5 Things People Renting with Pets Should Never Do

updated Jan 17, 2020
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Adorable furry friends are both the best and worst roommates to have. While they’re there to cuddle when you need them, they’re also there to chew holes in baseboards, leave unsanitary spots on the carpet, and crunch up the blinds. Ahead, find five common ways your pets are damaging your apartment—and what you can do to make sure you get your security deposit back.

Leave them unattended during your first week

Moving into a new place with a pet can be comforting to you—yet destructive to the apartment. When Heidi Nader, a renter in Illinois, brought her corgi to her new place for the first time, it ran right through the screen door. The dog had never seen one before! My dog, too, had never seen a sliding glass door and slammed face-first into it when trying to come back inside. Luckily the glass didn’t break—he has a pretty hard head—but I learned my lesson: If there’s something in your home your pet has never encountered before, introduce it to them with supervision.

Have only one chew toy

Chew-crazy puppies, hungry bunnies, and teething kittens all have the power to destroy an apartment. “My dog tore up the molding on a more-than-100-year-old apartment,” says Cassie Guglielmo, a renter in Pennsylvania. “It was not replaceable unless I paid a ton of money. I actually got some spackle and recrafted it for days and painted it until it looked close.” 

Make sure you’ve got plenty of pet-friendly chew toys (read: more than one or two) around to save your blinds, molding, clothing, furniture, power cords, and anything else you don’t want teeth marks in.

Start house-training after you move in

Unless you want to be cleaning up messes all the time, you have to house-train or litter box-train your animals before you move in. And if you have more than one cat, get more than one litter box. Julie Barnett, an owner of multiple cats in California, “had two cats who hated each other, and the whole house we rented became a pissing contest. We had to line the edges of the floor with aluminum foil to discourage them.” In another apartment, I personally had to replace the carpet because my new puppy peed everywhere he could when I wasn’t home. Potty training is not just valuable, but necessary.

Keep them cooped up

A lot of pets have separation anxiety, which can get worse if they’re contained in a space smaller than your apartment—so give them room to roam. I once thought my dog would be happier while I was at work if he were in the bedroom with a blanket. When I got home, not only had he eaten a pair of my slippers, he’d also chewed a hole in the corner of the door, ripped up some carpet, and scratched the baseboards. Poor guy.

Expect imperfection

The truth is that pets are unpredictable, regardless of how many safeguards you put in place to keep them occupied and away from your walls, carpet, blinds, and belongings. They’re animals and will do what animals do. So don’t expect absolute perfect behavior from them, and be prepared to clean and fix some things on their behalf. You never know what your sweet, adorable monsters will get into.