Choosing the right housing to accommodate pets is challenging

Some suggestions for pet-friendly housing and living

Booboo sitting on a couch (Nicole Gonzalez Filos)

Booboo sitting on a couch (Nicole Gonzalez Filos)

Becoming a dog owner is an exciting journey that 55 per cent of households in Canada go through. However, housing conditions are tricky for dog owners and not every building is dog-friendly. 

The first hurdle is finding housing that allows animals. Some apartment buildings allow small critters for pets but do not accommodate dogs and cats. 

Dog owners should check the city bylaws and apartment limits to see how many pets are allowed and the maximum weight of the dog and make notes of any breed restrictions. 

Breed Specific Legislation like dog breed bans exists in some places within Canada because of public concerns of pit bull terriers attacking people. Although the legislation is breed-specific, it can be quite misleading because pit bull terriers are an umbrella term for many different dog breeds. 

An important factor dog owners should consider for suitable housing is the size and breed of their dog. Toy breed owners have some freedom living in a bachelor suite with their dog, but some living situations may not be ideal for larger and working breeds. 

Make sure to choose housing that is within walking distance of parks and hikes or trails. No matter the size or breed, all dogs need physical activity, and taking them on walks helps your furry friend relieve stress and get their daily exercise. 

For example, “sniffari” is a practice where the dog leads their owner to whatever they find interesting to smell. This may seem silly, but dogs greatly benefit from this practice as it improves their mood and keeps them stimulated.

New buildings could improve their designs by adding mandatory balconies or verandas to their blueprint for dog-friendly housing. Architects can also add a designated floor for an outdoor dog area where residents and their dogs have full access to this luxury. 

All animals should be vaccinated to prevent contracting infectious diseases. Bathrooms should accommodate dogs of any size, such as the washroom, including a large bathtub, detachable showerhead, and a floor drain. 

To let dog owners and neighbours feel at ease, each rental place should also be as soundproof as possible. Concrete walls and carpets absorb sound waves, which prevents any echoing from noisier dogs.  

Carpets are also easier on the joints of animals, as they prevent accidents and injuries from slipping. Since carpets tend to absorb smell and residue, having a rental carpet cleaning machine that is readily available is a must for pet-friendly apartments.

Lastly, the area and neighbourhood of the designated building spot should be pet-friendly. This includes having easy access to veterinary care, doggy daycares, a grooming service, and pet stores. 

Finding affordable housing for yourself is a challenge in the Lower Mainland, and it’s even harder as a pet owner. Although many rental homes claim to be pet-friendly, many challenges come with being fully equipped to house animals. 

If home designers followed these suggestions and pointers, hopefully, finding housing in the future would be a much easier task. These minor architectural changes make a huge difference for pet owners and should be imposed on rentals that allow pets.