How to Minimize Your Dog's Impact on a Rental Property


When you love your dog, you wouldn't dream of ditching them for a new rental property that isn't pet-friendly. As a responsible tenant and pet owner, you always make sure to find a new place with a reasonable pet agreement in the lease and you're more than willing to pay an extra deposit promising you and your dog will treat the property well. But what do you do if a landlord or property manager won't allow your dog unless you promise there won't be a single sign of your furry friend after you leave? If your pet is well-behaved, then you are safe to make this promise as long as you take the necessary precautions to control the usual troubles like scratched floors, dog-smell, and shedding into the carpets. Here's your 101 on how to be a responsible tenant and keep your landlord and property manager happy with your whisper-quiet canine companion.

1) Bath Time Every Week

When your landlord or property manager is particularly touchy about dogs, probably their biggest concern is that the house not smell like dog when you move out. Some people are very sensitive to this smell and it can cause non-dog-owners to pass on the property later on. While your furry friend can't help but smell like what they are, as a responsible tenant you can reduce the amount that smell gets into the house with regular baths.

Bath time needs to happen about once a week and any time your dog gets especially dirty from a romp outside. Make sure to use a mild-smelling shampoo and work it all the way down to the skin, being careful around the ears, face, and paws. Always rinse thoroughly and towel dry. If your dog has never been comfortable with baths, it can help to have a baggie of treats on hand and you may want to sit in the tub with them for supportive (if soapy) cuddling during the process.

2) Short Nails

After every bath time, while their nails are still a little softened, it's time to clip. Long dog nails are a major problem in homes with wood floors and can sometimes even rip holes in linoleum or scratch softer tiles. For this reason, you need to keep your dog's nails short enough that they don't touch the ground when your pet walks around. If the nails were long before, it's important to only clip a small amount each week so as not to cut to the quick, a sensitive part of the nail, which bleeds but also gets shorter after a proper cut.

Dogs are also usually pretty sensitive about their paws and nail treatments so the bath time treats are helpful here as well. Depending on your pup's temperament, you may want to do one or two paws at a time, take a break, then come back to the task when they've calmed down a little.

3) Shedding Control

Dog fur is insidious. During shedding time, which can be all year for some breeds, it gets into absolutely everything from the carpet to the air vents. Residual dog hairs embedded or lodged into unseen places can cause later allergic tenants to become absolutely miserable, which is likely one of the reasons your landlord was hesitant about your companion in the first place. In order to mitigate this problem, your job is to get all that loose shed fur off your dog and out of the house as efficiently as possible.

To do this, you'll want to brush thoroughly about once a day during shedding time and twice a week otherwise. Start by laying down a sheet to catch all the falling fur. While backs are the typical area brushed, make sure to get their full underbelly, under the chin, the backs of their legs, and all the way down the tail as well.

4) Steam Cleaning

A steam cleaner is a quick and efficient way to lightly shampoo a carpet, then suck up all the dirt, grime, and pet dander that has fallen into the fibers over time. They work by first spraying warm soapy water from one chamber into the carpets in an even distribution, then sucking it up like a vacuum into another chamber. Your goal is to do this until the water is mostly clear when you dump it out.

This can take several rounds depending on how long it's been since the last steam cleaning. Renting a steam cleaner (at about $30 for 24 hours) once every three months is more than sufficient to prevent ambient dog smell and allergens out of the carpets. You may also want to do this right after moving in for a baseline.

If you follow all of these steps carefully and make sure to clean up any incidental messes, your landlord and property manager are very likely to be pleasantly surprised by the total lack of evidence that you ever had a dog in their property when it's time to move on. This is also a great way to get your pet-deposit back if it's the refundable sort.




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