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The Best Pets to Own in an Apartment

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Pets in Apartments

Although many people think that when you live in an apartment, you options for pets is pretty slim to none, well that's really not the case. There are many animals that can live happily in apartments, just as long as you know how to properly care for them.

I mean, you can even keep dogs in apartments, just as long as you still give them the proper exercise that some breeds require.

The main thing that you want to make sure is that you check with your apartment to make sure that pets are allowed, and if so what pets are not allowed in the apartments. Some complexes allow pets, but may restrictions as to what exactly you can have.

I had a friend, who had to have the apartment manager see all of his pets to decide whether or not he could keep them in the apartment or not because she wasn't sure what some of them were. So keep this in mind before bringing an animal into your apartment to find that it is not allowed and you have to find another home. This really can stress out a pet.

You also want to make sure that you can afford the initial pet deposit plus the typical monthly pet fee that are generally associated with having a pet in an apartment.

Below, is an incomplete listing as to pets that you can keep in apartments, if you have anything that you want to add, please feel free to add your opinions and thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the page. I'm sure there will be a number of animals that I will forget and leave out.

Flickr Image by prophet_of_rage

Flickr Image by prophet_of_rage


I'm going to start with simple upkeep and move my way up the ladder to the more complicated pet.

Fish are simple, and you typically don't have to pay a pet deposit, unless maybe you want to start a really big fish tank and the complex is worried about a leak. You just want to ask the apartment manager first.

The options of what types of fish you want are pretty much endless as long as you make sure that whatever fish you choose get along. IE you don't want to have aggressive fish housed with community fish.

You can opt for a freshwater aquarium or a saltwater aquarium. I, personally, wouldn't go for a saltwater aquarium unless you have freshwater aquarium experience. If you don't and you really want a saltwater tank, I'd go small.


Reptiles and Amphibians

You can opt for a number of different reptiles and amphibians from small to large. Either way, most apartments will allow reptiles. You just really want to check with your apartment manager before bringing something like a Burmese Python or whatnot into the apartment.

You may want to consider the following small to medium sized reptiles and amphibians for your apartment to get yourself started:

  • Frogs or toads
  • Anoles
  • Leopard Geckos
  • Crested Geckos
  • African Fat Tail Geckos
  • Gargoyle Geckos
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Blue Tongued Skink
  • Uromastyx
  • Ball Python
  • Corn snake
  • Kingsnake
  • Milk snake
Flickr Image by Crenshaw1979

Flickr Image by Crenshaw1979

Flickr Image by Mrowka

Flickr Image by Mrowka


When it comes to birds, you want to make sure that you get a smaller bird that doesn't make a lot of noise, meaning a huge parrot or macaw probably isn't the best bird to have in an apartment.

Remember that the walls in apartments are thin, and you don't want complaints from a loud squawking bird.

Some of the birds you may want to consider, can include:

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  • Finches
  • Canaries
  • African Grays (chatty but not loud)
  • Senagals
  • Meyers
  • Pionus
  • Brownheads

Moderately loud and loud birds can include:

  • Alexandrines
  • Hawkheads
  • Amazons
  • Ringnecks
  • Lories
  • Eclectus parrots
  • Lovebirds
  • Cockatiels
  • Quakers
  • Budgies
  • Parrotlets
  • Cockatoos
  • Macaws
  • Conures

Small, Exotic Animals

The small animal pets can be a little bit more to take care of when compared to fish or reptiles, but small animals can be a great apartment pet. There are a few that you can choose from, you just want to make sure that whatever exotic pet that you are considering, is legal in your state.

Some pets that you may want to consider include:

  • Hamsters and gerbils
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Mice
  • Rats

Pets that may be illegal can include:

  • Ferrets
  • Chinchillas
  • Degus
  • Hedgehogs
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Skunks

Remember to always do research before you purchase a pet.

Flickr Image by Halo Efekti

Flickr Image by Halo Efekti


Cats are a great apartment pet. They don't require a lot of extra care in terms of training. Just as long as you can keep them from scratching up the furniture and whatnot.

Cats are relatively small and they do not require a lot of extra space. You can easily keep two cats in a small apartment; because remember cats love company.



