When comes to adopting a dog with your roommate, it’s important to be on the same page about everything. You should both want to take on the responsibility together. Especially, if you’re sharing a small apartment. Because if you’re not, the pets and the roommates will drive you up the wall.

But, before you get too excited about your new furry friend, make sure your landlord allows pets. There are usually extra fees associated with pets and sometimes size & breed restrictions may vary too. You may also be held financially responsible for any damages caused by the dogs as you are (probably) on the lease.

Once you’re sure you want a pet, the next step is to figure out what kind to get. This is where it gets fun!

1. Adopt don’t shop!

Your local shelter or humane society are good options to start your search. Not only do most breeders charge a bomb, but when you adopt from a shelter, you’re helping out a great cause. There are so many furry babies that get brought to shelters, having been abandoned and mistreated. Not only do you get an opportunity to save a life, but it’s also the more cost-efficient way to get your furry friend home! So, when you’re thinking of adopting a dog with your roommate, check out your local shelters!

Roomi tip: Adopting an older dog in particular usually turns out to be a slightly more feasible option for first-timers. Puppies are a lot of work – the potty training and the constant attention they need might get on yours and the roomie’s nerves.

2. Things to keep in mind before adopting a dog with your roommate

Going to dog beaches and parks on weekends when you and the roommates are free for an hour or two is a great way to get some fresh air. (Don’t forget to wear your masks though!).

Getting the chance to roam free will keep your pup feeling happy and healthy!

Consider getting a patch of fake grass in your backyard or balcony! You can purchase these from Home Depot and attach pee-pads underneath. These are for those special days when both the roomie and you are too busy or exhausted to step out.

3. Discuss legal ownership before adopting a dog with your roommate

The biggest—and toughest—question you’ll need to figure out with your roommate is who has legal ownership of the pet. But when adopting a dog with your roommate, it’s important to have this stuff on paper. Because if it’s not, your relationship with the pets and with the roommates could be jeopardized!

You can agree to joint ownership, but rescue organizations typically allow just one person to be named as the official owner of your pooch, so you’ll need to agree whose name goes on the adoption papers.

If you choose to co-own the cutie, make sure to state this in a written agreement that lays out who gets custody once you are no longer living together. You could also stipulate who is the primary financial owner of the dog and who is the main caretaker.

Write up a Roommate Agreement that covers the following:

  • Who’s in charge of feeding and walking the pet?
  • Are any areas of the living space off-limits?
  • Who’s in charge of cleaning up after the pet?
  • Who’s in charge of training the pet?
  • Who pays veterinary bills?

4. Make a plan

Work together on a plan for how your pet will live in your shared space. Will you let the pooch on the couch or eat from the table? While this may be okay with you, it may not be okay with your roomi. Remember, solutions don’t always have to be black and white. Adopting a dog with your roommate means things could get a little messy, be prepared for it!

It’s not uncommon for dogs – especially puppies – to damage personal belongings. Remind your roommate to keep their bedroom door shut if they’re worried about their sneakers becoming a chew toy.

5. “Free trial”

Plenty of animal shelters need foster families to take dogs in temporarily – offer to house a pet in need for a few days. This gives your roommate and yourself time to adjust to having a pet in the house and gives you both a chance to work out any issues that might arise along the way.

Adopting a dog with your roommate can make you feel less like strangers sharing a space together and more like family. Your pets and roommates can really make your life a thousand times better. But make sure to think it through, as spontaneous decisions can sometimes get tricky. When everything goes to plan, though, your house is going to feel more homely than ever!

Related: Clauses You Must Include In A Roommate Agreement

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