It used to be having a pet was a relatively easy thing when you were living in a house that you owned. But in today’s age where people have the option of owning or renting out a condominium unit, being a pet-owner can sometimes get complicated, whether your pet is a giant Dane or a small goldfish.

Unfortunately, a number of condominiums don’t allow having pets inside their buildings, usually due to neighbors complaining about the noise or pet owners not cleaning up after their dogs in the elevator or building corridors. This doesn’t mean that all condos disallow their occupants from having pets, so it would be best if you ask what the building policy is on pet-ownership when looking for a condo unit. At the most, they may forbid your little sweetheart from living with you; at the least, they may allow small animals only.

For example, DMCI developments supposedly allow pets though this may vary from property to property. On the other hand, other condos disallow keeping pets on the premises, but they aren’t that strict about it. Some examples of condos that reportedly allow pets on the premises are the older ones in Ortigas and Makati, perhaps because these condominiums are larger and property management less strict. For example, The Alexandra Condominium in Ortigas allows occupants to keep either two small dogs or one big dog, and they’ve even set up a small dog park on their grounds.

Regardless of whether or not a condo allows you to keep a pet officially (or you’re keeping one on the sly), it’s always best to follow certain pet-ownership rules when you’re staying in a condo. This is because your condo—whether you’re renting or you own the unit—share too many common areas with your neighbors and you don’t want your dog leaving doggie-poo landmines in the elevator.

What’s more, living in a condo means that your next door neighbors aren’t just around you, they’re also living below and over your unit. So if your condo doesn’t allow you to keep pets, expect a barrage of complaints once it’s discovered that you’re keeping a pet inside the unit. Or if they do allow you to keep it, make sure your neighbors don’t get a whiff of au de cat piss whenever the wind blows through your balcony.

At the very least, you don’t want to be considered as the jerk neighbor everyone keeps talking about during condominium Christmas parties. At the very worst, you could face a petition filed by your neighbors to the condo’s board of officers to evict you from the building.

lazy house cat

Here are the 10 commandments for pet-ownership in condos:

1. Clean up Your Mess

Whether it’s your unit or in the common areas, you need to clean up when you’re walking your dog. Remember: plastic bags are your friend and they’ll come in handy to pick up dog poo when you’re walking your dogs. Nobody likes having to encounter dog poo on the sidewalk or smelling it when they pass by your unit. This also applies to your cat’s kitty litter pan or your hamster’s cage.

2. Housebreak Your Pets

Related to no. 1, make sure you teach your dog or your cat where to do their toilet when they’re inside the condo unit. Trust us, the smell has a tendency to stick to the walls and furniture of your condo.

3. Keep It Clean

Related to no. 2, your dog or cat will want to mark their territory and that includes your condo. Make sure you scrub the walls and your furniture with extra-strong soap or else the smell will forever stick. You’ll also need to vacuum thoroughly as dogs and cats shed a lot of hair. If you can, give your pets a bath and dry them thoroughly unless you want your condo to constantly smell of wet dog fur. If you can’t give your pets a bath (e.g. hamsters, birds, rabbits, fish), make sure their homes are also clean.

4. Secure Your Pets

When you’re walking your dog, make sure you keep them on a short leash so that they don’t run around and scare your neighbors. Likewise, make sure your smaller pets (like mice or gerbils) don’t get loose and escape in to the cranny confines of the condo walls as you don’t want them breeding loose. On the other hand, if you live on the higher floors of your building, make sure your cat doesn’t fall off the balcony.

5. Polite Is Good, Training Is Better

If you can, get your dogs trained. It will definitely annoy your neighbors if they keep barking at the slightest provocation, whether inside your unit or when you’re taking them for a walk. Even small dogs can be very noisy inside enclosed spaces. Make sure they don’t run up to anyone or jump on them as not all people are dog-friendly. On the other hand, don’t put them on your balcony to do their toilet because you’re too lazy to walk them. Train them to wait until you go down for your daily walk.

6. Routine Is Important

Related to no. 5, it’s your job to teach your dog that you’ll walk them downstairs twice a day and that’s when they can take a leak or poop. It may be that they can’t avoid peeing while inside your condo but at least you’ll lessen the chances.

7. Exercise Is Important

Related to no. 6, keep your pets healthy by exercising them as much as you can. Big dogs need a lot of leg room, which they won’t find in a condo unit. Let them run for a bit when you walk them downstairs. On the other hand, give your cats a scratching post. At the least, they’ll be tired out such that they won’t wreak havoc on your couch.

Husky puppy

8. Socialize Your Pets

Given the proximity of people and sometimes other pets in a condo building or in the common areas, it would be best if your pet is used to meeting other people or pets. At the least, it would keep them from barking all the time. At the most, it would prevent fights between dogs.

9. Don’t Leave ’em Lonely, Make Time for ’em

If you’re always out of the condo unit, rethink the idea of having a pet in your home. Your pets also get lonely and it would be cruel to leave them alone for most of the day. Don’t be surprised if you come home and you find they’ve chewed up the furniture and done their toilet all over the rug. Your pets’ needs are simple to understand: bond with them so that they won’t misbehave.

10. Have a Pet-friendly Home

You don’t have to redesign your condo so that you’ll have a pet-friendly or even a pet-safe unit. Just keep in mind that that you’ll need to have some open floor space available. Likewise, keep away anything that’s small and chewable/scratchable, especially if they’re valuable or important to you. Lastly, your pets need a place of their own where they can sleep or play, like a small basket with all their toys and food bowl nearby.

One last thing: there’s a certain assumption that it’s best to have a small dog in a condo unit as compared to a big dog. While it’s true that smaller dogs don’t need as much space or exercise, it’s not that easy to generalize.

For example, Greyhounds and NewFoundlands are big dogs but staid while a small Fox Terrier rather energetic. So being a “big” dog isn’t a deal-breaker if you’re living in a condo unit. Rather, they should have the right amount of exercise.

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