The Six Ways to Create a Pet-Friendly Apartment

Being a pet owner is one of the small luxuries in life. What is not one of those luxuries is finding an apartment and preparing it so your animal will have a safe and enjoyable time. However, though it may seem like a daunting task, creating a pet-friendly apartment is relatively straight-forward.

Whether you live in a luxury Chicago apartment where rent prices are on the rise; or micro-apartment in New York City, with these six steps, you’ll have an amazing apartment that you, and your pet, will enjoy.

Before buying a pet or signing a lease, make sure that the place you are looking at renting, first off, has a pet policy, and also that their policy is compliant with the kind of pet you want or have. Not all pet policies were created equal. Pet policies can be exclusive and include multiple fees of all kinds. Common occurrences in pet policies include breed restrictions, weight limits, non-refundable and refundable fees and deposits, and monthly rent rates. Breeds that are commonly restricted in apartments are usually done so because of their aggressive nature; becoming familiar with these breeds and selecting your pet wisely will result in a smoother experience finding a pet-friendly apartment. Additionally, do some research ahead of time to find pets that are most suitable for apartment living, and cross-reference them with the restricted breeds list. More often than not the breeds which are best for apartments are smaller dogs and cats with softer personalities.

Scan the Area

After viewing the pet policy and confirming that your pet can accompany you in the apartment, it’s time to look at the surrounding area for pet-related points of interest. Things to think about are whether there are pet stores or veterinary clinics in the town or within driving distance. It may be an unpleasant thought, but if something were to happen to your pet, having some sort of facility nearby that can offer help will be a major convenience and provide ease of mind. Additionally, depending on the personality and tendencies of your pet, you may want to note whether there is a pet park or nature center that allows pets near you. The mental and physical state of the pet may be greatly improved if there is somewhere for them to walk and get fresh air nearby. A great amenity that some apartments offer is a pet park or grooming area on-site; apartment sites will usually have their pet park or grooming area listed under their amenities page.

Choosing Your Unit

A small but important thing to ask your apartment complex is if you can choose specific units. In larger apartment complexes with multiple floors and units on each floor, if the opportunity presents itself, try and get a ground floor unit. If your pet is either still being potty trained or never seems to learn, having a floor unit can help prevent, or at least minimize, the damage done by your pet. If you don’t have the chance to get a ground floor unit, try and get a unit with a balcony or patio on it. There are a few tricks to use in your home, including making your own patio square which can be used as a bathroom for your pet.


No matter how well trained it may be, in times of stress because its in a new place, your pet will have the need to “mark” their territory within the household. If and when this happens, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to spend a ton of money on repairs or new furniture; that’s why if you have a pet, it is in your best interest to get furniture that is either pet friendly, or has minimal value. Leather couches or chairs with wooden posts often get damaged very quickly from claws or being chewed on. Fabric couches are a good alternative to leather, and can even be pet friendly. If the destructive patterns continue, invest in a kennel or baby gates to block off certain areas.

The most important part of having a pet-friendly apartment is making sure that your furry friend is safe and in a controlled area. Cats and dogs get into all sorts of trouble that sometimes seems impossible to happen. However, by following a few steps, the likelihood of having your pet get into mischief will decrease greatly.
First, try to minimize or eliminate anything in the apartment you know that could hurt your pet. Examples include plants which aren’t good for dogs or cats to nibble on, or leaving out food on the counter they could get into. A good rule-of-thumb is if you are not sure if it’s bad for your pet, put it away or get rid of it; after all, it’s probably cheaper than a vet visit. You also can try to distract your pet by having ample toys for them to play with. A low rising basket full of toys, or leaving them sprawled out, will give the pets something to do while you are gone.

Be Neighborly

The last part of having a pet-friendly apartment is making sure that you and your pet, are friendly to your neighbors. Not everyone who lives in a pet-friendly apartment complex is completely comfortable with pets. To combat this, make sure that your dog or cat is used to seeing people often, whether in the hallways or outside. If they growl or bark at other residents, it may make them uncomfortable and potentially inform your landlord. Additionally, if passersby ask to see or touch your pet, give them a heads-up if they should be cautious, or happily agree. By building positive relationships with your neighbors, not only will they become more comfortable with you, but your pet will get used to them, making their lives easier and less stressful, leading to an overall great experience.

When looking for a pet-friendly apartment, there are definitely a few tips you can follow to ensure you find the right place for you and your furry friend.

  1. Give yourself enough time
  2. Understanding the concerns landlords have when allowing pets
  3. Use your available resources to find pet-friendly listings
  4. Recognize that some properties have strict no-pet policies
  5. Prove that your pet is suited for apartment life
  6. Request to view pet-friendly units
  7. Explain your history in living with pets
  8. Point out the cleanliness of your pet
  9. Promote yourself as a responsible owner
  10. Promote your pet as a worthy roommate
  11. Get signed permission if your landlord agrees to allow pets
  12. Do NOT try to sneak your pet into your apartment

Follow these tips and you’ll be living in your new apartment with your pet in no time!

About the Author

Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO Apartments, an apartment marketplace website that makes apartment hunting easier for people all across the country. Check out their available apartments in Chicago, IL and follow along on Twitter at @ABODOapts.

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