Keeping It All Pet-Friendly

It’s no secret that pet owners look for communities that make them – and their furry family members – feel welcome.

Dog parks and washing stations are practically standard. But there is plenty more properties can do to appeal to animal lovers.

Here are some tips from the 13 After team to help make your community attractive to pets and their people:

  • Be sure to have enough dog “relief” areas conveniently located and clearly marked.
  • Make it easy for owners to clean up after their pets; have waste receptacles and waste disposal bags where they are needed and make sure the receptacles are emptied frequently.
  • Signage should be clear and friendly; if an area is off limits to pets, post a reminder with directions to the dog park or designated dog-walking area.
  • Put up a pet bulletin board in the office or common area where owners can display photos of their dogs and cats, with names and maybe even apartment numbers; it’s a nice touch and a help if a pet gets lost.
  • Have a “Pet Tips” handout for new residents, letting them know where the pet areas are and what the pet amenities are — and listing any pet rules they need to know about. Make sure the tone is upbeat and welcoming.
  • If there is an issue with a pet, work quickly with the owner to resolve it.
  • It never hurts to keep a bowl of pet treats in the leasing office for four-legged visitors.

And for pet owners:

  • Use the designated pet areas; clean up thoroughly and promptly after your pet.
  • Be considerate of non-pet owners; hard to believe, but not everybody loves animals. Give your neighbors some space; don’t take your furry buddy into a crowded elevator – wait for the next one.
  • Be especially watchful around children; don’t encourage them to pet your dog unless their parents are nearby and give consent.
  • Even the gentlest animal should be monitored carefully around strangers – young or old – to be sure the encounter goes well.
  • A white noise machine is a great investment, if your dog is given to barking while you are away; the noise will minimize sounds the dog hears and the resultant barking. Music played at a low volume can have the same effect.
  • If you are bringing a new pet home, let your nearest neighbors know and ask them to alert you if the animal barks or cries while you are away – then act quickly to address the situation.

— Susan Percy, 13 After Contributing Editor