You might think that having an apartment pet is impossible. What if the other residents don’t like animals?
If you love small pets but are concerned because you live in an apartment, read on for eight tips on how you can make your apartment pet friendly.
There are so many benefits to owning a small pet such as a cat or dog. Not only can they bring joy into your life, but they can also provide companionship when you need it most. Figuring out how to make apartment pet ownership a reality is so worth it!
Get Your Apartment Organized
It’s true that you won’t have the space as you would if you lived in a stand-alone house. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to keep a pet.
Too many pets end up in rescues and adoption facilities because their owners did not think ahead about the practicalities of pet ownership.
- Decide where your pet will live
- Will your pet have free range or is access restricted to a room(s)?
- Get stackable containers for pet supplies (one for food, toys, supplies, etc.)
- Is your pet allowed on furniture?
- Is your pet allowed in the bedroom(s)?
- Do you need a pet gate?
Determining a strategy for how you will share your space with your new friend is key to getting your pet ownership experience started successfully.
Landlords often develop anti-pet policies because of some negative past experiences from renters. If your apartment landlord allows pets, be a good steward of the opportunity and train your dog, cat, bird, etc. to maintain good relations with the owners and your neighbors.
If you are concerned noise might become a problem, consider some good apartment pets that are cuddly and less prone to barking, screeching, etc.
Considering adopting a small pet suitable for apartments. Among many others, cats are popular pets.
Make Your Apartment Smell Good
Smells can be powerful when it comes to the feelings that they trigger. If your place smells like dog or cat, people might not want to come into your home.
If you want to make your apartment a more pet-friendly place, then you might want to research and find out what deodorizer scents are the most effective.
Citrus, vanilla, and sandalwood scents can help to neutralize odors and reduce anxiety.
If you have pets, then you might have noticed just how bad they smell when they aren’t bathed. Bathing your pet is a fantastic way to make your place smell better.
When you are choosing a pet shampoo, make sure to avoid any that ingredients that are known to be irritants for the skin and eyes. Ask your veterinarian for specific recommendations.
Install a Pet Door
If you plan to have a dog or cat that will be going in and out of your home, you may want to install a pet door. Pet doors allow your pet to come and go as they please. They can fit in any doorway and will come with instructions on how to install them properly.
Of course, in most cases, pet doors should lead to a fenced in back-yard area and not the front of the apartment community near vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic. A pet door opening through the front door is an invitation for issues (dog bites, injuries to your pet, pet theft, lost cats, a wandering dog, etc.)
Most communities require that dogs remain leashed when outside your dwelling or fenced back yard. Check the ordinances in your local community to know certain.
Size the door appropriately to the size of your pet. A pet door for a poodle won’t fit one for a Labrador retriever whereas a door for Doberman pinscher is larger than you need for your little chihuahua.
Before you change out the door or cut holes in the existing door, discuss your plans with the rental agent or proprietor to obtain permission or brainstorm other solutions. Pet-friendly owners may allow you to install a pet door, whereas others might not.
Get a Litter Box
An apartment can be a suitable place for cats or rabbits to live. If you either one, then you will need a litter box. Litter boxes shouldn’t be in high-traffic areas where they will be in the way, and they shouldn’t smell.
You may choose to place the litter boxes outside on a screened in patio, which can be a great idea. Not only will this keep your home smelling fresh, but it will also give your cat fresh air and exercise.
When choosing a litter box, make sure to pick one that is large enough for your pet to move around comfortably in. It also shouldn’t be too deep, as this can make it more challenging to use the box.
It needs a removable lid, and ventilation is helpful. The ventilation helps with odor control and the lid must be removable for proper cleaning, preferably outdoors. Other options are a balcony, a utility sink (if available), or even a local car wash.
Select a cleaning agent that suppresses bacteria which cause odors, but that is safe for your apartment pet. Your local veterinarian is a reliable source of information for the best pet cleaning products.
Establish a schedule for litter box cleaning to keep it fresh and odor free. And remember, just because you can’t smell anything foul doesn’t mean your guests or residents in adjoining apartments won’t. A great test is to pay special attention to odors you experience after being away for several hours. If unpleasant odors exist, they will hit your olfactory senses immediately as you enter thru the front door.
