5 Tips for Finding a Rental With a Large Dog

It’s not uncommon for pet-friendly apartment communities to have weight and breed restrictions. What should the owner of a large dog do?

Finding an affordable and comfortable apartment can be an incredibly time-consuming process. Add a large dog to the mix, and it’s next to impossible.

That’s what Jan Even, owner of a 90-pound Rottweiler mix, experienced during her Bay Area apartment search. She was planning to rent in San Francisco or the East Bay and began her search by looking at pet-friendly apartments.

“I couldn’t find a single place that would accept my dog. She’s perfectly well-behaved, but a lot of the places that bill themselves as pet-friendly have restrictions about types of dogs they will accept,” she said. “Eventually we concluded we weren’t going to be able to find a rental because of our dog. Now we’re looking at real estate to buy.”

It’s not uncommon for apartment communities — even those that are dog-friendly — to have weight and breed restrictions. So, what’s the owner of a large dog to do?

Look into single-family rentals

Large apartment complexes are mostly likely to have size and breed restrictions in their pet policies. Landlords of individually-owned properties are more likely to be flexible and accept large dog breeds on a case-by-case basis. Use keywords like “pet friendly” or “dog friendly” in your search filter to narrow down rental listings.

Use advocacy groups as a resource

There are plenty of other dog owners who have been in your shoes. The Humane Society of the United States has a list of tips for finding rental housing with pets. Your local animal shelter, breed rescue or advocacy group likely has a list of apartment communities that will accept your specific breed. For example, the website My Pit Bull is Family has a list of pit bull-friendly rental housing providers in each state.

Have all your documents prepared

In addition to preparing documents like obedience training and vaccination records, ask your landlord or veterinarian to write a reference for your pet, vouching for your dog’s behavior.

“A reference from a previous landlord can be huge in changing the mind of the landlord,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “One other thing I recommend, in addition to pet resumes and references is a pet interview. If your dog is a great dog, offer to bring them by the rental office for a meet and greet. It’s very hard for a landlord to look at a sweet, well-mannered dog in the eye and say no.”

Plan extra time for the search

Understand that finding a rental with a large dog may not be easy. Allot additional time to find the right home for you and your dog. If you’d normally give yourself one month to find an apartment, double that to two since a good majority of rentals won’t be pet-friendly. If you really need extra time, consider getting a short-term rental and boarding your dog while you continue your search.

Be flexible

Finding a rental with a large dog may require flexibility on your end. Understand that you may be required to pay an additional pet deposit, pay extra for insurance that covers your dog’s breed or even rent on a month-to-month basis until your pooch earns the landlord’s approval. Follow the pet guidelines to show that you and your dog are model tenants and willing to work with the landlord.

As you look for a place to rent, above all, sell yourself as a responsible pet owner. “The thing about big dogs is that they’re not that different from a small dog in terms of the amount of space they need or damage they’re going to do,” explained Theisen. “Each dog is an individual.”

Do you have any tips for finding a rental with your large dog? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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Source: zillow.com

Keeping Pets Safe Around Plants

Many plants represent a threat to Fido and Fluffy. Protect them with these tips from our gardening expert.

Gardens are wonderful places for pets. They provide entertainment, room to exercise and cool shade in the afternoon. However, many of the most common and seemingly innocuous garden plants are also poisonous to your furry friends.

The apples and oranges we humans enjoy, almost all flowering bulbs and some of the most popular houseplants all share one thing in common: They are dangerously toxic to cats and dogs.

toxic combo
Irises, bottlebrush and daylilies all pose a threat to pets.

Plants ranked ninth on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA’s) list of top pet toxins in 2017. Roughly 5 percent of calls made to the organization’s Animal Poison Control Center involved landscaping plants, houseplants and bouquets.

Before we even cover the poisonous plants, let’s focus on the biggest dangers. Insecticides ranked seventh on the ASPCA list, and lawn and garden products came in 10th. Keep all chemicals out of reach, and if you’re getting your lawn sprayed, allow at least a day before letting your pet on the grass.

Problem plants for pets

Many plants are poisonous or otherwise dangerous to pets, but luckily there are many more that are completely safe. Here are some toxic plants to avoid, followed by safe alternatives. This list is just an introduction and is by no means exhaustive, so refer to the ASPCA website to search for the plant in question.

