House Hunting Tips for Big Dog Owners

Finding the next great apartment or house to live in can already be a bit of a hassle. From finding the right neighborhood to square footage to a front patio that faces north, there are a number of variables that play a role. But what about finding the right home when you have a big dog?

Whether you have a 100-pound boxer or Great Dane, having a large dog can put a bit of a kink in your home hunting. And while Renting with a dog already requires some strategy, there may be size and weight limits for your pooch. Even pet-friendly landlords will have certain restrictions that you need to work with.

So, if you own a large dog, what are your options?

Single-Family Rentals

Large apartment complexes are usually likely to have size and breed restrictions in their pet policies. Examples include not permitting dogs over 50 pounds or breeds such as pit bulls, Akitas, and rottweilers. Landlords of individually-owned properties are more likely to be flexible in their pet policies as they aren’t governed by a corporate rulebook and can at least be approached to have a conversation about bringing in your large dog.

Prepare Your Documents Early

It’s important to have your documents, such as vaccination records and obedience training, lined up when submitting an application. In addition to this, ask your landlord or veterinarian to write a letter of reference for your dog as this will help to vouch for your pet’s behavior and health.

Another document you can submit that shows responsibility is a Renters Insurance policy. While having renter’s insurance is a must no matter where you live, by showing you have coverage you’re demonstrating your responsibility and transparency. Being organized early on will keep you from potential coverage and document hassles during the rental process.

Be Flexible

Finding a rental unit with a large dog may require you to show some patience and be flexible in your search. It’s important to understand that you may be required to pay additional fees and deposits on top of possibly paying month-to-month if your landlord gives you a trial run. Follow the guidelines your landlord puts down to show that you and your dog present no issues and are willing to work within the restrictions and expectations.

Advocacy Groups

One thing that will help with your search is knowing that your situation is not unique to you. There are other home searchers who love and own a big dog or two as well, putting them in the same boat. Thankfully, there are resources available to pet owners who can track down pet-friendly housing openings, such as The Humane Society of the United States, which helps pet owners find rental housing options. Also, local animal shelters can be helpful in finding communities that are accepting of certain breeds and sizes of dogs.

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