Apartments often have poor ventilation, and the small spaces make it even more challenging for odor control. Open windows to allow odors to escape if any exist. During warmer months it’s nice to leave them open for longer periods, but in cooler months even shorter periods will help.
Pets enjoy fresh air too.
Add Some Soft Bedding
You can apply the same principle that you would if you were trying to make your home smell good for guests to make it more comfortable for your small apartment pet.
If I were a pet, what would I like?
If your apartment is cold, adding soft bedding (like blankets or pillows) can make your pet feel more at home.
Cats and dogs enjoy a bed area. You can buy a formal bed from a pet supply retailer or online source, but sometimes all you need is an old unused comforter, blanket, or quilt. Your animals will arrange it to suit themselves and make a cozy bed of their own tastes.
If you have any small rugs, these can also help too. When choosing bedding or pillows for your apartment, you will want to make sure that they are machine washable. This will make it much easier to clean when your apartment pet inevitably sheds on it.
Get a Steamer
If your apartment has hardwood or tile flooring, cleaning up after your pets becomes easy in most respects, but excess hair can become a real problem.
A dust mop with the removable dust pads to collect debris and pet hair works well. No matter how much you sweep or vacuum, hair will remain.
You can make cleaning your carpeted floors or area rugs a little easier by buying a small handheld steamer or carpet shampoo machine.
Using a steamer helps with hair clumps and stains so that they are easier to vacuum up.
If you have a large floor area, then a handheld steamer might not be enough. In this case, you might want to purchase a larger floor standing model with a brush attachment. The brush attachment will help you to clean more thoroughly. You will be able to make sure that there is no hair left behind.
Provide Enrichment Activities for Your Pet
Just like humans, apartment pets can experience mental health issues. If you notice that your pet is showing signs of anxiety like excessive barking, scratching, chewing, getting into trach cans, tearing up pillows, and other destructive behaviors, then you might want to research ways to help them feel better.
Enrich your pet’s life by providing them with play toys. When you are choosing toys for your pet, make sure that they are safe. Also, try to choose toys that encourage your pet to explore and play.
Pet toys help your pet stay busy and satisfied. Keep in mind that you will want to regularly clean and rotate your pet’s toys. This will help to prevent them from getting too gross.
Unclean pet toys can contribute to unwanted odors and create unhealthy conditions for you and your pet.
Talk to Your Landlord About Adding Pet Friendly Features
The property owner may be open to establishing a potty break area. If none currently exists, the proprietor might consider building one from topsoil, grass seed, landscaping, and regular maintenance. Again, before creating this area of your own near your apartment, discuss your proposal with the owner or management company.
Please don’t make your dog use potty pads as a long-term strategy. Most dogs are easily house trained with regular positive reinforcement and walks following any accidents.
A community-based dog walker for hire that provides services for all pet owners in the building is a great option. The landlord might want to offer this as an extra benefit to help attract residents for empty units. This is an especially good tip for apartment communities that cater to older adults or assisted living locations.
If you are entrepreneurial, consider providing this service yourself for extra income. Bathing, cleaning, play-time sessions, and pet sitting are other services you could also provide.
What if My Apartment Doesn’t Allow Dogs or Cats?
Many of the apartment policies against pet ownership apply to traditional pets like dogs and cats. But there are plenty of other possibilities for pets that will do well in an apartment. If you have your heart set on a pet, double check with your apartment manager to find out if the policy allows for other options.
Pets for apartments that don’t allow pets
- Domesticated Rats
Dogs and cats are wonderful pets that can provide companionship and affection to anyone who lives with them.
If you are looking to get an apartment pet but are worried about not having enough space, don’t be. If you follow the tips in this article, you will be able to make your apartment more pet friendly and you will provide a cheerful home for your furry friend.
- Plan and get organized
- Talk to your property owner about a pet door
- Understand the local ordinances and regulations
- Be considerate of your neighbors
- Control odors (get a litter box for cats and rabbits)
- Protect your pet from unnecessary risks
- Provide toys and comfortable bedding
- Provide walks and exercise opportunities
If you are not specifically interested in a pet dog or cat, read our other articles about options for small apartment pets and low maintenance pets that may do well in a small living space.