The Best Apartment Pets & How to Care for Them

Updated January 12, 2021
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A substantial percentage of renters have pets, and this may be due to many factors. Renters are often younger, unmarried, and without children—thus the desire to have an adorable little animal to care for. Renters often look for apartments that allow pets because obviously, your pet is family, and they need to ensure their whole family gets to move and be welcome with open arms.

What kind of pet renters have depends on what the building allows, of course, the level of maintenance, and how much space the animal needs. This is why you’ll more often than not see small dogs and cats as one of the main pets chosen by renters. Larger dogs need a bit more space, like a backyard, to run around in quickly and easily. However, there are dozens of other small, low-maintenance animals that can be great pets in your apartment.


Big and small dogs alike can make great apartment dogs. Actually, Great Danes are some of the best, thanks to their calm demeanor and docile attitude. However, most apartments will allow small dogs weighing 25 pounds or less. made a handy chart rating dogs on a scale of 1 to 15, from 15 being the best to 1 being the worst apartment-friendly breeds. Those breeds are:

  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chihuahua
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Basenji
  • Whippet
  • Welsh Corgi
  • Bulldog
  • Dachshund
  • Standard Poodle
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Mastiff
  • Greyhound
  • Great Dane

It’s important to give your dog still plenty of attention, time outside, plenty of walks, and trips to the dog park. If your lifestyle does not allow for giving your puppy pal enough attention, and they are stuck in a tiny apartment for hours, it may not be the best option for you. But that’s ok! There are plenty more pets to consider.


Cats are small, independent, don’t have to go outside, and very quiet. They are mostly considered low-maintenance, but any real cat owners know their little personalities still make them pretty needy and attention-seeking—but in the best way. They can make incredible companions for renters and homeowners alike.

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You’ll need a well-ventilated place to put their litter boxes. Many people put them in the bathroom or in a customer credenza that hides the litter boxes in plain sight while ensuring they don’t smell. Plus, they love to look out the window, so make sure your little kitty has a cat tree or window hammock so they can enjoy the sunshine. They can be left alone for hours and will sleep the day away in the sun. Popular breeds include Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Exotic and Domestic Shorthairs, and many mixed breeds you can rescue from local shelters.


First-time pet owners can benefit greatly from having something as small as a goldfish to take care of. They require some slight maintenance, though, and even more if you are going to have saltwater fish. Check the water’s pH balance, feed them the appropriate amount, give them a name, and there you have a simple pet that won’t take up hardly any room!

Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rats

Small rodents take up just a small area of space, and these animals like hamsters, gerbils, rats, and guinea pigs are incredibly sweet and snuggly. Plus, rats are one of the smartest animals and can be easily trained to do little tricks! They’ll love you forever, as long as their little lives will last.

Despite many unfortunate myths, rats and other rodents are super clean animals. Just make sure to help them out and keep their cages clean so they can live a happy, comfortable life! A one-floor apartment also makes for the perfect place for your hamster to hop in his ball and travel around the house for some exercise and adventure.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs don’t need a lot to be happy. They need a clean, air-filled tank with some sand and seashells. Some clean food and water dishes—they love to eat leafy greens, carrots, and non-citrus fruits in addition to their hermit-crab pellet food. Plus, they love having friends. They actually thrive in groups, so pick up a couple of hermit crab buddies for your tank (make sure it’s large enough), and they will play and eat and snuggle up in a pile with their tank mates.


Rabbits can make for a great apartment pet to have. Like the other rodents we walked about, they are wildly smart and can be both litter and leash trained. They don’t need a ton of room, and in fact, spend a lot of their time living in their little rabbit enclosure/crate. They are also not nocturnal, so they’ll be active in the morning and evenings with you and nap in the daytime. The perfect little animal. Just keep their cages clean, so they don’t stink, and the rabbits can live in a nice clean apartment of their own.


Now, before you freak out, snakes are great apartment pets. The same goes for tarantulas. They require a small air-filled tank with some logs and a heat lamp so they can sunbathe but then coil up inside to sleep. Some popular breeds of snakes that are very docile and will even be held or carried around are corn snakes, ball pythons, and rosy boas.

The tough part can be feeding time, where snakes will need to eat small mice most likely, but pet stores will often sell them pre-frozen for a less morbid feeding time. The good part is that some snakes will only need to eat once or twice a week or even every other week.

Luckily for any aspiring or existing pet owner, most of Bigos’ properties are both dog and cat friendly, and ask us about any of your other small apartment-friendly pets! Our amenities include outdoor spaces to walk your dogs and play in the courtyard, as well as pet groomers and assistance with pet-sitting services. For more information, give us a call!

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