Let’s hope that your dog isn’t named Fido, and your idea of a pet-friendly yard isn’t a stake, a fence, and a 15-foot chain. Believe it or not, that’s maybe what your parents thought. You, however, are moving into a new apartment or home and you want to make sure your doggy is comfortable and happy. On top of worrying about how to find the best HVAC contractor and other home fixes, you now need to worry about your pet.

Whether you’re moving to a spacious, affordable Bloomington, Indiana apartment with country roads and yards nearby; or a London flat with busy city streets, here are some basic things to do before you move in:

1. Check the Pet-Policy and Pet-Friendliness of Your Apartment Complex

Do separate pet deposits apply? Is there sufficient outdoor space to walk your dog on the premises? Are there convenient dog waste receptacles? Are there lots of other pets in the complex?

If there is only one elevator, is it frequently filled with tenants and their pets? If you are on the fourth floor, can you and your pet easily take the steps? Are there pets on the premises that may not get along with yours?

 2. Pet-Proof Your Unit

No, we aren’t talking about those city rats that bring a host of problems to your place. We’re talking about pets that you actually want! We know you love your pet but letting him or her have free reign in your residence can cause trouble. Make sure that all possible entrances are pet-proofed so you don’t get that call at four in the morning that your kitty is out partying. Ensure that dangerous substances and chemicals are securely stored so you don’t have any inadvertent pet poisoning issues. 

 3. Train Your Pet to Keep the Barking at a Minimum  

Even you are a strident pet defender and protector, a loudly barking dog at dawn can be a real annoyance. If you have a barking problem, you really need to see a doctor—just kidding. If your pet has a noise problem, however, ask your local humane society or compounding veterinary pharmacy about ways to train your pet to be quieter.

4. Give Your Pet Plenty of Exercise 

Don’t keep your dog locked up all day and expect him or her to quietly lie on the couch next to you after you have come home from work. Plenty of quality exercise is important, and a well-exercised dog should be much calmer than one that is expected to do nothing but watch TV with you.

 5. Consider a Crate

OK, we know that if you have lived in a wide-open space, you may not even have had to consider a cage or crate for your pet.

Truth be told, many pets will quickly learn to adapt to their crate and may voluntarily go there especially during stressful times. A crate-trained pet is also much more easily transported. Do be careful that someone is around to let your pet out to take care of business since animals will do almost anything not to soil their immediate surroundings.

Finding the proper home for you and your pet may be a bit of a challenge, and once you locate the best place, it’s important to ensure that you do everything possible to make it safe and comfortable.

And one last thing—big dogs can exist in upper floor smaller units as they may be less active, so don’t think that an apartment automatically limits your pet’s size.

At the end of the day, if renting doesn’t work for you, perhaps consider purchasing your first home on a contract for deed, so that your pet can have more space then they need!