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The Best Small Pets for an Apartment

By Edited Jun 14, 2016 1 2

You can have a pet even if you don't own a home.

Many people choose to live in apartments for different reasons.  Apartments are usually low priced to rent compared to houses.  Also, your maintenance is usually taken care of for you.  Plus, there are usually activities and some social events.  Apartment living can be really fun and practical.  However, some people really love animals.  Plenty of people believe you can't have a pet while living in an apartment and this prevents them from moving to an apartment.  This is just simply not the case!  You can have pets in most apartment buildings.

When you are deciding on an apartment, make sure to ask if pets are allowed in the building, and if so, what type?  You don't want to move into an apartment if you already have a dog and no dogs are allowed.  You should also inquire about pet rent.  Some apartments charge extra rent per pet.  Many apartment buildings do not allow dogs.  Some apartment buildings do not allow cats.  However, most apartment buildings do allow small pets.   Furthermore, you typically do not have to pay pet rent for smaller animals, so by far, they are the best pets to have in apartments.

If you've always been a cat or dog person, switching to a new type of pet can be confusing.  Trust me, most pets are cute and affectionate.  There is no need to be sad about not having a cat or dog.  Many wonderful small pets are just waiting to be adopted, too.

Rodents are great pets!



You may be wondering right about now, "How lovable can a rodent possibly be?"  Well, the answer is simple: very lovable!  You can have your pick of rodents when you go to any pet store.  There are mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs.  Each one is great for an apartment.  All of these rodents learn to love their owners and respond when someone walks in a room.

As far as which one you should pick, there are some differences.  For instance, just about all rodents like to be kept in pairs, except most breeds of hamsters.   If you only want one pet, the hamster is the best one.  They love running in the wheel and the hamster ball.  You can even potty train them to go in one corner of the cage.  You also do want to consider life span.  Rodents do not live that long.  Mice live the shortest amount of time at 1 year and guinea pigs live the longest at about 5 - 8 years. 

Rodents are the best pets for people who are on the go a lot during the day, but home at night.  All rodents are nocturnal, and if you are a light sleeper, you will want to invest in a silent wheel.  They sure do love to run all night.  Also, remember they like to escape as well.  If you don't think you can handle an adorable little animal roaming around at night, rodents might not be for you.

Birds are wonderful companions!



If you want a pet that interacts with you, a bird might be your best bet.  Birds are extremely intelligent and can learn several tricks.  If you are lucky, you might even be able to teach your bird to talk.  Birds do require a lot of time to train, so do not get a bird unless you can make that commitment.   Some birds that are perfect for the apartment are: parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, canaries, and finches.  Yes, there are bigger birds like cockatoos and parrots.  If you are buying a bird for the first time, I would not recommend them.  They are very demanding and not good for a beginner.

When deciding on a bird, make sure your apartment is not too drafty.  Birds should be kept away from drafts, as well as the kitchen.  When buying a cage, make sure to get a cage that is big enough for the bird to fly and get plenty of exercise.  If you are getting two birds, do not stick them in a small cage, no matter what the kid at the pet shop tells you.  They need their space.  Also, you may get to a point with your pet when you feel you can leave the cage door open and the bird can have some freedom.  You still need to monitor your bird's activities.

If you are not interested in training a bird or having it fly around the apartment, you can still have birds.  Finches and canaries do not require any real training.  At the same time, they will not interact with you on the level that other birds will.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with that.  Finches and canarie are wonderful birds and very entertaining.  Just make sure to get them in pairs. 

Fish make swimmingly nice pets.



If you've read this and decided rodents and birds are still not for you, I would suggest fish.  Fish are beautiful creatures.  They are fairly undemanding and also not too expensive.  For a beginner, I would recommend getting a tank that is 2 to 10 gallons.  You can see if you like having fish as pets before you commit to anything larger than that.

Some people will tell you goldfish are great starter pets.  This is not always the case.  Goldfish are extremely messy fish and they tend to outgrow tanks quickly.  For your first fish, if you only want one, you should try a betta fish.  You can buy him a nice 2 gallon tank with a filter.  Betta fish are beautiful, but they are fighting fish and must not have any companions.  Once again, the people at the pet store may try to tell you to put them in a little bowl.  This is not accurate.  Just because they keep them in little bowls at the pet store does not make it right.  Bettas need to be able to swim and they eat betta fish food.  It is cruel to put them in a tiny bowl and stick a plant in with them.  Bettas do not eat plants.  Nor do they live very long in this situation.  The people at the pet store just want you to buy more betta fish; if they keep giving you bad advice your fish won't live that long.  Don't turn into a returning customer!

If you want a number of fish, you should try getting a 5 gallon or 10 gallon aquarium.  Some fish that are perfect for starting a tank are: guppies, platties, mollies, and tetras.  Make sure not to get a bunch of fish at once.  The tank has to be set up for a while before you can put too many fish in it.  Try gradually adding fish over time.  Also, the general rule with fish is 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water.  Keep that in mind while buying fish.  Never forget to buy a filter.  A filter will save you a lot of time and energy by keeping the tank clean.  You will only have to clean it about once a month, and even then, don't remove all the water.  You only want to remove about 1/4th of it so the environment will stay healthy for the fish.

Other cute animals

Hopefully, you are now on your way to pet ownership even if you live in an apartment.  Perhaps you are still not sold on the pets listed here.  You can also give lizards, turtles, chinchillas, or rabbits a try. They are not listed here since they can be a little "smelly" for a small apartment.  If you have a large apartment and you can give them their own room, they may be the perfect little pet for you. 

Animals help make our days a little brighter and keep us company.  Pets love us no matter what and you should be able to experience that even if you do live in an apartment.  So have a great day and enjoy apartment living with your new pet!



Aug 28, 2011 7:08pm
I know many people don't consider fish as real pets but I think they look amazing in an apartment; it adds style plus it is so relaxing to look at them after a hard day at work.
Aug 29, 2011 7:23pm
Yes, I agree. Fish can be such entertaining pets. They will also swim over to the glass if you go to their tank. A fish tank can be very relaxing to watch, too. Thanks for the comment!
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