Plant type Toxic Nontoxic
Bulbs Caladium, calla lily, tulip, daffodil, iris, narcissus, crinum, amaryllis,  dahlia, lily of  the valley, crocus Canna, muscari, Scarborough lily, ginger
 Annuals and
perennials
Arum, elephant ear, begonia, sweet pea, coleus, bird of paradise, cyclamen,  hellebore, hosta, lantana, chrysanthemum, morning glory, asparagus fern, geranium. Lilies and daylilies are toxic to cats but nontoxic to dogs. Aster, fern, marigold, gerber daisy, snapdragon, hollyhock, ornamental grasses, nasturtium, nerve plant, petunia, sunflower
 Trees
and shrubs
Holly, rhododendron, azalea, oleander, sago palm, citrus (lemons, oranges, etc.), apple, apricot, peach, cherry, yucca, black walnut, yew, gardenia, nandina, wisteria Crepe myrtle, bottlebrush, aralia, hawthorn, pittosporum, mulberry, magnolia, mahonia, rose, hickory, bamboo, banana
 Vegetables Tomato, garlic, leek, onion, shallot, grape Cucumber, squash, melon, okra, zucchini
 Houseplants Dieffenbachia, Swiss cheese plant, Chinese evergreen, dracaena, pothos, ficus, anthurium, aloe, desert rose, kalanchoe, snake plant, euphorbia, asparagus fern, schefflera Calathea, areca palm, cast iron plant, Christmas cactus, spider plant, episcia, false aralia, orchid, bromeliad, peperomia, echeveria, haworthia, sempervivum, gynura, plectranthus

If you’re unsure of the toxicity of a certain plant in your garden, refer to the ASPCA website to find out.

Bromeliads and echeveria are safe plants to have around your four-legged friends.
Bromeliads and echeveria are safe plants to have around your four-legged friends.

Safety steps

While you needn’t tear apart your garden to keep poisonous plants off your dog’s menu, you should definitely educate yourself so you can make your own informed decisions.

Remove risky plants, transplant them to pet-free areas of the garden or, if the plant is too big (or special) to easily remove, make it inaccessible to your pet with fencing.

Just remember that even fallen leaves or seedpods are also often poisonous, so acquaint yourself with the symptoms your pet might experience following ingestion so you know what to tell the vet.

You might not need to go out and remove a foundation planting of azaleas tomorrow, but it isn’t that big of a deal to replace your toxic aloe plant with a nontoxic (and more attractive) haworthia.

If your pet shows any worrying symptoms, don’t waste time looking at lists like these. Call your vet or visit the ASPCA poison control hotline website immediately.

Top photo from Offset.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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Originally published June 25, 2015.

Source: zillow.com

4 Ways to Ensure Your Pet Is a Good Rental Resident

Yapping, chewing, howling, scratching … not in this home!

Nobody likes living next to a yappy dog — or even a howling cat. And while a growing number of rental properties specialize in pet-friendly apartments and homes, it’s understandable why both property owners and their leasing agents are skeptical about pets.

Here are some quick tips to help your pet be a neighborly renter.

1. Get them certified

To really show your future landlord that your dog is a good resident, consider getting a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. Offered by the American Kennel Association (AKC), this certification proves that a dog has received basic training and is well socialized around both people and other dogs — thus, less likely to cause disturbances.

If your dog is currently working with a trainer, ask about this certification, as many trainers are also CGC certified. The AKC provides details about groups in various states that also offer this certification.

Additionally, get a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord about your pet’s behavior. It can put you in a strong position to look at a wider variety of pet-friendly properties.

2. Keep them busy

Take your dog for a long walk or run before you go to work to leave them tired and happy — and content to snooze instead of scratching the front door or annoying the neighbors by howling nonstop.

Separation anxiety and stress often lead to bad behavior in your absence. Give your pets distraction toys to keep them busy, or leave on a TV or radio for a sense of companionship.

Consider employing a dog walker to come once a day, or send your pup to day care. Even if it’s only one day a week, it’s one day less of them being stressed because they’re home alone.

A variety of calming products — such as plug-in pheromone diffusers and anxiety wraps like the ThunderShirt — may help reduce your pet’s anxiety levels and prevent nonstop barking throughout the day.

3. Mind the felines

If you have a cat, get a large litter box and scoop it daily. Cats will go outside the litter box and pee on carpets if their box is dirty.

Similarly, keep a variety of scratchers around the home. Cats usually like to scratch soon after they wake up from a nap, so place scratching posts close to a favorite sleeping spot. This will deter them from permanently damaging your woodwork and carpets.

4. Prevent pests

Summer is the height of flea and tick season. Make sure your pet has the necessary protection so they don’t bring fleas indoors to infest your home.

