Pets can be a wonderful addition to your life and family. It is comforting to be greeted by a four-legged friend when you walk through your front door at the end of a long day, for example, and the time you get to spend together exploring your neighborhood or curled up on the couch is hard to beat.
Nothing could make you love your pet less, but it’s important to be aware of the pet damage they can cause to your living space. We all want our animal companions to be healthy and happy and our homes to be comfortable respites from daily life, but pets can sometimes wreak havoc on an apartment through:
- Staining carpet
- Scratching floors
- Chewing or playing with blinds
- Damaging walls, door frames, and furniture
- Leaving behind an abundance of hair
- Having accidents that may leave lingering unpleasant smells
- And more
Any of these could cause lasting damage to your apartment home and result in you being charged for repairs. The last thing you want is to know that your animal roommate is responsible for creating a problem in your rental, but the good news is that a lot of the potential issues can be lessened — or completely avoided — if you take the proper steps.
5 Things to Do to Prevent Apartment Pet Damage
Pets that are doing things like chewing, scratching, or otherwise harming your living space are usually doing so for a reason, and knowing the cause is usually the first step toward prevention. The following five steps will help you avoid or minimize pet damage, which is a win for you, your pets, and your home.
1. Take Your Dog for a Walk
Dogs need a lot of exercise. A dog that is causing a ruckus in your home is probably telling you it needs more exercise. Taking them for a walk is a great way for you both to get some fresh air and blow off some steam. The good news is that D.C. boasts a wealth of green space, with most residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park or dog park.
2. Clean Your Cat’s Litter Box Regularly
You should scoop your cat’s litter box at least once a day, and more often if needed. Replacing the litter should happen once a week, and it’s a good idea to wash the box once a week as well with soap and water. You can use vinegar and water as an alternative, but refrain from using bleach as it can interact with your cat’s waste. Be sure to wash your sifting tool as well.
3. Keep Your Pet’s Claws Trimmed
Whether you have a dog or a cat, it’s best to keep their nails trimmed. You can either take care of this yourself or have a vet do it. Cats have an innate need to scratch things, so provide a post or pad that will tempt them away from your new couch or doorframe. Toys may also distract them from scratching and will keep them entertained when you’re not home.
4. Clean Accidents Up Right Away
This one is a no-brainer, but we all know that sometimes accidents occur when you’re not home. Be sure to clean up any messes as soon as you see them to prevent stains or odor from setting in. Keep floor and carpet cleaners on hand so you’ll be able to address issues as they arise, but be sure the ones you choose are designed for the flooring in your apartment home and will not cause further damage. If you’re planning to travel, make appropriate arrangements for your pets to be looked after while you’re gone. Leaving them alone for days on end will almost surely result in accidents and damage.
5. Be the Best Pet Owner You Can Be
Giving your pets enough food, water, exercise, and attention means they’ll likely be well-adjusted and well-behaved. Finding a dog walker or someone to check in on your pet during the day can greatly reduce the risk of coming home to accidents or apartment damage. You may also be able to crate-train pets that suffer from separation anxiety, as the smaller space may make them feel safer when you’re not home — and thus prevent damage that results from such emotions. Make sure you also plan for regular visits to the veterinarian to be sure your pet is in good health.
Many problems can be prevented just by taking good care of your pets and making sure they’re getting their basic needs met. Follow the above steps and you’ll not only make a great pet parent but a great tenant as well.
Understand Your Landlord’s Pet Policy
It is important to thoroughly understand the pet policy when renting a home or apartment. Every property will have different rules, and you’ll want to understand what the regulations are to avoid any surprises. Here are some common policies you will find:
- Monthly pet fee
- Pet deposit
- Restrictions on size and weight of pet
- Restrictions on “aggressive” breeds or certain kinds of animals
- Requirements for proper identification, licenses, and vaccinations
- Restrictions on where they can go on the property
Some management companies will have a “pet agreement” that is essentially a contract ensuring that the lessee knows and agrees to the rules – and often these include language making the tenant responsible for the pet. It’s crucial for pet owners to know the causes of pet damage and the rules that landlords put in place to try to prevent it. Informed pet owners will have better luck finding a home that is just right for themselves and their pets.
Pet-Friendly Apartments in D.C.
Our apartments welcome your four-legged friends with open arms. We offer pet-friendly apartment homes in some of the most coveted neighborhoods in D.C., including Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Cathedral Heights.
Contact us today to find the perfect Washington, D.C. apartment community for you.
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