National Dog Month: How to Find the Right Pet for You and Your Apartment

by Patrick Freeze  8/24/2022

August is National Dog Month! If you have a dog or other pet, you know how important it is to find a rental that accepts pets. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a pet to live in your new rental home, there are a few things to consider. Read along as we go over how to find the right pet for you and how to pet-proof your apartment. 


7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Pet

Getting a pet isn’t a small decision. Pets need lots of care, love, and training, so it’s important to put time and effort into your pet. If you’re wondering how to find the right pet for you, here are a few questions you should ask yourself first

  1. Can You Afford a Pet? 
  2. Are You at Home Enough?
  3. Do You or Your Roommate Have Allergies?
  4. Is Your Rental Home Big Enough?
  5. Are You Willing to Pay for Damages?
  6. Do You Have Potential Pet Sitters?
  7. Why Do You Want a Pet?

Can You Afford a Pet?

Pets aren’t cheap. You must pay for food, toys, vet visits, and other pet accessories on top of your rent and apartment pet fees. As such, it’s crucial to evaluate your finances before getting a pet thoroughly. First, add up all of your current expenses and potential pet expenses. If you can afford to pay for both, you’re in a good position to get a pet. 

Are You at Home Enough? 

Some pets require potty training, so you must be at home enough to train them. In addition, when pets are young, they need a lot of care and attention as they learn and adapt to their new environment. If you’re not home enough, your pet may not get the attention they need when they’re young. As a result, you could endure pet damages or messes in your apartment while you’re gone. 

Do You or Your Roommate Have Allergies?

Before you get a pet, make sure you or your roommate(s) don’t have any allergies to pet fur or dander. This could determine what type of pet you get or if it’s feasible to get a pet at all. After all, if one of your roommates is allergic to dogs, you don’t want to get a dog anyway and cause them to be uncomfortable.


Is Your Rental Home Big Enough?

Even if your apartment allows pets, it’s important to evaluate how much space you have. Dogs and cats need enough space to run around and explore. If you’re in a small apartment with little space for your dog to run around, they could feel restricted or lack the necessary exercise. So before getting a pet, look at how much space you’re working with.

Are You Willing to Pay for Damages?

Some pets, like dogs and cats, can cause damage no matter how well they’re trained. Whether they scratch the flooring or have an accident on the carpet, you must be prepared to forfeit your security deposit or pay for potential damages. Additionally, you may have to replace or deep clean your furniture more often if your pets make messes or scratch the upholstery. 

Do You Have Potential Pet Sitters?

Before getting a pet, you must consider what you’ll do if you go on vacation. Depending on your pet type, you’re not always able to take your pet with you. So, it’s important to have potential pet sitters lined up that can help watch your pet while you’re away. If you can’t find a friend or family member to watch your pet, you may have to board them, which will cost extra money. 

Why Do You Want a Pet?

Finally, ask yourself why you want a pet. If you just want to show off a furry friend on social media, you may want to think twice about the responsibility of owning a pet. On the other hand, if you’re looking for unconditional love from a faithful companion, a pet could be right for you. Before getting a pet, think about what you’re looking to get out of the relationship. 

How to Find the Right Pet for You

Wondering how to find the right pet for you and your lifestyle? Here are some of the most common pet types and how to determine if they’d work for you. 

  • Dogs- If you have a lot of time on your hands and want a long-term faithful companion, dogs are a great option. However, dogs require a lot of training and care, so be prepared to spend your time and money on your furry friend. 


  • Cats- Cats are generally low-maintenance and don’t require much training. They’re notoriously independent and can entertain themselves while you’re gone at work. 
  • Birds- Some birds make great pets, like parakeets or canaries, but they’re often noisy and may not be accepted at some apartments. 
  • Exotic Pets- If you want a pet that’s a little outside the box, you may consider getting an exotic pet like a hedgehog, chinchilla, sugar glider, or iguana. Keep in mind that these animals require special care, so you have to do research and be willing to properly care for them. 
  • Reptiles- Reptiles like lizards, snakes, or turtles can be an option if you want to adhere to their unique environment, diet, and care requirements. 
  • Small Animals- Small animals like hamsters, bunnies, or rodents require a lot of care and special diets, but they can be excellent companions if you want a smaller furry friend. 
  • Fish- If you want an extremely low-maintenance species in your rental, consider getting a fish. They’re entertaining, low-maintenance, and won’t break the bank. 

Once you’ve done the research and know how to find the right pet for you, it’s time to consider pet-proofing your living space. Here’s what you need to consider. 

How to Prepare and Pet-proof Your Apartment

No matter what type of pet you decide on, you’ll likely have to prepare and pet-proof your apartment. Here’s how to make your living space pet-friendly


  • Keep your trash covered at all times. 
  • Store cleaning supplies and chemicals in closed cabinets.
  • Ensure all food is put away in the fridge or pantry. 
  • Clear countertops of sharp objects to ensure your cats or small animals don’t get hurt. 


  • Store clothes and shoes away to keep your pets from damaging them. 
  • Keep dirty laundry in a clothes basket instead of on the floor.
  • Ensure there’s nothing under your bed that your pet could chew up or choke on. 

Living Room

  • Keep phone chargers or television wires out of reach.
  • Ensure your coffee table or end tables are free of items your pet could chew. 
  • Keep house plants high, so your pets don’t eat them or the soil and get sick. 


  • Keep the toilet lid closed to stop your pets from ingesting chemicals or dirty water. 
  • Ensure cleaning supplies and medications are stored correctly.
  • Keep razors, makeup, and hair supplies out of reach.
  • Tuck in your shower curtain to avoid scratches or damage.

What Does a Pet Deposit Cover?


When you have pets in your apartment or rental home, you must consider the potential damages they may cause. Generally, you’ll pay a pet deposit before moving in with your pet. This deposit covers any damages caused by your pet during your lease. If your pet doesn’t cause any damages throughout the entirety of your lease, then you get your deposit back. 

On the other hand, if your landlord charges a pet fee, it’s generally non-refundable. A pet fee doesn’t have any benefit for tenants. Instead, it allows landlords to feel more comfortable taking the risk of allowing pets. If you’re wondering how you can protect your rentals from pet damages, property management services in Northern Virginia can help. 

Protect Your Rentals From Pet Damages

If you want to ensure your rental properties are safe from pet damages, it’s important to implement a strong lease agreement and include pet rent, fees, or deposits for pet owners. Hiring professional property management can also ensure your properties are taken care of up to your standards.

Professional Property Management in Northern Virginia can help you maintain your rentals for peace of mind. PPM takes care of the communication with tenants, maintenance requests, home inspections, legal compliance, and more. Contact us today if you’re looking for a top-notch property management team.  

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