How to Get Your Apartment Ready for a Puppy

Are you bracing yourself for a furry bundle of joy? Before you make your dog dreams come true, create a welcoming space for your pup to live. Use this step-by-step guide for preparing your apartment for a pet’s arrival in a way that both your puppy and your landlord will approve.

1. Talk to your landlord before you go to the shelter.

It’s a tale as old as time. You go to your local shelter and make eye contact with a timid pup with a heart of gold. You walk up to it, and it licks your hand—claiming your soul as its own. Before you know it, your name is on the adoption papers, and you’re being handed your new little bundle of fluff. Your first drive home together feels like a dream, but it turns into a nightmare when your landlord spots your pup and says he’s got to go. You could’ve saved yourself a lot of grief, if only you’d talked to your landlord first!

Before you bring a puppy home, read over your lease to see if there’s a pet policy. This clause should outline if and what kind of pets are allowed in your apartment, as well as breed restrictions, pet fees, and additional insurance requirements.

Give your landlord notice that you’ll be bringing a pet to the property in case they require any other paperwork or a security deposit. Keep in mind that even pet-friendly apartments may have restrictions.

Even if you can’t find a pet policy on your lease, you should still approach your landlord with evidence that your new bestie won’t threaten the well-being of the property or its residents. Help your property manager warm up to your four-legged friend by showing them proof that the pup is up-to-date on vaccinations and that you’re prepared to enroll it in a puppy-training course. And if you’re not sure what kind of dog would thrive in your small apartment, read up on apartment-friendly breeds!

2. Talk to your roommate.

Most people love animals, but some don’t—and that’s ok. There are plenty of reasons why someone would not want a pup in their home, including allergies, fear of aggressiveness, and negative past experiences.

Before you bring a dog to your apartment, have a heart-to-heart with your roommate. Ask if they feel comfortable with you bringing a canine addition into the household. If they’re excited about it, they might even be able to help walk and feed your pup when you’re not home. If they’re not, you should respect the shared space and wait till one of you moves out before fulfilling your dog dreams.

3. Puppy-proof your apartment.

When getting acquainted with a new environment, dogs are known for being extra inquisitive. That means getting into things and places they’re not supposed to. Make sure you keep your stuff and your puppy safe by:

  • Locking chemicals, cosmetics, and medicine out of paws’ reach.
  • Giving your furniture a spritz of bitter apple spray, a scent that dogs don’t like, so you won’t have to worry about your puppy chewing or scratching your upholstered furniture.
  • Getting a crate, playpen, or gate to keep your pup contained while you’re busy.
  • Buying potty-training pads and stocking up on carpet cleaner and surface wipes for smelly accidents.

4. Create a welcoming space for your pup.

Dogs need more than a safe space to eat and sleep; they also need love, nourishment, and entertainment. Talk to your vet about the best type of food for your new friend, and go over other basics such as daily exercise requirements. Don’t forget to be prepared by stocking up on all the items on this essential puppy checklist:

  • Leash and collar (or harness)
  • Vet-approved puppy food
  • Flea and tick medicine
  • Treats
  • Dog bed
  • Chew toys
  • Food and water bowl
  • Grooming supplies such as shampoo and a fur brush

Keep in mind that some dogs may need particular items such as heartworm treatment or even car-sickness meds for the drive home. It’s a good idea to ask your vet if your new pup requires anything extra. Additionally, contact your renter’s insurance company to inform them of your status as a pet-owner so you can protect yourself if something goes wrong. (Looking into pet insurance is highly advisable, too!)

5. Educate yourself.

Training and raising your puppy is a learning curve for the both of you, especially if you’re a first-time dog-owner. Read up on your dog’s breed to know about common health concerns and personality quirks. Be patient and keep the vet and the shelter’s (or breeder’s) phone numbers on speed dial in case you need expert assistance.

6. Get a new lease on life.

Bringing a puppy home is a life-changing experience. Just as your pup will have to adjust to its new environment, you’ll be adjusting to a new set of chores and probably a fair bit of exercise on your part.

And since you’ll be home more often for walks, feeding, playtime, and lots of cuddling, you should spend this time in an apartment that’s best for both of you. Find your ideal pet-friendly apartment on ApartmentSearch!