person in red Converse sneakers walking three dogs

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Petiquette: What's the scoop?

What is “petiquette”? It’s defined as: the proper way to control and handle a pet. With some 16.5 million domestic cats and dogs living in homes across Canada, it’s safe to say our furry friends play an important role in our lives (Minto Apartments is 100% pet friendly – we totally get it). And while we love and cherish these little creatures like humans, it’s important to remember that they’re animals who need boundaries – and a certain amount of consideration and etiquette is required. That’s why we pulled together a list of 13 things to consider to help keep the peace between you and your neighbours when it comes to your pet. 

Issue #1: The scoop

little girl petting cat outside in grass

Pet ownership 101? Always pick up after your pet. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, your neighbourhood is a shared space that needs to be respected and kept clean. Why? Not just because of bylaws. Viruses, bacteria and parasites found in dog waste can cause disease, and high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus promote weed and algae growth in lakes, ponds and streams, which reduces the oxygen in water needed by fish and other organisms. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty gross.

Cats aren’t off the hook here either. A clean litter box is just as important in buildings with communal ventilation systems that can waft smells between units. A little effort goes a long way.

Consider: Always carrying biodegradable bags with you to make sure your dog doesn’t leave anything behind on your walk, and be sure to toss bags in designated bins. 

Consider: Changing your cat’s litterbox daily to keep air fresh and odours under control.  

Issue #2: This is ruff!

girl walking french bulldog along path in park

Few things are as annoying (or heartbreaking) as incessant barking or meowing when you live in an apartment building or home with shared walls. Understandably, when a pet is left alone for long periods of time (a reality for those who work outside the home), they miss “their people” or hear strange noises and express distress the only way they know how. 

Consider: Looking for a walker to drop by to take Fido for a walk. There are lots of great benefits for both you and your pet, like socialization, improvements in behaviour and peace of mind. Getting all that energy out and a little exercise may help to keep the barking at bay, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Some walkers charge just $15 a visit. 

Consider: Posting a notice on the community board in your building to see if a neighbour is interested in walking your dog or stopping in for cat cuddles. You might find someone who would love a pet but isn’t able to commit, and this is the next best thing. There may also be students in your building who would benefit from some spending money and something to spend their extra energy on (especially in the summertime). 

*Don’t rule out professional training if you’re getting complaints about your dog. All dogs need boundaries, and a little refresher on what’s acceptable behaviour re-establishes you as the pack leader.

Issue #3: Reeling in attention

girl couching down petting her dog on the sidewalk

You love your pet. Your pet loves you. That doesn’t mean your neighbours are in on this lovefest. Even if your dog is well trained or your cat is super friendly, not everyone is an animal lover. They may be nervous around dogs, have allergies or simply don’t like them. Here’s where you need to take the lead and keep your dog on a leash to keep them by your side when people pass by. It’s the courteous thing to do – and may be the law or stated in your lease, depending on where you live. 

Consider: Letting people know if your dog does or doesn’t like attention. Even on a leash dogs can pick up on “bad vibes” or react to an unexpected hand coming in for a pet. They are animals, after all. 

Consider: A “do not pet” wrap for your leash if your dog is anxious. This will let people know to keep their hands to themselves without saying a word. 

Issue #4: This is not a drill!

older man sitting on cement block in park with dog

Chances are someone has spent a great deal of time creating and taking meticulous care of the beautiful gardens in your community. Here’s the drill: dogs have an evolutionary urge to treat all plants and trees as a fire hydrant and mark territory with their own scent – and that means the dog that was out for a walk just before yours likely did the same thing (and so on). What that also means is the plants, flowers, grass and trees that adorn the yard can be burned, wilted or killed by urine. 

Consider: Training your dog to urinate in one area. This suggestion as well as lots of great tips from the Spruce Pets may help to keep your community’s gardens in bloom. This may take a bit of time but the flowers will thank you!

Consider: Getting a group of like-minded pet owners together and speaking to your landlord about creating a designated dog area that you maintain and keep clean (see issue #1).

Issue #5: What a mess!

dog sitting in puddle all muddy with tongue out

Image Credit: GoFetch

Winter, spring, summer or fall, having a pet can sometimes cause a mess. From grass clippings to muddy paws and wet fur from rainy day walks, it’s just one of those things pet owners have to live with. But in a shared space, it’s not something residents should have to deal with too. In other words, it’s up to you to make sure your dog isn’t dragging the outdoors in and making the shared spaces unpleasant for those that live there. 

Consider: Doggy boots. For real. They’re adorable and incredibly practical when it comes to minimizing muck and keeping common spaces clean. Hint: They also keep clicking nails on hardwood from annoying the tenant below (or damaging floors).

Consider: Carrying a small towel with you to wipe paws and brush off fur before heading into the building. Your neighbours, landlord and super will be grateful for it!

Issue #6: Dogs love swimming, too

dogs drinking out of water bowls at High Park offleash dog park

If you’re lucky enough to live in a building with an outdoor pool, there’s nothing quite like a dip on a hot summer day. Your dog feels exactly the same way. And while you’d love to do the doggie paddle with your pooch, other residents likely won’t want to share the water. Not only is it an obvious sanitation issue, dog’s nails can damage the pool and cause headaches for maintenance. It can also be a liability issue if someone gets hurt.

Consider: Looking for local wading pools that have “dog” days. It’s true! Community centres will often host neighbourhood dogs, then drain and sanitize the pool for proper people use. 

Consider: Most major Canadian cities have access to nearby water. Do a quick search online for nearby off-leash dog beaches, there’s bound to be some around! 

Consider: Walking to a beach, finding a sprinkler or using a hose to cool your pup down. 

As a company with over 50 100% pet-friendly rental apartment buildings across Canada, we sure do love our pet residents. And here’s the scoop: a little petiquette can go a long way to keeping everyone happy. Even Fido!