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Brick Underground’s best advice on having pets in New York City

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Just because New Yorkers live in cramped apartments and are some of the busiest people on the planet, that doesn’t mean they don’t have space or time for a pet. In fact, about one in four households in the city have a non-human companion, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

But having a pet in New York City can be tricky. Some buildings don’t allow them at all; others have restrictions on the type or size of pet allowed. A few will even charge extra for the pleasure of coming home to a Felix or Fido.

Here at Brick Underground, we’ve covered just about everything you could want or need to know about owning a pet in the city. Read on for our best advice on the subject.

Becoming a pet owner

Assuming you live in a pet-friendly building, and before signing adoption papers, because it’s better to adopt than to buy an animal, consider the city-run Animal Care Centers of NYC, which takes in strays and abandoned pets and achieved a record 93 percent placement rate in 2017), there are key questions to ask to make sure you’re ready to add a pet to your home.

So you’ve decided to get a dog. First, read these nine questions you must ask before committing to your pooch. Or you have a dog and are thinking about moving? Check out the eight best NYC neighborhoods for dogs.

Hankering for something more exotic (here at Brick we’re pretty tame, with cats, dogs, and hamsters in our homes)? See the seven strange pets you can (maybe) keep in and around your NYC apartment, like … chickens. That makes the farm-to-table trend that much easier to commit to.

Just as you would take steps to protect a new baby from potential hazards, there are steps to take to do the same before you bring home your new furry friend.

Dog walking

If you work and can’t always be home to take your pup out for a poop, a dog walker is the solution. Walkers being pulled by several leashed dogs, usually down Park Avenue, make for great Instagram posts, but there’s more to this profession than meets the eye. Find out the questions to ask and the answers you need to hear when you’re in the market to hire a NYC dog walker. Also, get a first-hand account of what to know about on-demand dog-walking apps from someone who worked as a walker for hire.

Apartment building pet rules

Not every building is amenable to having pets. While management companies and co-op boards are more likely to allow cats as opposed to dogs, there are some buildings that ban both, so read the fine print on your lease or purchase agreement.

Still, some people get away with keeping pets even in a no-pets building. How? Sometimes they simply get lucky and get away with it. Otherwise, read our five (mostly) legit ways to get your landlord to let you have a pet.

Are you a lover of big dogs? This might not necessarily be a problem, even in NYC. Here’s how to find an apartment to buy or rent (and where) if you are an owner of a large pooch.

And sometimes buildings change their policy on pets. In recent years, that has meant an increase in pet-friendly buildings. But sometimes, the opposite can happen. When a building goes from pet-friendly to a no-pet policy, usually existing pets will get grandfathered in. But not always. Check out our expert answers for when this happened to a reader. And if you’re in a building that is considering adding a pet policy, here’s an article on how to write one.

Being a good pet owner (and neighbor)

Once you have your pet installed (legally) in your apartment, it’s time to make sure they adjust well to their new home. Most animals transition just fine. But some may suffer from anxiety or aggressiveness. Or boredom. Particularly cats. Before putting your furry friend on pet Prozac, here are four crucial tactics for calming down your NYC apartment cat.

Getting along with the new neighbors can also cause a bit of drama. I went to pet a dog who was a recent addition to our building and simply by moving toward him, set him off into a frenzy. He’s a rescue dog and is still skittish around people, the owner explained, apologetically. I felt terrible. Sometimes, though, neighbors can be less forgiving, especially if the animal is still adjusting to its new home. (Think dogs barking endlessly when the owner leaves.) Check out how to introduce your new pet to the neighbors—and keep the peace.

Service animals

There's been plenty written about the increase in service animals that people sometimes abuse to get their pets onto planes or into non-pet buildings. But that just makes it harder for the legitimate requests and needs of people who depend on their pets for various means of support. Here are three steps to take if your non-pet building receives a request for a service animal.

Pet products

Finally, we have to talk about products. Some pet owners go the extra distance and have pet-friendly spaces built into their homes when they’re renovating. That’s nice, but not everyone can afford that luxury. There’s also the issue of finding space in your place for your new friend’s necessities. Here are five pet-friendly apartment additions that won’t clutter up your place. And check out these 13 NYC dog accessories that are as much for you as for your pooch.