bath! Grooming, however, should be done regularly. This includes brushing, ear cleaning, and nail clipping, and is especially important for longhaired animals — unless you like living inside a hairball, that is.
DON’T Allow Your Dog to Roam Your Apartment Block Unsupervised
While most people love dogs, not everyone wants to encounter a strange animal wandering around unsupervised. This is especially true if there are children in your block. Whenever you take your dog out of your apartment, make sure you use a lead, and only let them off in designated areas like dog parks.
In many areas, it’s illegal to let your cat outside. Even if you live in a city where it is legal, your apartment block may have specific restrictions for cats. In addition, there are many dangers involved in letting your cat roam free. In places like California, predatory animals like coyotes could attack them. Outside cats also have a higher risk of infection, hypothermia or trauma. If you’re worried that your cat is becoming bored or lazy, there are many toys and activity trees on the market to get them up off the couch.
For the most part, keeping a pet in your apartment is common sense. Just make sure you understand the legal obligations of your lease agreement, and be sensitive to the needs of your furry buddy, and you should be good.
Remember that keeping a pet is a big commitment — almost like having a baby! The pet you choose will likely be with you for the next decade, or perhaps even longer, so make sure you’re ready. While pets can demand a lot from you financially, emotionally, and physically, the love and loyalty they give in return is priceless.