Whether you’re a cat’s companion or a dog’s best friend, your furball has a special spirit of their own – that’s what makes them such wonderful company! On April 11, we celebrate National Pet Day. Although we love our furry friends, living right next door to a canine’s 5 a.m. bark or underneath the constant sound of scrambling paws isn’t a joy for anyone. If you’re sharing apartment or high-rise space with a pet, here are five petiquette tips to avoid furry friend challenges with the neighbors.

  1. Ask for the First Floor: While living on the ground floor isn’t always be possible due to unit availability, ask for a first floor apartment so that downstairs neighbors avoid the thuds and steps of active animals. If you end up moving into an upstairs unit,  establish a play/sleep schedule so neighbors aren’t disturbed by overactive pets.
  2. Ensure You’re Insured: Even if you have a mild-mannered, well-trained pet, accidents and unexpected occurrences happen. When considering a rental insurance policy, include coverage for pet damages to the unit and other people’s property.
  3. Establish Consistency: Dogs adapt quickly to a regular schedule, so make it a point to maintain regular times for walks, potty breaks, meals, and play. Not only will this regulate their internal clock so that they’re not waking you (not to mention your neighbors) at 3 a.m. Use these training tips from Blue Buffalo, or enlist the help of a professional pet trainer.
  4. Potty Pick-Up: This should go without saying, but please remember to clean up after your pet once they’ve done their business. This means keeping plastic bags with you every time you take your canine companion for a walk, and disposing of cat litter properly. Be a mannerly pet owner and maintain a property free of pet-related debris.
  5. Don’t Forget the Leash: Furry companions, especially canines, are social by nature and want to sniff and greet during their daily walks. Even if your pet is well-trained, other animals may not be as amicable, so keep Fluffy on a leash when you go outside. When taking the elevator with pets or small children, keep your pet close by your side or hold them if their size permits. Finally, when walking down the hall with your pet, stay on the opposite side of any approaching animals or neighbors who may inadvertently appear threatening, or be allergic.

Apartment and high-rise living challenges can be solved for pet owners with proper planning and care, so neighbors can enjoy your pet’s company and ensure peaceful relationships. Follow these five tips for proper petiquette. From our team to yours, happy National Pet Day!

Sharon Schweitzer and Amanda Alden co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Amanda Alden is an intercultural research assistant with Access to Culture. She graduated with honors from St. Edward’s University with a major in Global Studies and a minor in French, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Intercultural Mediations at l’Université de Lille III. Feel free to connect with Amanda at on LinkedIn.

Photo: Flickr