You’re out on your own for the first time, and everything is exciting and new. You have your own place with a roommate, and maybe, just maybe, you can finally get that dog you’ve always wanted.
Before you rush out to the nearest pet rescue, you need to sit down and have a talk with your roommates. Making sure everyone is on the same page will prevent drama and communication breakdowns that make living with roommates difficult.
We’ve put together some tips for the etiquette of owning a pet when you have roommates. It’s important to note that these tips hold true even after college in any roommate situation.
Talk To Your Roommate First
Open communication is essential in maintaining a good roommate situation. If you have a pet prior to moving in, your roommates should be informed. If you have decided you want a pet after moving in, it’s time to sit down and have a discussion with the other people living in the house or apartment.
- First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your apartment or house allows pets.
- Next, you need to find out if anyone has allergies, if anyone there has problems living with animals due to a phobia, or if they just prefer a pet-free environment.
“Sometimes as pet lovers, we can be blind to the fact that not everyone feels the same way as us.”
If everyone agrees to move forward, you also need to agree about who the primary owner is. If this was your idea, certainly, the pet is yours; however, if this was a joint decision, you will need to decide who the pet will live with when you all eventually move out.
Come Up With Some Ground Rules
Before you move a dog or any other pet into your shared home, sit down and hash out some rules for pet care and where the animal is allowed to go.
- You should agree ahead of time on any rooms the animal is not allowed into. Some roommates may not mind having a cat or dog in the house but may not want it in their room. It’s important to respect their boundaries to keep your living situation harmonious.
- If this is a shared pet, then dog-walking, poop-scooping, and grooming duties should all be shared. You can even make a written schedule to keep everyone responsible.
- Agree about how you will all split the costs. Consider setting up an account of pooled funds specifically for pet care.
- Agree on who is responsible for getting the pet’s food. Using a high quality online dog food delivery company like Hungry Bark helps make sure your dog has food, supplements and protein toppings.
If this is only your pet, then all of these duties fall to you. You may have roommates who have no problems pitching in, but don’t assume they will always be there to help. You will also be responsible for all of the associated costs.
Go Above And Beyond
This is especially important if the pet in question is yours. If you have an animal, like a dog or cat, that sheds, make it your responsibility to vacuum and dust. Keep their feeding area clean and neat and their toys picked up when they are done playing with them.
“Your roommates will appreciate this and will look more favorably upon your dog or cat.”
If you have a dog, make sure it’s well trained. Training a dog is beneficial for you and the dog. It burns off excess energy, makes your dog much easier to handle, and keeps your roommates satisfied with the living situation.
A jumpy dog with a habit of tearing things up isn’t what most people want to live with. Be proactive in training your dog, so they know what is expected of them. An untrained, unruly dog is not the dog’s fault, and they should not have to suffer.
As long as everyone is onboard, having pets and roommates should go smoothly. If boundaries are respected, even reluctant roommates will hop on board and start to wonder what they did without their new, furry roommate.