Interestingly, fleas only spend 20 percent of their life span on a pet. They spend the rest of their time in your carpeting and furnishings — and they can be difficult to eradicate quickly. Plus, landlords will charge for this kind of pest control.

Like with so many other things in life, prevention is key.

Looking for more information about renting? Check out our Renters Guide

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Originally published July 13, 2016.

Source: zillow.com

Cleaning Tools You’ll Need for Your Apartment

Whether you’re in your first apartment or someone else used to buy the stuff to keep your place clean, there’s a number of cleaning tools you’ll need for cleaning your apartment.

Here’s a shopping list of must-haves and tips on how to clean an apartment.

Basic cleaning tools everyone should have

First, let’s tackle the items you’ll need in your closet or under the sink, the “tools” required to clean an apartment. Most of these items are reusable so it may be worthwhile to spend a little more for higher quality products.

  • Scrubby sponges (choose one color for surfaces and another for dishes, don’t mix them up)
  • Dish Scrubber with built-in soap holder (an alternative to the scrubby sponge for dishes)
  • Mop (the self-wringing kind or a Swiffer-type is easy to use, the choice will depend on your flooring)
  • Bucket or small plastic tub (for mopping)
  • Rubber gloves (trust us, you’ll want to wear them for certain tasks)
  • Broom (choose the angled kind)
  • Dustpan (some dustpans come with a small attached hand broom, which is a nice bonus)
  • Dust rag (you could cut up an old T-shirt for this)
  • Large scrub brush (you’ll need this for tubs and floors)
  • Small scrub brush (you’ll need this for corners and around faucets)
  • Toilet brush (some come with a decorative holder which hides the brush, a nice buy)
  • Plunger (one of these might come with your apartment, so store it near the toilet for emergency situations)
  • Trash cans (it’s extra nice to have a foot pedal one in the kitchen)
  • Vacuum cleaner (warning: used vacuums can contain fleas)
  • Optional item: blind/fan cleaner

Cleaning products you’ll need to buy and replace

You’ll find a wide variety of cleaning products at any grocery store, dollar store or drug store. And most of them last a really long time.

Also, note that you can substitute the brands below with other products, including those that might be more environmentally-friendly. (Use the brand name to find the right section of the cleaning aisle!)

  • Paper towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Spot removal (for laundry)
  • Dishwashing soap (for hand-washing dishes, choose a kind that’s easy on the skin)
  • Dishwasher soap (for the machine)
  • Soft-Scrub (this product has a little grit in it, and cleans stubborn stains from sinks and other surfaces)
  • Endust (for dusting wooden furniture and décor)
  • Tilex mildew root penetrator (for dirty grout in the kitchen and bathroom, or any tiled room)
  • Pine-Sol (which you add to water) or Swiffer products (mop product depends on your flooring)
  • Bleach (you’ll need to use this with caution, but when added to warm water, can erase stains)
  • Glass cleaner (like Windex) for mirrors and windows
  • Febreze or air freshener (it’s nice to keep this in your bathrooms)
  • Stainless polish (for stainless appliances and trash cans)
  • Stove-top cleaner (if you have a glass-top stove)
  • Oven cleaner
  • Hand cleanser (dish-washing soap can be harsh on the skin; some are designed for double-duty)
  • Lint removal roller (if you have pets, use this to pick up fur from fabric-covered furniture, linens)
  • Optional item: Shelf liner
  • Optional item: Poison Ivy Soap by Burt’s Bees is good to have on hand if you love nature

Natural cleaning products

Many cleaning supplies contain dangerous chemicals that can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems. According to the American Lung Association, some products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can produce dangerous pollutants indoors and be especially harmful to your health.

You can purchase all-natural soaps and cleaning products or make your own citrus vinegar cleaning spray or other non-toxic products. For some other ideas, here are green tips for a naturally clean kitchen.

cleaningcleaning

How often to clean your apartment

How often should you tackle the various tasks to keep your home clean and healthy? The following are some general recommendations. But, for roommate harmony, it would be a good idea to look at these suggestions together, tweak them for your own reality, and make sure your hopes or expectations are in line with each other. Dividing up chores with your roommates is a critical part of learning to live well with others.

Bathroom

Clean your toilet (don’t forget to lift the seat) twice a week or more often, if needed. Clean your tub and shower walls, sink areas and the floor weekly.

Kitchen

Clean surfaces after each meal prep. Sweep the floor daily. Clean sink at least once a week. Mop floors weekly. Deep-clean refrigerator surfaces twice a year, or immediately after a spill. Clean stainless surfaces, as needed.

