If you live in a smaller space like an apartment, condominium or tiny home, you may find yourself wondering if you can even have a pet. Good news – apartment living does NOT necessarily mean living pet free. Today we’re going to help you find the best pet for apartment living and your lifestyle!
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There are many benefits to sharing your life with a pet.
According to an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a pet has been shown to have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mental health, and more!
However, living in a smaller space means that you must consider some limitations on the pets that you can realistically add to your family.
With limited space, little to no yard, nearby neighbours, the risk of damage to a space that you don’t own and tenancy restrictions to consider, the search for a ‘perfect pet’ can be overwhelming!
Review Your Lease & Check Local Regulations
Before we even get started, you need to do some initial research…
Pull out your lease and read through the restrictions that you agreed to upon signing.
Restrictions are often put in place for very valid reasons – concerns about damage, allergies, and more.
If you have a good relationship with your landlord, there may be some room for negotiation, but first you need to know what you’re working with!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
In addition to understanding the terms of your tenancy, you may also need to dig into local regulations regarding the ownership of specific pets.
Some of the pets on this list are considered ‘exotic’ and may be banned in certain areas of the world.
Always do your due diligence BEFORE going out and committing to care for a pet.
What Is the Best Pet for Apartment Living? Check Out These 7 Options…
#1 – Smaller Dog Breeds
While you may not have the space in your apartment for a larger dog like a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler, there are many smaller breeds to consider.
But don’t let their compact size fool you!
Not all smaller dogs are well-suited for apartment living.
There are a few factors that you need to consider, including:
- Activity Level (Some dogs NEED a yard to run around in)
- Breed’s Tendency to Bark
- Standard Sizing (Check your lease for size restrictions)
- Personality and Patterns of Behaviour
You want to find a dog that will not only fit your space, but also your lifestyle.
For example, if you are someone who works long hours, a breed that is known for suffering from separation anxiety isn’t ideal.
Related: ‘Find the Best Shelter Dog for Your Family by Following This Advice!‘
#2 – Cats
The fact that cats are generally completely happy living their life indoors means that you don’t need to worry about a lack of yard.
They are also well-suited for smaller spaces due to their ability to make use of the vertical space in your home.
Are you lacking space for your cat to play?
Consider using taller scratch posts and perches to create additional space!
Worried about the smells from a litterbox?
There are many great products on the market that can cut that smell down including covered boxes, litter disposal systems, and more.
While cats are generally known for being quieter pets, there are some breeds that are known for being more vocal, such as the Siamese.
Take some time to research different breeds to find the best fit for your home, your family, and your lifestyle.
#3 – Pocket Pets
The term ‘pocket pets’ is used to describe smaller mammals such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, hedgehogs, chinchillas and ferrets.
These pets range drastically in terms of size restrictions.
Chinchillas, ferrets and rabbits require larger habitats as well as more time out of their cage to exercise.
Meanwhile, pets like hamster and mice require a much smaller space.
These smaller creatures are often considered a front runner when considering the best pet for apartment living as they are cute and cuddly like the dogs and cats but in a smaller package.
As mentioned at the start of this article, it’s necessary to consider the restrictions and legislations where you live.
Ferrets and hedgehogs, for example, are banned in some states.
#4 – Birds
Often, when we say birds, people automatically think about larger, talking parrots.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why they often aren’t permitted in apartment complexes.
An important consideration, if adding a bird to your home, is that they are highly social beings.
Birds that are left alone regularly will suffer from stress and anxiety.
Feelings of loneliness lead to behaviour problems. More specifically, lonely birds are often louder.
However, with regular socialization and mental stimulation, you can raise a happy, healthy bird in a limited space.
Consider the cage setup necessary and the space that you have available.
Finches and canaries are popular choices for apartment living as they tend to be quieter and easier to care for.
#5 – Snakes and Lizards
For those who are interested in something a little ‘out of the box’, reptiles like snakes and smaller lizards may be the perfect fit.
These creatures aren’t generally as social as our ‘furry friends’ above.
If you’re looking for a cuddly and affectionate pet, you may want to reconsider.
However, they require limited space and make no noise, meaning they are a great choice for apartment living.
The size of reptile that you can welcome into your home will depend, largely, on the space available for your pet’s habitat.
Smaller lizard, like geckos, can be kept in relatively small enclosures.
Research the species that you are most interested in to ensure that you provide for all of their needs including heat lamps, unique diets, and more.
These fascinating creatures don’t require exercise, or the level of attention needed by many of the other pets on this list.
If you work long hours, they are quite happy to hang out at home alone.
For those who are looking for a little interaction, some species are more interested than others.
It’s been said many times already on here, but I’ll say it again – Make sure to do your research!
Reptiles fall under the heading of ‘exotic pets’, meaning that you may be facing restrictions.
Carefully read over your lease and look into local regulations.
Related: ‘Is A Pet Snake Right For Me?‘
#6 – Tarantulas
It has been estimated that as many as 1 in 3 women are afraid of spiders to some degree.
For those who aren’t included in that statistic, you may be interested in bringing an 8-legged friend into your home.
This is another option on the list that will require careful research to ensure that you’re not coming up against regulations or restrictions.
Other options under the umbrella of bugs, insects and arachnids include:
- African Centipedes
- Emperor Scorpions
- Praying Mantids
- Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Alternatively, you could keep it easy and add an ant farm to your home!
Bugs, insects and arachnids require small enclosures, meaning that they fit nicely into your limited living space.
They are independent and require limited care.
Depending on the species, you may not be able to handle your new pet at all. This could be for your own safety (bites/stings) or theirs.
#7 – Fish
The most obvious choice in terms of apartment pets, most apartment complex will allow for an aquarium.
However, you should check into whether or not there is a limitation to the size of tank that you are permitted.
With so many different options of fish and tank decorations, you have the opportunity to personalize your aquarium to match your own unique style.
Factors to consider include which fish are compatible with each other, as well as their needs in terms of temperature and filtration.
You want to create an atmosphere that you enjoy but also that provides for their needs.
Don’t fall for the misconception that the smallest fish tank available will require the least care.
Larger aquariums are more stable, meaning that they are more forgiving should there be a fluctuation in the water chemistry.
For this reason, it is often recommended that beginners start with a tank of at least 10 gallons.
Looking to change things up a bit? Don’t limit your aquarium to just fish!
Consider adding other water creatures, such as shrimp or snails.
Are you currently living in an apartment or other small space? If so, what do you consider to be the best pet for apartment living?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!