Emotional Support Animals

Pet Connect Tips: How To Have a Dog in an Apartment

couple hugging their golden lab

Emotional support animals (ESA) like dogs offer great comfort and companionship to individuals with mental and physical health issues. This blog aims to enlighten readers about all processes and steps involved in learning how to have a dog in an apartment with a “no pets allowed” policy. Learn more about how you can live comfortably in ESA apartments by reading this full article. 

How To Have a Dog in an Apartment With a ‘No Pets Allowed’ Policy

Before individuals can take their ESA into an apartment, they must undergo the proper procedure to get the landlord’s approval. 

Secure a Recommendation From a Therapist 

Pets are different from ESAs. Unlike pets, individuals who have an ESA require their animals to be with them in order to ensure their safety and comfort. The best way to prove this is by presenting an ESA letter of recommendation from your therapist. The Fair Housing Rules state that tenants may bring their ESA into their housing as long as they present the required documents to their landlord. 

The ESA letter should be issued, signed, and dated by a licensed therapist or healthcare professional.

Inform Your Landlord and Present the Documents

Present all the necessary documents and wait until the request has been approved. The maximum waiting time for approval is 10 days. It’s best to stay in touch and communicate with the landlord frequently to ensure that they fully understand why the ESA is needed, what the animal’s presence means, and to avoid any misunderstandings. 

lady sitting on couch with her two dogs

How To Get Your Dog Qualified as an ESA

If your dog isn’t already an official ESA, the process for getting your dog qualified involves three steps: 

  • Your attending mental healthcare professional will need to assess your condition and determine your diagnosis. 
  • Your attending mental healthcare professional must confirm that having an ESA dog leaves a positive impact on your condition. 
  • Once everything has been assessed, you will receive a letter prescription to confirm your dog’s status as an ESA. 

When it comes to getting your dog qualified for the apartment, there are no requirements for the dog’s physical features. According to the Fair Housing Act, the landlord must not set any standards regarding the size or breed of the dog in granting the tenant’s ESA approval. 

When Can a Landlord Legally Reject an ESA in California?

Although the Fair Housing Act allows owners to bring their ESA to any chosen residence, landlords are able to reject an application if they see that the ESA is a threat to their business or property. In California, landlords are allowed to reject the application if: 

  • The ESA has directly endangered the health and safety of other occupants on the property 
  • The ESA has caused physical damage to someone else’s property
  • The ESA is negatively affecting the landlord’s business 
  • The ESA’s presence causes a financial and administrative burden on the landlord
woman playing with her dog


Do Dogs Do Well in Apartments?

It depends on the dog. Some breeds of dogs can live comfortably in small spaces like an apartment but some breeds prefer having a wide and spacious area to live in. Always do your research to ensure that the ESA apartment you choose is suitable for your dog. 

How Do Dogs Go to the Bathroom in Apartments?

They should have a special designated area as their bathroom. Buying synthetic grass or placing puppy pads down to use in their potty area may help them feel more at ease when going to the bathroom because of the familiarity. Alternatively, you can take them outside each time they need to go.

Is It Cruel to Have a Big Dog in an Apartment?

Size doesn’t directly affect a dog’s comfort in an apartment. It depends on the dog’s energy and subjective needs. Always do your research and observe your dog’s behavior. 

What are the Best Breeds for Depression?

The best emotional support dogs for depression are also commonly used as service dogs for physical disabilities. Labrador and Golden Retriever breeds are common emotional support animals because they’re social and playful. Other breeds, such as Border Collies, Goldendoodles, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherd, or smaller dogs like Chihuahuas, are also frequently registered as emotional support animals. The best breed of emotional support dog for depression usually depends on the person’s personality and preferences.

How Do You Take Care of a Dog in an Apartment?

The basics of taking care of a dog in an apartment include potty training them and giving them their own space. Many owners provide a dedicated space for their dogs so that they can have a safe space for comfort or when the owner isn’t home. 

Live Comfortably in Your ESA Apartment

Being allowed to live in an apartment that accommodates your needs is a right that all ESA owners should be entitled to. Take advantage of your rights and secure your comfort by finding your ideal apartment and going through the ESA process. For more information about ESAs, please feel free to read through our other blogs. 

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