Oven

How often you should clean your oven depends on how often you use it. For avid cooks and bakers, you should scrub it once every three months. If you rarely use it, cleaning it about once or twice a year should suffice. If you use a microwave oven regularly, you should clean it at least once a week.

Dusting

Dust twice a month, or more often, if you have dust allergies.

Floors

Vacuum any carpeting weekly or more often if you have pets. Mop floors at least twice a month. Having an entrance rug to scrape shoes on will cut down on the dirt.

Furnishings

Use a lint roller often if you have pets on the furniture, otherwise, as needed.

Windows

Wash windows as needed or every month or two. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to wipe away dust or grime on the window panes. Vinyl or metal blinds collect dust and should be dusted with a damp cloth. Curtains should be vacuumed at least once a month.

Make cleaning a priority

To stay organized, keep a list of needed cleaning supplies on your refrigerator or an app on your cell phone. Clean a little each day to keep from being overwhelmed. Relax, make a game of it, turn on some music and have fun!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Spring Clean Your Pet Toys

From pet beds to pet toys to leashes, collars and more, there’s no reason to leave Spot’s stuff off the spring cleaning list when the time comes to freshen up your apartment!

Pet Toys

Just think about the kind of use your pets’ toys get. The mouth. The feet. Sometimes the ground outside. And all of it on your floor (you may want to wash that, too, since we’re talking spring cleaning!). Toys come in varying shapes, sizes and most importantly – materials. Some are easier to care for than others.

Hard rubber or plastic toys are simple: just load them into the dishwasher, but forgo the usual detergent (just in case) and opt for pet-safe vinegar instead.

Soft toys can be bundled together for a trip through the washing machine. Check labels, if any, to make sure they are washer-safe. Those with more sensitive parts can be bundled into a pillowcase or purpose-built string bag for a gentler journey through the cycle. Mild detergent and a little baking soda will do the trick and, if you can time it right, a little more white vinegar during the rinse cycle is beneficial, as well.

Toys with squeakers can lose a bit of their noise when wet, but most can be restored to normal with a bit of “squeak-wringing.” (You may want to do this out of earshot of your dog!) Dry them on the low or no-heat setting or – if time permits – allow them to air dry.

clean cat toysclean cat toys

The bed

Sure, you might be like many dog owners and allow your pup to sack out on your bed or sofa, but hopefully these areas are already handled! Cleaning the dog’s bed, however, can be tedious. And the larger the bed, the more challenging the job.

Does yours have a removable cover? If so, great! That makes the job easier. First, use a sticky lint roller to get as much pet hair off the cover as possible. This is easier if you leave it on the bed. Follow the directions on any inside labels and if none exists, simply wash the cover in hot water with mild detergent (be mindful in the event your pet has allergies!) and some baking soda to deodorize.

If the bed’s cover isn’t removable, and you can’t wash and dry it via your machines, you may be able to hand wash it in your bathtub, wringing it thoroughly before air drying. If your apartment has a balcony or patio – you can make great use of it here!

Related Content:

Pet Fees: What to Expect

Dog-Friendly Apartments: What You Need To Know

Catify Your Crib: Turning Your Apartment into a Cat Wonderland

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Spring Clean Your Pet Toys

From pet beds to pet toys to leashes, collars and more, there’s no reason to leave Spot’s stuff off the spring cleaning list when the time comes to freshen up your apartment!

Pet Toys

Just think about the kind of use your pets’ toys get. The mouth. The feet. Sometimes the ground outside. And all of it on your floor (you may want to wash that, too, since we’re talking spring cleaning!). Toys come in varying shapes, sizes and most importantly – materials. Some are easier to care for than others.

Hard rubber or plastic toys are simple: just load them into the dishwasher, but forgo the usual detergent (just in case) and opt for pet-safe vinegar instead.

Soft toys can be bundled together for a trip through the washing machine. Check labels, if any, to make sure they are washer-safe. Those with more sensitive parts can be bundled into a pillowcase or purpose-built string bag for a gentler journey through the cycle. Mild detergent and a little baking soda will do the trick and, if you can time it right, a little more white vinegar during the rinse cycle is beneficial, as well.

Toys with squeakers can lose a bit of their noise when wet, but most can be restored to normal with a bit of “squeak-wringing.” (You may want to do this out of earshot of your dog!) Dry them on the low or no-heat setting or – if time permits – allow them to air dry.

clean cat toysclean cat toys

The bed

Sure, you might be like many dog owners and allow your pup to sack out on your bed or sofa, but hopefully these areas are already handled! Cleaning the dog’s bed, however, can be tedious. And the larger the bed, the more challenging the job.

