Whether or not you want to consider a pet-friendly property really amounts to how you feel about animals. If you’re afraid of dogs or allergic to pet dander, a pet-friendly property may not be for you. If you have pets, or like interacting with them, a pet-friendly property is a great opportunity to make the whole family (pets and all) feel truly welcome.
Here’s some of the best and not-so-great reasons about a pet-friendly community so that you can determine which is best for your lifestyle. Let’s start with the pros.
Pro: Your Pets Are Welcome at Your Home
If you’ve ever been the lone pet-owner at a property, you know it can be stressful. Someone knocks on the door, or worse, a doorbell rings on TV, and your dog won’t stop barking. All the while, you are on pins and needles, worrying about upsetting the neighbors. Or maybe you have a cat that is prone to sneaking out. You’d hope that your neighbors would keep a careful eye out for it, rather than calling animal control. In a pet-friendly community, the occasional bark or chasing of pets in the shared areas isn’t cause to panic. Most of your neighbors have been in the same place as you, so they’ll understand your struggle.
Pro: Pets May Bring an Extra Level of Security to Your Community
If a would-be prowler notices a lot of animals at a property, he or she may be inclined to just keep looking for another target. Dogs make a ton of noise and are very protective of their owners, which will definitely discourage someone from breaking into your home. Even if you don’t have a pet, dogs will bark at unfamiliar noises and people throughout the day, so anyone lingering around your apartment may think twice before trying to get inside.
Pro: It’s Simple to Set Up Play Dates for Your Pooch
I lived in a small gated condo community that had a great courtyard. At night, we would all let our dogs out to play with each other. It was like our own personal dog park. At the time, I had a pug puppy who was full of energy, and those nightly play sessions were critical to my sanity!
Con: You Can’t Predict How Animals Will Interact
During one of those evening courtyard playdates, one of my neighbors let her aggressive dog, who had gone after dogs and children in the past, out to join in the fun. He attacked my pug puppy, breaking his hip at just 12 weeks old. I was stuck with a $4,000 surgery bill and seven years later, he still has a limp. My neighbor never offered to help with the cost, but who is to say who is truly at fault? Maybe I shouldn’t have had such a young dog out playing off-leash, and maybe she shouldn’t have taken a chance letting her dog out, knowing his history. Either way, you may think your dog is well behaved, but you never know how it will react to other dogs or people—and that presents a real risk to all involved.
Con: Some Pet Owners are Not Very Responsible
While you may be vigilant about keeping your pooch leashed, well-behaved, and up to date on medications and vaccinations, not every pet owner will be as dedicated as you. It stinks (literally and figuratively) to be rushing to get to work and step in dog waste—especially when you always make sure to clean up after your pets. Think about how the non-pet owners feel when it happens to them!
Con: Everyone’s Animals Are Welcome in Your Community
You know how people can tolerate their own children better than they can tolerate other people’s? Same goes for pets. While you may think it’s hilarious when your cat gets “talkative,” your neighbor on the other side of the wall might be losing their mind. Additionally, if you’re dressed up for a special occasion, you know what a feat it is to step out the door without any dog or cat hair on you. All of that goes out the window when you’re neighbor’s friendly pooch runs up to you for a full-body, muddy, hug!
All in all, your ability to be happy at a pet-friendly property depends on two things: your level of affection (or tolerance) for pets, and how effective your management company is at enforcing the rules. So before you sign a new lease, figure out where you stand when it comes to pets and have a good talk with your property manager regarding their policies on pets.