There are actually a number of dogs that work well in apartments, and where you may think that's only small dogs can live happily in an apartment, you're actually wrong.

Besides small breeds, here are a few other dog breeds that you can consider living in an apartment can include:

  • Basset Hound
  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Corgi
  • Greyhounds
  • Poodles
  • Standard Schnauzer

Just remember that when living in an apartment with a dog, you want to make sure that you still keep up regular exercise, walking, and care.


Deborah Minter from U.S, California on April 07, 2018:

I love keeping my fish ..... Good article!

Emi on May 22, 2013:

List of animals for apartments:

birds (bugies ext.)


small dog

small cats


rats (hamsters ext.)

lizards (ext.)






insects (bugs)

Hope this helps :)

Ricky on April 14, 2013:

Chameleon's are great pets there very com and their very slow I think it's a great pet and their's so many speceies !!!!!!!!!!

robert on January 19, 2013:

you suggest a basset hound and greyhound for an apartment...irresponsible, stupid and selfish

Kim from Texas on January 18, 2013:

Some apartments won`t require a deposit for cage pets. Our complex asks for a basic description of most pets so they can get them to you if they get out, but our birds, fish and rabbit required no deposit. Cats and dogs generally always require a deposit, as they have habits of getting destructive if bored or left in the house to long.

janette on October 01, 2012:

I have four budgies (parakeets) two ferrets and five fish (2 bettas, 3 goldfish) and may be one more probably a cockatiel. Found the ferrets to be the most fun. Great for children ages 5 and up. :-)

Abby S on September 25, 2012:

Gerbils are illegal in California and a few other Western states.

Chipples on March 06, 2012:

gerbil =) i've had mine for 2 yrs & he's so easy to take care of & i have no problems with him. reat pet =)

Brii on February 24, 2012:

I have two cats now and I'm getting a macaw (yes i live in an apartment but only for a few more months after I get the bird in like a year.) I've had two dogs, two other cats who died and a fish named Tazz and another named Sunny who died the week after I got him. My cats didn't go near my fish. Didn't really care about him.

Kelsey on November 11, 2011:

i have found that hermit crabs are also a great pet that don't take up much space. the only noise they make is when they scuttle around their tank and are very low matinence and cost.

bored on September 08, 2011:

Ferrets and bunnies smell.

stella on August 04, 2011:

well I really would like a dog but could u have maby a pig??

johncimble from Bangkok on May 11, 2011:

i would love to own one pet in my apartment but gutted am not allowed :(

Sar on May 05, 2011:

I have a peachface lovebird which we got when he was young and virtually hand raised. He is really great fun and we get him out of his cage for a minimum of 2 hours per day so he can stretch his wings. Also he is really affectionate and will sit on your shoulder/arms/legs/wherever and gives good snuggles :P

He can be a bit loud at times, but typically he is very quiet and will just make soft chirps :)

Samantha on April 30, 2011:

I have two stick insects, they are great as pets and are not at all boring, One of mine is a spiny leaf insect and my is a goliath insect. Do not take them out of the wild as it can upset the balance of there habitat but you can buy them in some pet stores or you can acquire some fom local breeders just google it.

Chathu on April 01, 2011:

I'm agree with u, I have a 12 L fish tank, this is quite easy to handle. I'm wondering wether I can bring a cat to my apartment, little bit worrying when I'm not at home it can eat my fish. :(

brentwilliams2 on December 16, 2010:

I work with a lot of the property management folks, and there is a big trend towards "pet friendly" now, so hopefully you will have even more options!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 15, 2010:

Animals are illegal for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes threat if released into the wild; sometimes for care/diet; sometimes danger to people.

Chinchillas are not illegal in the States, but it's just a good idea to check with state laws before getting an exotic pet.

lessthansign3 from Minneapolis on December 14, 2010:

Chinchillas are illegal somewhere? Are you kidding me?! What are they going to do, be fluffy and roll around in their dust baths at you? So unsafe! LOL!

Okay, now you have me curious to find out what ridicuous place has a chinchilla ban. Haha :)

Eazi on December 12, 2010:

It's all a out personal preferences I say.. What's the meaning of having a pet that you don't enjoy taking care of and playin with...

