Pets are an essential part of many people’s lives. There are many benefits to pet ownership – reducing stress, providing companionship, and unconditional love. But with pet ownership comes responsibilities, especially for renters.
How can you be a good pet owner in a rental home?
Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment
Whether a renter can keep pets in their home is typically at the discretion of the landlord, as the owner of the property.* Many websites are dedicated to pet-friendly apartments. If listings are not clear on whether pets are allowed, you can ask either the realtor or landlords if the apartment is pet-friendly.
Typically, if a property is pet-friendly, there are still restrictions on what type of pets and how many pets you could have. Apartment size can present some limits when it comes to pet ownership. Be sure to do your research to find that forever pet that’s best for your living space. The breed is important! That large and incredibly furry 135-pound Saint Bernard may not be the best choice for your small apartment and that Labrador Retriever might not be happy with only a small yard to run and play in.
*There are legal exceptions to a “no pets” rule or pet restrictions under the Federal Fair Housing Act for people with disabilities. Landlords are required to make a reasonable accommodation to allow pets who serve as service animals or assistance animals for people with disabilities.
What Does Your Lease Say About Pets?
Most leases have a clause specifying if you can have a pet, and if you can, what type, size, breed and whether it needs to be hypoallergenic. If you did not have a pet at the start of the lease, but are thinking about getting a pet, it is best to contact your landlord to know if you can get permission to have a pet live in your rental home. It is also courteous to communicate with your neighbors, who may be affected by noise, smell or allergies.
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Pet?
It is important to understand the costs of being a pet owner. Vaccinations, medications, toys, and food are all requirements for the health and well-being of your pets. Between one-time costs and annual costs, a pet can cost over $1,000 in the first year, and over $500 annually thereafter. If pets are allowed in your rental home, renters can also expect to pay a pet deposit or cleaning fee.
Fortunately, the Monroe County Humane Association can be a great resource for low-income households, from vouchers to offset costs for spay/neuter surgery, grooming services, and a pet food pantry.
Your Source for Support and Advice: Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA)
We are fortunate to live in a community that values our animals and has a support system in place to provide programs and services to keep those furry members of our families safe and healthy. The Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA) provides services and programs working in concert with the City of Bloomington Animal Shelter, local veterinary clinics, national advocacy organizations and other partners to identify, build resources and create solutions for animal welfare issues.
At the MCHA Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic in Richland Plaza Shopping Center, we offer support and advice for concerns you may have about your pet’s health as well as offering all vaccinations, vouchers to offset costs for spay/neuter surgery and grooming services. To help make our programs and services more affordable, we also offer pricing based on income for certain programs. The pet owner simply needs to provide proof that they receive any type of government assistance.
Vaccinate Your Pet
Vaccinations especially are vital to giving your pets the best shot of having a long and healthy life. While the State of Indiana (and most apartment complexes) require that all cats and dogs, even those that do not spend any or limited amounts of time outdoors, be vaccinated against rabies. Your pet’s veterinarian may recommend additional vaccinations for long and healthy life.
Spay /Neuter Your Pet
In addition to vaccinations, a crucial step in helping prolong the health of your pet is to spay/neuter your pet. By spaying your female cat or dog, you take away the risk of unwanted pregnancies, which can add to the overpopulation of animals, as well as reducing the risk of certain cancers and diseases. By neutering your male dogs and cats, the loss of testosterone can limit their chances of some cancers and can have a direct effect on the possibility of aggressive behavior. There is no evidence that by spaying/neutering your pet that they will become fat and lazy, but it will keep them a loving, active member of our family!
MCHA Mobile Vaccine Clinics
Q: How can you get your pet vaccinated if you don’t have a car and you can’t take your dog or cat on public transportation?
A: The MCHA Mobile Vaccine Clinic! From March till November, MCHA loads up our van from the clinic and go on-site to give low-cost vaccinations, microchipping, and flea prevention. MCHA Mobile Vaccine Clinics are held at least once a month on a Sunday from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. No appointments, just first come, first served. The current schedule is on the MCHA website and Facebook page, which are updated frequently.
Pet Food Pantry
MCHA also oversees a Pet Food Pantry for income-qualified pet owners, providing limited amounts of food and supplies.
For More Information
For appointments, voucher information, and questions about our pet food pantry, contact MCHA Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic and Pet Food Pantry at 812-935-5053, Option 2. Learn more at www.monroehumane.org.
Your pet will thank you!