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Home vs. Apartment Pets

By: Ranny Green

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When it comes to apartment and condominium living, pet-ownership options are limited. In fact, with some there are no choices - pets simply aren't allowed. Here are some tips for how to choose the right pet for the right place:

You Rent an Apartment

Your right to a dog or cat in a high-rise building is typically governed by your pet's size, species and sound level. With dogs, 20 to 25 pounds is usually the limit. Cats, however, generally don't pose any problems. Unlike their canine counterparts, who require at least two to three daily outdoor trips to relieve themselves, cats are happily self-sufficient indoors with a clean litter box. They usually don't pose a noise problem, either.

Check the By-laws

If you're considering a new pet and plan to live in an apartment or condominium, check the bylaws carefully beforehand. An oral OK by the manager isn't good enough. If you have a dog, get it in writing that your dog (his name should be cited) and size (weight) will be permitted to reside in the building providing he meets the noise and cleanliness regulations.

If you're renting, you can usually expect to pay a hefty damage deposit.
If you're adopting a shelter dog, many facilities will require you to show written proof of apartment- or condo-management acceptance of the animal before they'll release the animal to you.

The Great Outdoors

Small dogs, and even medium to larger geriatric dogs, are perfectly content within the confines of apartments and condominiums if properly exercised. In some cases, this means hiring a daytime pet walker when you're at work. When searching for a building, a nearby park or open space should be high on your priority list.

When you consider the facts, owning a pet becomes a matter of priorities and lifestyle for apartment and condo dwellers. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have the time to exercise him?

  • Are you willing to take him out in inclement weather two to three times a day?

  • Will you scoop up his poop each time out?

  • Do you have the money to pay a daytime pet walker while you're at work?

    If You Own a Home

    A home obviously opens up more options for you than an apartment or condominium: a yard for your dog to relieve himself in, the prospect of owning a larger pet. The chief limitation with pets in a house becomes size - your pet's and your dwelling's. Small breeds will adapt readily to homes of 800 to 1,000 square feet with small yards. Place a large breed in that scenario, though, and your pet may become frustrated due to lack of space. Dogs need room to grow and romp. They also need their privacy, and this is why many pets find crates delightful.

    Once he's housebroken and doesn't suffer from separation anxiety, he should be part of the family and given full roam of the house. He's not going to protect your house on a chain in the backyard nor will he bond as quickly to family members when he's separated from them for 10 to 12 hours a day.

    Homeowners aren't the only ones with pet advantages over those living in high-rises. In a house, avian fanciers usually have their choice of birds – numbers and sizes. But apartments and condominiums have restrictions on the numbers and sizes of birds due to the noise potential.

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