Are You Ready for Pet Ownership in NYC?

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience. Not only do you get to enjoy furry cuddles and slobbery kisses, but experts say dogs help you live longer, increasing the amount of time you spend active and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Everyone can agree pets are amazing. But adopting an animal whose life depends on you is not a simple decision. If you live in New York City, you should ask yourself some probing questions about whether you're ready for pet ownership.

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1. Can You Find an Apartment?

Finding an apartment in New York City can be difficult — even under the best circumstances. And while there are more than 85,000 licensed dogs in New York City, adding a pet to your apartment hunt makes the task more challenging.

Many of the reasons behind pet bans are understandable, such as damage due to neglect or close neighbors who suffer from allergies. Start your research early when it comes to finding an apartment. Ask landlords about extra fees associated with owning a cat or dog, such as monthly pet rent or a damage deposit.

2. Do You Have a Busy Schedule?

If you want to adopt a dog, keep in mind most aren't content to lie around the apartment all day. They want to have fun and play. They want to be social with other dogs. They require a certain amount of attention that, when busy with work or other obligations, might be impossible to accommodate.

Assess your schedule and be realistic. Do you have time to add a dog to your life? Consider hiring a local dog walking company like NYC Pooch or MetroPets to take your furry friend out in the middle of the day. Or think about adopting a pet that requires less attention, like a cat, guinea pig or gecko.

3. What Animals Will Work Best?

Any New York City apartment has limited space. Find a pet that's suitable for the size. Look for a smaller breed that doesn't require a lot of exercise if you want a dog. Some of the best dog breeds for apartment living include pugs, French bulldogs and American hairless terriers, but mixes and adopted dogs can always be well-suited, too. These breeds are very easy to groom, and less shedding hair means fewer chances of allergies.

Other small animals that can live well in apartments include:

·     Bunnies

·     Ferrets

·     Lizards

·     Chinchillas

·     Hermit Crabs

Be sure to look up the specific care requirements of any animal before adoption. You will experience fewer surprises when you learn what to expect ahead of time.

4. Is Your Apartment Protected?

Animals can cause damage — it's a major reason why landlords as hesitant to allow pets. Dogs can chew molding and scratch doors. Cats can rip up carpeting and urinate on floorboards. While it's possible to train pets to play with toys instead of furniture and go potty in the proper places, accidents can happen.

It's important to protect your apartment ahead of time to prevent damage and save money. Hardwood is durable and easy to clean but can get scratched, so adding padding will help reduce flooring damage. Carpeting provides more traction for clumsy dogs but can collect pet hair, so you’ll need to vacuum regularly. The right choice will depend on you and your pet.

5. Does a Pet Work for Your Budget?

The cost of owning a pet goes beyond the initial adoption fee. According to one study, owning a cat or dog will cost more than $1,000 during the first year. You will need to buy the necessary supplies, such as a collar, leash, dog bowl and food. Cats will require a litter box and a constant supply of litter.

Toys are a must, as your furry friend can quickly get bored, with options like ropes, balls and scratching posts. A crate is ideal for puppies who need to be housebroken or older pets who want a sanctuary. And that doesn't include routine medical costs like spay or neuter, vaccinations and exam fees. Take a close look at your finances to determine if you can afford the actual cost of owning a pet.

Owning a Pet in New York City

If you want to own a pet in NYC, you have a tough road ahead of you. Once you find the right apartment, a challenge in and of itself, you'll have to free up time in your schedule, allocate some savings for new expenses and protect your apartment from damage. But the hassle will be worth it. Having a companion by your side as you navigate the crowded streets of NYC could be exactly what you need.

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Holly Welles is a real estate blogger covering design, finance and market trends for apartment dwellers. You can find more of her work on her blog, The Estate Update.

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