For me.. I got 4 persian cats.. Cats = cleanest pets..

Jamie-girl on November 08, 2010:

A fish would be an amazing pet for an apartment but would get very boring. I think the best apartment pet is a small dog. They are friendly, kind and loving. You have to get a small dog (lap dog). Some breeds that you should look into are bichon, shitzu, havanese ( which i have and personally think is the best dog in the whole world. They are very loyal and very smart.), chihhuhua ( which have a bad reputation is yappiness which is un true) etc......

I under stad some people aren= not dog people, but what's not to love about a dog? they adapt to your lifestyle and do not smell.... if you clean them:)

Hope this helps:)

Adam on November 03, 2010:


I think any pet can fit into a flat- within reason of course so no horses or ducks haha.

I currently have a bearded dragon in the living room, 2 royal (ball) pythons in my bedroom, 3 leopard gecko's in my bedroom and a chilean rose tarantula in my bedroom. I'm soon going to get two guinea pigs im just trying to asess the snake guinea pig situation to make sure I NEVER get bitten. I think it's okay to have a lot of pets in a flat. Mine don't look out of place, they never smell and actually it makes the place more of a home.

Adam x

kim on September 24, 2010:

i had a pet guinea pig when i was younger, hands down best pet i've ever had, and now that i'm living in an apt i'm considering getting another :)

EllieSan on September 18, 2010:

What about tarantulas? Those are great in apartments too!

anamika on September 14, 2010:

actually i find fish very high mantainance a bird like a cockatiel would be good .depends on you you can judge yourself better *best of luck*

anamika on September 10, 2010:

hey! i personally feel fish or birds would be good but with fish they can die really fast and with birds you cannot get the satisfaction of touching it. they'll make a lot of noise though it depends on the species.hope for best and research to get what you feel is right because you know best remember that . *best of luck*

rachel.htpmv on July 15, 2010:

I've heart that greyhounds are awesome apartment dogs and great big couch potatoes: how excellent! I'm dying to get one :)

Char on June 23, 2010:

I have an African Grey and a Macaw living in an apartment that does have thin walls. I've never had any complaints on either of them. The grey is actually louder more frequently than the macaw. The macaw screams about 2-3 times a day for a total of less than 5 minutes. The grey just gets loud when I'm in the other room and she wants more attention! Overall, both of them are very quiet pets, but I keep a quiet house- there is no screaming, no little kids, tv is never loud, etc. which can contribute to how loud a bird gets!

avey on April 13, 2010:

Just a note, if you're in Canada, rats are illegal to have in Alberta :)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 11, 2010:

A guinea pig. Still ensuring all interations with the pet are monitored.

marley on March 11, 2010:

i have 2 toddlers in the apartment and i am an animal fanatic, i cant figure out what animal would be the best around 2 very little hands any suggestions???

miss'alli on March 07, 2010:

I agree with the maybe-illegal pets. It's good to check just in case .

Amanda on February 25, 2010:

I'll have to disagree on the African Grey as an apartment pet. My family African grey is super loud and also chatty. They like to make loud noises too not just talk. I love mine but she can get annoying while watching tv or concentrating on something. All I have to say is do your research on birds before owning one.

Crazdwriter on September 11, 2009:

Great hub! And I agree there are so many great pets that you can have while living in an apartment.

Jadiee on July 06, 2009:

cats are great to have and you just let them out in the morning and no doubt about it they will be ready to come back in at night ;) for the foood of courseee lol

__anton__ from Palatine, IL on March 22, 2009:

I really like fish as apartment pets. If you spend the time and effort to set up an interesting aquarium it can really add to the look and feel of your place. Plus I find aquariums to be quite calming.

GA-PEACHES on January 23, 2009:

I would have to disagree with you on the salt water tanks to start with. If you start with to small a tank it will make you hate saltwater fish. Go with a medium size if you would want to try it out. They are a lot easier to take care of. I have had a few different sizes from the 20 gallon up to 220 gallon. The bigger the tank the less of a swing in the water which means less dead fish. But on the other animals I do agree with you.

Ryan Hupfer from San Francisco, CA on September 14, 2008:

Another great answer to one of my requests...thanks, Whitney!

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