All the pet-lovers out there understand the benefits of having a furry friend at home. Their loyalty and love offer comfort and companionship. The time you spend cuddled up or playing outside can end up being the most relaxing part of your day. It's wonderful, but pets often spend a great deal of time alone. And that's when they can get into trouble.
Living in an apartment, the damage a pet can cause can get expensive. Between stains and actual destruction of furniture, walls or door frames both cats and dogs can rack up a big repair bill. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to curb destructive behavior and avoid pet damages in your apartment.
There are a few ways a property manager can collect money from you in anticipation of pet damage. Often, an existing pet policy goes into the lease as a pet agreement. This is a set of rules you, as a pet owner, must follow. It can include provisions related to permitted animals or breeds and pet weight-limits, among other restrictions.
If required, management collects pet fees or deposits at the beginning of your lease. This is like a security blanket for anything a property owner has to address after you move out. Deposits are refundable if there's no damage, a fee is not.
These precautions help cover the expense of addressing common damages that can occur with both cats and dogs.
Carpet is an easy target for staining, especially with pets. Almost all of them have at least one accident in their lifetime. It's so common, property owners look for stains first when a pet owner vacates an apartment.
“This is the most common and easily noticed pet damage," says Olivia Beck from Goodlife Property Management, “usually in the form of pet urine." If an older pet has regular accidents, it's best to take them to the vet for a check-up.
Pets can't tell you when something is wrong, and accidents can be one way of attempting to communicate with you. If you have a younger pet, repeat accidents are sometimes a sign of a behavioral issue. Limiting their access to carpeted areas can help reduce accidents.
Once an accident happens, it's best to clean it up as soon as you're aware of it. Keep carpet and floor cleaner handy that addresses pet stains and odor. Every carpet stain won't get completely erased, but you'll definitely keep things looking much cleaner.
It's also possible to prevent accidents, and carpet stains, from happening. For cats, accidents can result from too few litter boxes in your apartment. A good rule of thumb is one per cat. Place it in a quiet place. If there's a lid, consider removing it. Cats don't like it when they can't see above themselves as they go.
For dogs, accidents happen when they don't have access to an outside space to go. Consider bringing in a dog walker once a day or even crating them when you're at work. According to Paws, “a crate helps satisfy the dog's instinct to be in a den…" and helps them associate the outdoors with the proper place to do their business.
When cats want to scratch, nothing is safe. Furniture, blankets, walls and carpet all fall victim. Damage of this kind happens fast in an apartment. The next thing you know, a doorway or couch arm is destroyed. It's possible, though, to distract them from their destructive ways.
“A scratching post is essential for any healthy, well-adjusted cat," says Shelley Wester on Petfinder. It provides them with an appropriate outlet for their urge to scratch, along with a place to stretch and exercise. With a sturdy cat scratching post that stays upright, they'll come here first and stop damaging your apartment.
Another way to redirect a cat's energy is with a variety of toys. Motorized options or things with lasers do especially well. These capture a cat's attention when you're not there to play with them.
Dogs can get destructive when they're lonely. Long periods at home also mean pent-up energy they can't release. "It could be a puppy, it could be an older dog, but if you find that you come home and your dog is just destroying things … they need more exercise…" says Dana Humphrey a.k.a. “The Pet Lady," who discusses this issue in the Hartford Courant.
Energy levels in dogs can vary by breed. The ones needing the most exercise include Labs, German Shepherds, Terriers and Retrievers, as well as certain collies and huskies. These might not make the best apartment dwellers, but regardless of breed, you can provide an outlet for too much energy.
First, it's important your dog has the right amount of space within your apartment. This chart helps break things down:
Next, consider hiring a dog walker while you're at work, or look into putting your pet into daycare a few days a week. This provides opportunities for socialization and exercise. A treat-dispensing toy at home will also keep lonely pets happy and busy. Crating can also help reduce fear, confusion and anxiety while keeping your apartment protected.
The best reaction to have when your pet is damaging your apartment is to stop the problem from being a regular issue. Modifying your pet's behavior with the right toys, accessories and services can prevent future damage from occurring. This allows you to repair the problem to the best of your ability to ensure an easier move out when the time comes.