If you’ve been stuck renting, the chance to get your own little fur ball can be one of the most exciting things about moving into your very own condo. But before you head to the pet store, it’s important to take an honest look at what you really want in a pet. When you carefully choose a pet to match your personality and living situation, you create a better environment for everyone.
Our tips should help you get started.
Check Out the Condo Bylaws
While most new developments allow pets, you should still take a look at the bylaws before you make a commitment. For instance, some places may restrict the size of fish tanks because they can cause water damage if they break. Other places might allow dogs but have size limits. You don’t want to get a new animal only to find out your choice was against the rules.
Consider Different Pets
Dogs and cats are popular but they also require some work. Some people prefer to start with something a bit smaller. A hamster is cuddly and they're fun to watch. A tropical fish tank is like a moving work of art. You might eventually go on to choose a dog or a cat, but at least you’ve considered all of your options.
Look at Various Breeds
Once you’ve decided on a type of animal, look at the different types of breeds. When it comes to cats, you’ll first want to decide whether you want a long- or short-haired as some breeds shed more than others. Some breeds are also more prone to health problems. For instance, people are often attracted to the smooshed faces of Persian cats, but those cute little noses can cause breathing problems.
With dogs, some breeds are more active than others and some have friendly personalities while others are more skittish. Surprisingly, a lot of long-haired dogs like poodles and terriers don’t shed but the catch is you need to take them to a groomer on a regular basis. Short-haired dogs shed but don’t require excessive grooming.
Match Your Pet to Your Lifestyle
It’s also important to find a pet that fits your lifestyle. For example, active dog breeds don’t work well for people who work long hours, but they may be the perfect choice if you're retired or work from home and want a bit of company. If you travel frequently, you’ll need to find a place to board your pet or have someone come to your place to take care of it. You’ll need a pet that’s comfortable around strangers. The Animal Planet's dog breed selector is a good way to find a breed of dog that works well with your lifestyle. Pet stores may also have good suggestions if you’re looking at animals other than dogs.
Take Your Time
While it’s tempting to go to a shelter and take home the first animal that gives you a sad look, remember they might not be the right fit for you. A pet is a long-term commitment and you want to be sure you’ve found an animal that’s a good match. If you’ve longed for a pet to curl up with while you read a book or watch a movie, you won’t be happy with a skittish animal that hides whenever people are around. Try to get to know the personality of the animal before you adopt.
Make Your Condo Pet-Friendly
Think about how your pet will interact in the space. Where can you put the litter box so it doesn’t smell? Where can you place food dishes without making a mess? Cats like to scratch, so you’ll want some scratching posts so that your furniture isn't a target. If you’ll be gone all day, you might want to train your dog to do his business on a “pee pad.” Some even have fake grass. You’ll also want to be sure your pet can’t jump out of a window or off the balcony. You want them to be safe.
Get Familiar with Local Pet-Friendly Spaces
As a new pet owner, you’ll have opportunities to interact with other local animal lovers. Look for dog parks, green spaces and trails located near your development so you can meet up with others. Some stores, organizations and even restaurants have pet-friendly events where you’re encouraged to bring your animal along. These are fun ways to get out and enjoy life with your new pet.
While having a pet is always rewarding, the experience is best when you’ve made a carefully thought-out decision. Don’t be afraid to do some research and think through all of your options before making a selection.