Dog in apartment

Sure, it’s easier to have a dog if you have a big house with multiple doggy doors, electronic pet door, a great yard with lots of room to run, and even a fence so your pet can roam free.

But living in a small apartment in Chicago or a micro-apartment in New York City is another challenge, however, and if you do want a pet in your new 800 square foot place, there are some things you can do to make your new surroundings dog-friendly.

Pick the Right Dog

OK, if you already have a 185-pound Newfoundland, maybe you need to think about a townhouse with a nice yard. Otherwise, the important thing is to match your dog to your apartment or match your place to your dog. Contrary to what some think, some large dogs can work even in a high-rise apartment because some breeds are content just to hang out on the couch; some smaller dogs like terriers may be a bit hyper and need to go out more often.

Pick the Right Place

In some cities like Austin, TX, it’s difficult to find an apartment complex that does not take pets. It seems almost everyone in Austin has a dog, and in fact it’s one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. You may not be that lucky, so it’s necessary to properly vet your prospective new digs. Are there lots of pets? Is there a dog park nearby? Are there dedicated doggy areas already on site? Are the walls between apartments properly sound-insulated, so a few bad barking nights will not get you evicted?

Dog Proof Your Surroundings

When you are sure that you have found a pet-friendly apartment, ensure that you help your dog by not making cleaning supplies or people-food accessible. Think about dog proofing like you would childproofing and securely put away anything your pet should not get into. Also, check the outside for noxious weeds that could harm your dog.

Understand the Work

If you are getting a new apartment and a new pet at the same time, make sure you understand the amount of work you are committing to. Make a schedule for walking, bathing, feeding and vet visits. Be prepared for your dog to inform you that he or she needs to go out very early each day. On top of that, remember that all homes need traditional repairs, but those with dogs might need a bit more love and care.


Find a dog trainer that understands the needs of apartment dogs and sign up for the service. While there is plenty of information available about this online, a qualified professional can make both your pet’s and your lives a lot easier.

In addition to the things you do to make your apartment more pet-friendly, make sure you take a good look at your apartment lease. If you must put down an additional pet security deposit amount, understand what you have to do to get that back. And of course, realize that the deposit is not a kind of insurance against damages, because if your pet really makes a mess, you could have to pay for the problem and that could cost more than your regular security deposit plus the additional pet deposit dollars.

Hope this doesn’t scare you, as there are many successful apartment owners with pets. The happiest ones are organized and have carefully selected a pet-friendly complex. And they have matched the dog with their surroundings.

If your dog serves as a service, emotional support, or therapy dog, a service dog in training vests be an excellent purchase.