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A Realistic Renter's Guide to Getting a Dog | 10 Things to Consider

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Boston’s known for some great things. But renting with a pooch? Not one of them.

According to, Boston ranks #14 on a list of 25 of the most pet friendly cities. While a reported 9% of apartment buildings rent to small dogs, only 1% will let you in with a larger breed. That means moving in with your St. Bernese Mountain dog may have to wait.

The good news is, it’s getting better.  Apartment complexes like Troy Boston, One North of Boston, The Viridian and the Greenhouse have begun to cater to the area pet-owners.  These high end complexes offer things like dog walking, pet sitting and salon services to their residents. Troy even features an indoor running track. Christopher Columbus Plaza Apartments in Boston allow small breed pups at a more moderate price tag. Barclay on Beacon and Dexter Park in Brookline and Loft 63 in Cambridge will let you bring your best friend- so long as their under 20 lbs.

If you’re already a dog-parent, you know many times there is no price to bringing Fido wherever you go next. But if you’re considering adopting a dog, and plan to rent in Boston a bit longer, here are 10-things you should consider before making that leap.


  1. Expect Higher Rents and Pet Fees.
    Most of these new buildings that accept dogs, including the older apartment buildings, call themselves Luxury Communities and price themselves accordingly. Did you know there is also such a thing as “pet rent”? Well, there is. Due to the wear and tear a pet can produce on your place, apartment buildings and landlords may tack on “pet fees” as a way to justify the additional maintenance needed to operate a building with pet fur, noise and you know, “accidents”.  Many communities offer covered pet relief areas for rainy days and DIY Grooming stations as part of the amenities included with the higher rents. Though it may cost more, consider it an investment in your quality of life with your pooch!

  2. Deposits and Damages.
    Speaking of accidents, does the place you're considering have carpets? Paired with long hours at work, an illness or tail-wagging that tends to knock things over, your security deposit may be needed to cover the replacement of carpets at the end of your stay.

  3. Your schedule.
    Do you put in long hours at the office? If you do, consider that your pet will put those in, too. Alone. Make sure you research the cost of a dog walking service or doggie day care to counteract what may be long days at home for your dog. Training time and effort should also play a part in your schedule division.

  4. Breed. Did you know that some breeds of dogs like Akitas and Pit Bulls (American Staffordshire Terriers) are not permitted in most rental or condo buildings? Breed plays a part in size, temperament, attention and training needed, etc. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Animal Planet’s website offers a Dog Breed Selector quiz that can help you determine your perfect match!  

  5. Vet costs.
    While at this point you may be able to swing the pet fees, the additional services and the food- do not be quick to overlook the cost of keeping him healthy.  Just like people, an unexpected medical procedure can run you thousands of dollars at the blink of an eye. Try to consider this as something you could run into at some point within their life. offers a great pet-cost calculator to help you understand what you’re really getting into.

  6. Your household.
    Do you have a roommate? A spouse? A live-in partner? Have you asked them their thoughts on this potential housemate? While your spouse or partner may be on-board, you don’t want to spring this new member on someone you simply live with. Even if you’re planning to move in with a friend, make sure they know you’re toying with the idea of bringing a dog onto the lease. You will have to talk about how the bills will be divided up if the dog is yours, they could have an allergy you don’t know about- you don’t know. Make sure you’re open with them about your plans before the decision to live together.
    Equally important, make sure you have a clear discussion of who the dog is going to go with if something doesn’t work out in the end.

  7. Are you thinking of starting a family soon?
    Along with unconditional love and affection, dogs can often be practice for people planning to have a family someday. If someday comes sooner than later, make sure your pooch still fits in that vision.

  8. Is there a dog park nearby?
    While this is not imperative to have a dog oasis within walking distance, it would be nice.  Those doggie water-dishes, baggy dispensers and gated enclosures don’t seem like much, but when you’ll appreciate them big time if they’re there. Like kids, k-9 companions need a place to let out their energy from time to time. Wouldn’t it be nice if that place was something built with dogs in mind? is a great resource for checking where the closest attractions are in any given neighborhood.

  9. Are there other alternatives?
    Don’t laugh, but you can rent a dog. Apps like Rover allow you to connect with owners of dogs in the community who may need an afternoon of pet-sitting, or want their dogs to experience a day of play while their off on other obligations. If you’re not going to be able to dedicate the time then connect with friends, relatives and now other people in your area who may need you to help with their best friend when they’re tied up!

  10. Ask your friends!
    What better way to figure out what will and won’t work for your life with a dog than asking your friends who have similar lifestyles. There is no better way to consider every angle than asking other urbanites still renting in your area why or why not they got a pooch. Remember, getting a dog is going to be a big commitment. Just like a roommate, you want to be conscience they won’t do too much damage on your apartment, purse and/or eat your shoes.


There’s a reason they call them “man’s best friend”! Dogs can bring out the best in you, but always considering the facts before you make the jump to pet-parent can never hurt.

If you do have a pooch and are looking to make a move soon, let us know! We’re great at finding pet-friendly properties throughout the Boston area. We can help guide you through the process of renting with a pet as well as offer great advice when it comes to pet-service vendors in the area, because we’re one of the few offices with our favorite pet, Nala, on staff! Email us anytime at