Does yours have a removable cover? If so, great! That makes the job easier. First, use a sticky lint roller to get as much pet hair off the cover as possible. This is easier if you leave it on the bed. Follow the directions on any inside labels and if none exists, simply wash the cover in hot water with mild detergent (be mindful in the event your pet has allergies!) and some baking soda to deodorize.

If the bed’s cover isn’t removable, and you can’t wash and dry it via your machines, you may be able to hand wash it in your bathtub, wringing it thoroughly before air drying. If your apartment has a balcony or patio – you can make great use of it here!

Related Content:

Pet Fees: What to Expect

Dog-Friendly Apartments: What You Need To Know

Catify Your Crib: Turning Your Apartment into a Cat Wonderland

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Source: apartmentguide.com

4 Awesome Alternatives to Pet Ownership

Last week was National Puppy Day, so no doubt your Instagram feed was filled with picture after picture of oversized-paws, pink tongues and floppy ears… all tagged #furbaby – amiright?

I can imagine if you want a pet, but don’t have one, it may tug at the heart strings a bit. But having a pet requires a big commitment and since we’re a financial blog, we’ll just go ahead and break the news: pet ownership is not cheap.

If you are currently not in a state to take on the unexpected expenses that come with #furbaby, this does not mean you and your family can’t have the experience of bonding with and caring for a furry (or scaly!) friend.

Here are 4 awesome, feel-good ways you can create the experience of having a pet without taking on the cost of it. [Hint: #2 can even double as your side hustle!]

Volunteer at a shelter

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, but here’s the extra kick-in-the-boot to get you to check it out! Your local shelter is looking for people just like you to help out with exercising the pets and giving positive attention to animals waiting for their forever home.

Pro tip: If you are reallllly wishing you could have a pet but know it’s just not the right time financially, this could be a risky option (they don’t call them “puppy dog eyes” for nothing).

But if you are resolved you can’t have a pet and still want to be around animals, this is a wonderful way to not only get in the fur-baby time, but also give back to your community. Bottom line: all that attention and trust-building you provide is making that animal a better candidate for a good home with its own family. Pat yourself on the back – if you pick this option, you’re killing it in the Make the World a Better Place category.

Pet Sit

Taking a pet into your own home (or staying at someone else’s home to watch their pet) is like having an Auntie/Uncle weekend. It’s the best. You get to pretend for whatever period of time that you have a pet of your very own – but no financial responsibilities (not to be mistaken for no responsibilities). Not to mention, providing a home environment will likely help ease any kind of separation anxiety the pet may generally experience when their person is away.

Pro tip: if it’s a cat, might be better to house sit in addition to pet sit, it’s likely they’d be more distressed by moving homes for a period of time than having their owner gone.

Super pro tip: Before offering up your home, make sure it is properly secured to have a pet roam around. Holes in fences, ajar windows, etc could tempt the little dude to find his way back to his parent’s house.

To find opportunities to pet sit – become familiar with the pets in your neighborhood and let their owners know of your interest. If you have a friend with a beloved pet, be sure to let them know you would love to watch them when they go out of town. Many pet owners are hesitant to ask for this kind of help, but it’s a relief to know someone you trust is willing to watch them.

If you want to make money doing this and actually make a side hustle out of it, check out sites like Rover or DogVacay. These are awesome resources for pet owners to find vacation homes for their pups.

Fostering a pet

Many shelters and animal rescues have special programs to find homes for their animals due to overflow of pets in need or to get them used to living in a home environment. Reach out to a local animal rescue and ask about their programs. Many will help financially with the cost for the pet (i.e. food, medical bills, etc) – but not all. Be sure to get the full details ahead of time. Also, be prepared that eventually you will part with the animal. Maybe pre-plan how you will celebrate when the pet does find a home to help with the transition.

Service Dog Training

You’ve likely seen a service dog and are familiar with the incredible benefit they offer people with disabilities. But did you know, for many of these programs, the dogs start their initial training in a prison? Sounds scary, but it’s a great way for inmates to take on a positive responsibility and the bond they develop is often so beneficial, it’s actually a rehabilitation method. In between the pup’s time learning basic training and then going on to the hard-core service training, they need time to adapt to the outside world. This is where you could come in! Many programs, such as ICAN in Indiana, need temporary homes for these dogs before they go on to become the heroes they’re destined to be. Look in your state for similar programs!

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