One of the very few, if any, positive outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic is that pet ownership has increased. If you are looking for a furry, feathered, finned or scaly friend to keep you company during these tough times, keep reading. A pet can bring you untold joy, entertainment, comfort and unconditional love. However, they can be quite a bit of work and are a responsibility that can span many years. If you get off to a good start with your new best friend, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
First of all, check your lease and with your property manager to make sure that pets are allowed. Many apartment complexes require a pet deposit and a small monthly pet rent fee. This money goes toward covering any damages that the apartment sustains due to your pet. Pets can be destructive. Dogs, especially puppies, like to chew on anything and everything. Cats love to claw at the carpet. Not to mention that “accidents” are unavoidable, especially when house-training a young animal.
Once you have the green light to bring home a pet, do your research and ask your property manager if there are any breed restrictions. Some apartments and even city jurisdictions prohibit breeds that they deem “aggressive” such as pit bulls, Dobermans and Rottweilers. Whether you agree with that assessment or not, you need to abide by the rules in order to avoid eviction or city fines.
Some breeds of dogs and cats are better suited to apartment living. For dogs, temperament, as opposed to size, determines how well they will do. Some smaller breeds are conditioned to roam and hunt and need a lot of space to run around and burn off energy. On the other hand, some large dogs need only one or two walks a day and are perfectly content to laze around the rest of the time. Cats are a little easier, but unless you enjoy constantly vacuuming and brushing away pet hair, a short-haired breed would be a better fit in an apartment.
Once you’ve chosen your new pet, take it to a veterinarian for a thorough check-up and to get all vaccinations required to maintain its good heath and to meet local ordinances. For example, most cities require that all pets have an annual rabies vaccination. Your veterinarian is a good resource for potty training guidance and where to take your dog for obedience and socialization. Cats, being independent creatures won’t need that, but the vet can advise you on how to coax the cat to use its litter box and how to keep it from destroying your furniture.
Introduce your pet to your apartment carefully. Let them wander around and sniff and explore. While a dog will happily trail around after you, don’t be surprised if the cat makes a beeline to the bedroom and hides beneath the bed. Don’t worry. As soon as the cat gets hungry enough, it will venture out in search of food. Give your dog and cat special bowls for food and water. They will know that it is “their” place for eating and drinking and won’t be tempted to drag food into other rooms or beg from your plate when you’re eating.
If you apartment has a dog park (all Vision communities do), your dog is going to love it! Gradually introduce your new dog to the dog park and let it get to know its canine (and human) neighbors. When walking the dog around the apartment property, keep it on a leash at all times, unless the dog park if “off leash.” For a cat, keep it indoors, which means keeping it away from the balcony or patio. A lot of cat owners set up “catios” for their cats, which is an outdoor enclosure where the cat can enjoy being outside but is prevented from escaping.
Make sure your new dog or cat has its own bed and plenty of toys and treats. Of course, don’t be surprised if they decide they like your bed (with you in it!) better than their own. Having a pet can be a very rewarding experience and with some preparation and patience, you will have a lifelong friend who will keep you company through this challenging period and in brighter days in the future.
At Vision Communities, our facilities are designed for the whole family, including pets. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment as needs arise. With apartment communities near Clintonville, Downtown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.