Incredibly, you’ve managed to find yourself an apartment for rent that allows you to keep pets on the property. And since you’ve been longing for a fuzzy little companion to make your life complete, the option is now open to you. But whether you’ve lived with animals before or not, sharing an apartment space with a dog, cat, or other pet may be an entirely new experience for you, and it doesn’t come without its share of issues to contend with. However, you’re not the first apartment dweller to bring home a pet and you won’t be the last. So here are just a few helpful tips that will ensure you and your furry friend make the most of your living situation without suffering any ill effects.
The main problem, of course, is that most apartments offer no dedicated yard space to residents, which means that any pets you bring into your living space will lack the outdoor extension that allows them to run around freely in the fresh air and, well, go to the bathroom unfettered. This is further compounded by the problem of structural modifications – you won’t likely be allowed to install dog or cat doors. Of course, it wouldn’t really matter if the landlord did allow you to put in such doors since they would likely let your pets out into a hallway rather than an exterior space anyhow. The point is that your pets are more or less stuck indoors whenever you’re not home. So what can you do to keep them healthy and happy?
One thing you definitely can’t do is leave them on a balcony or deck. Exposing animals to the elements during your absence is often considered animal cruelty and it could result in harm to your pet as well as hefty fines from animal control. Many people opt to return home frequently to walk dogs so that they don’t make a mess in the house, and some seek out nearby dog parks where their pets can legally run around leash-free in order to ensure that they’re getting plenty of outdoor exercise. Others may hire professional dog-walkers or even neighborhood kids to come and walk their dogs if they can’t make it home themselves. As for cats, many that live in apartments are simply indoor pets, although some people find ways to let them come and go (via fire escape, for example). Some may even seek first floor apartments for rent to ensure that their kitties have access to the outdoors.
The other main issue for many pet owners living in apartment rentals is noise. There’s no denying that dogs (and even some cats) will voice their displeasure at being left alone all day, and with paper-thin walls in most apartments the neighbors may complain. The best option, if it is open to you, is to take your pet to work. But since most businesses frown on this disruptive activity you may also consider using background noise (TV, radio, etc.) to soothe your animal, buying a bark collar, or even debarking your pet (although most people find this practice as reprehensible as declawing a cat). The other choice is to get yourself a pet that is bred for containment, such as a reptile or rodent rather than a dog or cat, which will solve all of the aforementioned problems.