What to Consider Before Adopting a Dog as a Renter

Renting has been an increasingly popular decision for Americans for decades, with now more than a third of U.S. households living in a rented home — adding up to 43 million renters nationwide, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. Many of those millions of renters are also dog-lovers who, if they haven’t already, would love to add a canine companion to their household. But the decision to adopt a dog shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially as a renter. Before you head to the pet shelter to pick out a pup, consider these five things.


In contrast with the great flexibility renting provides, it can also be a bit restrictive when it comes to pets. Some buildings don’t allow pets at all, while others allow only cats or small dogs. Minneapolis has a healthy supply of dog-friendly rentals, but some restrict breeds or weights, so, depending on the type of dog you’re interested in adopting, you could still be significantly limiting your housing options. On the other hand, some apartment communities can make life easier for dog owners. For example, there are several apartments near UMN that offer great pet amenities like on-site dog runs and dog washing stations. Even in the face of limited housing options, don’t be tempted to hide or sneak your dog into your rental. If you’re in the middle of your lease, speak with your property manager before adopting and ask about any restrictions they might impose.


There are several different kinds of expenses to consider when you’re adopting a dog. For example, you’ll have to pay for the adoption itself. And then there’s the pet food and regular vet check-ups — which can cost you about $500 per year, according to PetFinder — plus any unforeseen health issues that might pop up down the line. And then, for renters, there’s almost always an added cost for housing, whether it’s in the form of a pet deposit, monthly pet rent, or deductions from your standard security deposit. For Minneapolis apartments, you can expect to pay $25 to $50 a month for pet rent, on top of a pet deposit that can range from $150 to $500.


Unlike litterbox-trained cats, dogs can’t be left alone for long periods of time. You need to plan on heading home every four hours or so to let your dog out to go to the bathroom, and you should also plan to take your pup for a healthy walk or two every day. They need exercise and attention, and that’s especially true for puppies, which take more time to train and require more frequent care. If you can’t commit to investing this time for the next 15 years or so, a dog wouldn’t be a good fit for your home.


Considering the exercise your dog will need, you’ll ideally want to find an apartment near a dog park for social activity, or a trail for long walks. Minneapolis has more than a dozen dog parks to choose among, such as Lake of the Isles Dog Park, St. Anthony Parkway Off-Leash Dog Park, and Gateway Dog Park spread across the city, which gives you good odds of finding an apartment that’s convenient for you and your new furry roommate.


If you’re adopting a rescue dog, you can’t select your ideal breed from a host of options. But you can still be smart about which dog to adopt. Setting aside housing restrictions, many breeds and sizes of dogs can be happy living in an apartment. Because they’re relatively lethargic, even dogs as large as great danes can make great apartment companions. Greyhounds and poodles, as well as smaller dogs like terriers, pugs, corgis, and bulldogs are all great options for renters, too. What’s most important is that you get to know your potential pup before adoption, including activity and anxiety levels, to make sure it’s a good fit for size of your apartment and your lifestyle. Otherwise, you could end up with a depressed dog and destroyed decor.

Adopting a dog as a renter means you’re in for a loyal companion and roommate — as long as you do your due diligence before finalizing the adoption. Even before you start picking out names or looking up local shelters, consider the above five factors to ensure it’s a good move for you and your pup. After that, head to our Adoptable Pets page or email dogs@twincitiespetrescue.org to meet your new best friend.