Renting With a Dog: The Ultimate Guide (2019 Updates)

Dog ownership and city living might not always be the easiest match, but with the right approach, you don’t have to give up on keeping a furry friend. 

By being considerate of the needs of your landlord, neighbors and of course, your dog, you can definitely find an apartment that’s perfect for you and your pooch. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a host of things to consider first…

So before you start property-hunting, here’s our complete guide to renting with a dog, from finding a pet-friendly landlord and choosing the right apartment for your pooch, to discovering the dog breeds best suited to apartment living…

Find a pet-friendly landlord

Despite some recent reforms in tenancy regulations that make things easier for pet owners, tenants still need permission from their landlords in order to keep animals. 

Even with permission, there may be some additional rules to follow: in some states, you may be charged a separate pet bond, and in other states, you may be in breach of your lease if your dog is too loud or causes a nuisance.

Keep in mind that apartments, unlike houses, will most likely be governed by certain rules. So even if the owner or landlord has no problem with pets, they may be prohibited in the apartment complex.

With that being said, it’s always worth asking your landlord if pets are permitted, even if the apartment is not specified as pet-friendly.

Choose the right apartment 

So, you’ve found an apartment that’s pet-friendly and suits your needs? 

Don’t sign the lease before considering if it’s the right fit for your dog.

Dogs need access to natural light and fresh air, especially if they are inside all day. You may want to check if windows can be opened for ventilation without being an escape risk for your dog. Climate control should also be taken into account; apartments that get too hot can be a health hazard for four-legged friends, who are susceptible to heatstroke and hypothermia.

Access to the apartment is also important, as stairs can cause problems for some of our canine companions. If you have a small dog or a dog with health problems, such as dog arthritis, try looking for a ground floor flat or a building with a lift.

Choose the right dog 

Size isn’t everything when it comes to choosing the right dog —the behavior of a breed, or an individual dog, is just as important.

Apartment dwellers may think they have to rule out large breeds, but some of the bigger dogs can be very low energy and ideal for small spaces. 

Likewise, just because a dog is small doesn’t mean it is suitable for apartment living. Small dogs can be very high energy, prone to constant barking, or distressed when left alone for long periods of time.

You should take into account not just the amount of space you have, but what kind of lifestyle you lead and how much time you can spend with your dog. Regardless of the breed, make sure you can provide your furry friend with enough exercise and affection to keep it healthy and happy.

8 Dog Breeds Suitable for Apartment Living

  • Pugs

Pugs tend not to be as high-energy as other dogs of their size and are content to spend their time lounging. Combined with their short coat, cleanliness and friendly disposition, they’re a top pick for flats and small houses.

  • Boston Terrier

The Boston can be an ideal pet for an owner that wants a friendly, playful companion. Their cleanliness and low-maintenance coat make them good choices for apartments, provided they get enough exercise.

  • French Bulldog

Frenchies are highly intelligent pets with a non-aggressive nature that makes them suited to indoor living. However, they do require lots of human interaction and are prone to heat stress in warm weather. 

  • Mastiff

A prime example of a medium-sized dog that works in a small space, Mastiffs are mellow, docile pets. As long as they have the chance to exercise and spend time with their owners, they are happy without a garden or yard.

  • Shih-Tzu

Developed as a companion dog, this toy breed is the obvious choice for an indoor pet. They would rather be sitting on your lap than sprinting but should be given regular walks to keep them fit. Regular grooming is a must.

  • Dachshund

Although sausage dogs or dachshunds were originally bred for sport, they adapt well to apartment living. They are particularly fond of food, so regular exercise is vital.

  • Miniature/Toy Poodle

If you don’t spend extended periods of time away from home, the smaller of these breeds could be a good fit for you. They are highly intelligent and can be easily trained, but become anxious if left alone.

  • Greyhound

Despite their speed and size, greyhounds can make excellent flatmates. They are sprinters by nature, so as long as they are allowed some high-intensity exercise each day, they are content to spend the rest of their time lazing. 

Keeping your dog happy 

  • Exercise

Even small dogs and lazy dogs need exercise. As well as giving their legs a stretch and the chance to burn off some energy, taking your dog outside will give them fresh air, time to socialize, and lots of new things to smell. If you spend long hours at work or away from home, consider hiring a dog walker to get your pooch out and about during the day.

  • Entertainment

Long periods spent alone are a recipe for boredom. Providing a rotating range of dog toys, particularly food releasing or flavored toys, can help keep your four-legged friend entertained while you’re away. As well as keeping your dog happy, making sure they have plenty of distractions to prevent unwanted behavior such as barking or chewing furniture.

  • A place to pee

Dogs generally need to empty their bladders every 6-8 hours, which is less time than most owners are out at work. 

Although dogs can ‘hold it in’ for up to 10 hours, they should not be expected to. If your dog doesn’t have access to an outdoor area while you are away from home, make sure you provide them with a toilet option, such as a pee mat. Or, though not recommended, if you’re leaving your dog in a crate while at work for training purposes, don’t leave them for more than three or four hours at a time as they can’t control their bladders for that long.control their bladders for that long. In case you have a large dog breed, you want to check out this article about the best large dog crates available at the moment. If you’re leaving your cat at home for long periods too, it may be worth investing in a self-cleaning cat litter box.

  • Make time for your dog

Don’t forget that humans are a dog’s best friend! Work and social commitments might threaten to eat into your time, but remember your dog relies on you for its daily needs. Making time for plenty of play and cuddles with your dog will make for a happier pet and a happier owner. It also means your dog is more likely to spend time sleeping when you are away from home.

  • Consider your neighbors 

Last but not least, remember that apartment living is community living. Neighbors are much closer in apartments than in detached houses and are more likely to be affected if your dog is noisy or disruptive.