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Finding Pet-friendly Digs


Finding an affordable and not to mention comfortable apartment can be a very time-consuming process. And when you add a large dog into the mix, it can seem next to impossible.

That’s what Jan Even, owner of a 90-pound Rottweiler mix, experienced during her Bay Area apartment search, according to this article from Zillow. She was planning to rent in San Francisco or the East Bay and began her search by looking at pet-friendly apartments.

“I couldn’t find a single place that would accept my dog. She’s perfectly well-behaved, but a lot of the places that bill themselves as pet-friendly have restrictions about types of dogs they will accept,” she said. “Eventually we concluded we weren’t going to be able to find a rental because of our dog. Now we’re looking at real estate to buy.”

It’s not uncommon for apartment communities—even those that are dog friendly—to have weight and breed restrictions.


Down here in Naples, Florida for example, a lot of the “pet-friendly” apartments only allow small and medium dogs.

So, what’s a large dog lover to do?

Look into Single-family Rentals

Landlords of individually owned properties are more likely to be flexible and accept large dog breeds on a case-by-case basis.

Also try advocacy groups as a resource to find your pet-friendly home.

The Humane Society of the United States has a webpage listing pet-friendly rental properties in each state. Your local animal shelter, breed rescue or advocacy group likely has a list of apartment communities that will accept your specific breed as well. For example, the website My Pit Bull is Family has a list of pit bull-friendly rental housing providers in each state.

Have Everything On-hand

You may need obedience training and vaccination records, or a reference from your vet or landlord vouching for your dog’s good behavior.

“A reference from a previous landlord can be huge in changing the mind of the landlord,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “One other thing I recommend, in addition to pet resumes and references is a pet interview. If your dog is a great dog, offer to bring them by the rental office for a meet and greet. It’s very hard for a landlord to look at a sweet, well-mannered dog in the eye and say no.”


Plan for Extra Time

Allot for additional time so you can find the right home for you and your dog. If you’d normally give yourself a month to find an apartment, double that to two since a good majority of rentals won’t be pet-friendly.

Adapt and Sell Yourself

You may be required to pay an additional pet deposit, pay extra for insurance that covers your dog’s breed or even rent on a month-to-month basis until your tail-wagger earns the landlord’s approval.

As you look for a place to rent, above all, sell yourself as a responsible pet owner. “The thing about big dogs is that they’re not that different from a small dog in terms of the amount of space they need or damage they’re going to do,” explained Theisen. “Each dog is an individual.”

Do you have any tips for finding pet-friendly digs? Let us know in the comments section below.

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