If you are an animal lover like me, you dread every day that you have to live without a pet. Moving away from home meant leaving my dog, my best friend, Charlie. But he is better off where he is, with a big house and his own yard (and our other best friend, dad). My average sized apartment with no yard is no place for him. But can I adopt another pet? There is a lot to consider about adopting a pet when you live in an apartment. For this article I am going to focus on cats and dogs because they are the extent of my knowledge…if you want a snake look elsewhere for advice please!
Is the place big enough for them to have a happy life?
Cat: Most cats are fine in an average sized apartment. Not a tiny studio, an average sized place. If there is space for them to run back and forth and to play, then they should be pretty happy. Just make sure they have access to windows to sit at!
Dog: Owning a dog and living in an apartment isn’t ideal. Thinking about adopting a Great Dane? NOT a good idea if you live in an 800 sq.ft. place. Smaller dogs are usually content in a large apartment. I know you think that lab puppy is adorable, and you would love to give him a home, but he is going to grow and gain another 60 pounds; so your apartment isn’t the best place for him. Be practical! There are breeds that will fit in your home and will be happy, and there are breeds that will not!
Do I have time to spend on the pet?
Cat: Cats are known to be low maintenance. You can leave them alone all day and they will be fine! But if you are going to do this, make sure to give them lots of love and attention when you get home. If you travel often and will be out of the apartment for days at a time, it is not fair to the animal so maybe adopting one isn’t a good idea right now.
Dog: Dogs on the other hand, require a lot of time! When you live in an apartment you most likely don’t have a doggy door that leads to a nice yard. Your dog is going to need to be walked multiple times a day. If you work full time and have nobody at home to take the dog out, then a dog is the wrong choice for you. If you are lazy and don’t want to leave your apartment more than once a day, don’t get a dog. If you love to be active and talk multiple walks a day, give a lonely dog in the shelter a loving home!
Can I afford it?
Pets are expensive. There are vet fees, food, toys, sometimes an added rent cost, and emergencies. But pets bring a lot of great things to the home, like love, companionship, and fun. They are worth the cost, but only if you have the funds. If you already can barely make rent and pay your car payment, you aren’t at a point in your life where you are ready to have a pet. Consider all of the costs that will add up when you bring your new fur baby home.
I am a college student who works three jobs. I do this so I can afford things that make me happy, like a pet. The majority of college students don’t work multiple jobs or have the money for a pet, but they see a cute dog and take it home. What happens to that dog? He ends up in my animal shelter months later, depressed and without a home. Now he’s too old to be a first choice for some families. Depressing right? I see this far too often.
If you aren’t sure you can afford a pet at this moment, but really want one, work hard and save up!
Do I have roommates that I need to ask first? Are they allergic?
Before you even go to the shelter to look, you need to be sure that your roommates are ok with you having a pet in the apartment. You can’t just come home with a puppy and expect them to be fine with it. A lot of times people will say no to a pet because of allergies. Pet allergies are very common now and you need to be considerate of your roommate’s health.
Does my lease allow me to have a pet?
Unfortunately, another reason that I often see animals come into the shelter is because their owners had them illegally and got caught. If your lease says no pets, then NO PETS. Please don’t adopt that precious kitten anyway. You will eventually get caught with him in the apartment and you will have to choose between getting evicted or giving up your cat. If your lease says no dogs over 50 lbs, make sure that puppy you are bringing home isn’t a large breed. He will grow, and you will end up in trouble with your landlord.
Am I getting this pet from a shelter?
Please, please, I beg you, do not buy a “designer breed” puppy that costs $900 from a pet store. Do you realize where these poor animals come from? They come from puppy mills. Don’t know what that means or why you should care? Google it. The more we buy these animals, the longer places like puppy mills will exist. There are plenty of loving animals at your local shelter to choose from. These animals are just as great, and just as beautiful. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money and you’ll be doing a great thing!
I hope that you all end up with the perfect furry friend!