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Apartment life: 11 Do’s and don’ts for your pets
How to keep your apartment pet and your landlord happy
Increasingly, apartment buildings are becoming pet friendly, but not without some rules. Adapting to apartment living and learning how to “play well with others” can make apartment life great for everyone. Apartment pets are often kept inside and have little opportunity to be outside exploring.
Apartment pets are also often left alone for many hours, making them sometimes anxious and restless. Adopting a few good habits can help your pet be happy in your apartment, whether you are home or not. While most of these “do’s and don’ts” are for cats or dogs, you can adapt them to whatever type of pet you have.
Following a few simple rules may also help you get more of your security deposit returned when you move.
11 Do’s and don’ts for apartment living pets
DO get your landlord’s approval before getting a new pet
Don’t bring a pet into your apartment without approval — no matter how cute they are! If the landlord discovers your pet, you may have to move or rehome that pet, which is heartbreaking for everyone. Make sure having your pet is approved in your lease agreement. If you want to add a pet after you move in, make sure to get approval and get that approval in writing before adopting a pet. If your pet of choice is an emotional support animal, make sure you understand your legal rights for living with your emotional support animal.
DON’T let messes sit and invest in good cleaning tools
Try to clean up any pet messes as quickly as possible before odors or stains set in. Removing stains from the carpet is especially important. You may be able to help control odors by laying out piddle pads for your dog or a mat under your cat’s litter box. If you can afford it, consider investing in a carpet cleaner. At the minimum, you’ll want to keep on hand carpet cleaner for pet stains.
DO provide self-guided activities for alone time
Restless or anxious animals often get themselves into trouble. Your dog may chew up your shoes. A cat may shred your toilet paper. No one likes to come home to these types of “surprises.” If you can provide your pet with toys and activities they can distract themselves with when you are gone, you may be able to save your things and the apartment from destruction.
DO supply them with fresh water
Even if your dog slobbers water all over the floor or your cat knocks over their water bowl every day, you still need to make sure they have fresh water while you are away. For your dog, place a mat under their water bowl to limit some of the mess. For your cat, purchase a pet water fountain or a bowl they cannot easily knock over.
DON’T lag on pet’s immunizations and healthcare
For your pet’s health and because your lease may require it, keep your pets up-to-date on their immunizations and check-ups. If they have a health issue, try to address it right away. Your vet may also be able to help you with behavioral issues as well.
DO get renter’s insurance to cover your pet’s liability
Most lease agreements require you to purchase renters insurance. Avoid just picking up a standard policy. Make sure your policy covers your pet’s actions. An insurance policy may be able to cover damage or injuries caused by your pet. Imagine the problems you’d have if your dog bit a child. Ouch. This insurance can help you with liability if something should ever happen.
DO address pet’s anxiety issues
Anxiety issues, especially in dogs, can result in your dog barking incessantly, your cat peeing on the carpet, or your dog chewing up furniture. These behaviors not only cause problems with your apartment, but they can also upset neighbors. Whatever issues your pet has needs to be addressed. You should also ensure they do not have underlying health issues that are exacerbating the problem.
DON’T let your pet disturb other tenants
Not everyone loves your buddy as much as you do. Your pet should not disturb other tenants. First, you need to clean up after it. Second, you need to control your pet. Your dog should not be sniffing bums in the elevator and your cat should not be making unwanted deposits in your neighbor’s plants. While it is difficult to impossible to “train” a cat, you can train your dog and keep the cat indoors.
DON’T slack in training your dog
As mentioned above, your dog should be trained by you or by a professional trainer. A behaved dog is not just better for apartment living. It is better for you too. Your dog should be leash trained, crate trained if applicable, and taught to defecate in inappropriate places. It should be taught not to be aggressive towards other dogs and humans, and it has to learn not to jump on others. If your dog is unruly, other tenants may submit complaints to your landlord and cause problems with your living situation.
DO protect window coverings
Ambitious felines easily conquer standard horizontal blinds striving for a window view. If you are renting your home, your options are limited, and again, usually cats cannot be trained. But you have options. You may be able to get the landlord’s permission to put up your own window coverings and safely store their blinds until you move. Or, you can completely raise the blinds out of reach and hang a washable curtain over your windows. Whatever solution you decide on, know that if your cat can get to the window, it will.
DO provide them with plenty of exercise
Most dog lovers know they need to walk their dog every day, if not multiple times per day. But did you know you can walk your cat too? Apartment cats, especially young cats, can act a little crazy if they don’t get exercise just like puppies. Many cat owners train their cats to use a leash and harness to help their cats get the exercise they need.
Pets help make your life enjoyable and make good apartment companions if they are healthy and trained well. Taking care of your pets helps you, your landlord and your neighbors get along while also keeping your apartment clean and damage-free.
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