If you think living in the big city means you can’t have an emotional support animal (ESA), think again! There are actually several types of emotional support animals that can help with your needs, as well as fit into your city lifestyle (like in a small apartment). Just remember: landlords can’t discriminate against individuals who need an ESA, so they can’t impose breed or weight restrictions on your pet. Read on for the best ESAs for living in the city.
Dogs can be perfect emotional support animals because they’re often affectionate, social, and loyal. If you’re living in the city, it’s most important that you find a breed that doesn’t need a lot of exercise, can be in small spaces, and would be social with other dogs and your neighbors. For apartment dwellers, it can also be important to note how loud your dog’s barks will be – usually the smaller the dog, the quieter they’ll sound! A great choice is a Bichon Frise, because they’re small (usually around six to eleven pounds) and friendly (bonus: they don’t shed!). The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also pretty affectionate and likes to make friends with other humans. They love to cuddle, so they make great ESAs. If getting your dog out to exercise is a problem, consider a French Bulldog. They’re notoriously lazy so they need very little physical activity, and they’re definitely on the mellower side.
There are lots of benefits to owning a cat as an ESA. They generally don’t need any type of exercise and are rather solitary animals that don’t require a ton of care or attention. Since cats are so independent, you don’t have to spend time worrying that they’re locked up inside in an apartment all day. They also are pretty low-energy, which can be great if you’re a more introverted or quiet person. Plus, they don’t tend to get separation anxiety when you’re away like some dogs do. Cats are also adept at making use of vertical space (like furniture, shelves, or window sills), so smaller apartments tend not to bother them at all. However, even though they’re okay being on their own, they’ll still love to cuddle up with you when you get home.
If you’re thinking that a cat or dog might be too much work, consider getting a rabbit as an ESA. They’re loving and sweet, so they’re soothing and perfect for cuddling. They’re also ideal for big city living because they don’t require much space at all. They love running around, so you can let them out of the cage to have the full run of your apartment (as long as you keep an eye on them, of course!). Another huge upside is that rabbits can even be trained to use a litter box! Additionally, rabbits are usually active the most during the morning and evening time, so once you get home from work, they’ll be ready to play.
Hamsters can make great emotional support animals because they don’t require a ton of maintenance, but they can still offer a great deal of companionship. They like to keep active (like tunneling in shredded paper or exercising on their wheels), and they also don’t make a lot of noise (which can be good if you’re living in close quarters with your neighbors). Plus, they’re easy to feed (just pellets, water, and cheese or fruit as a special treat) and to clean up after, so you don’t have to worry about a hamster taking up too much of your time or energy.
Birds are a great option as ESAs because they can be kept in smaller spaces but will still make you feel like you have a caring companion animal. If you’re not home much, though, a bird might not be a great option. Just like people, they are social beings who don’t like being left alone all the time. Smaller breeds of birds might also be more suited to city living, since you don’t have to find space for huge cages, and they’re less likely to make a ton of loud noise. For example, parakeets are usually only eight inches long, but the tiny creatures can still be taught to whistle and talk (perfect if you’d like to feel like you have some company). Plus, their cages are ideal for tiny apartments because they can be as small as three feet wide and two feet deep.
Gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, and rats are all suitable as ESAs. They’re perfect choices for city accommodations too, because they’re small and they don’t need a lot of maintenance to take care of them. As long as you provide them with some toys and a little bit of supervised playtime outside their cages, they’ll be happy little animals. Most of the time these small rodents don’t mind being picked up and some even enjoy cuddling. Plus, rats are very smart and can be trained to do some tricks. The only downside is that most of these animals do better when they’re in pairs or groups, so you might have to purchase more than one of them for them to thrive. Oh, and if you’re worried about your neighbors complaining about noise, you might want to consider steering clear of guinea pigs – they can actually make a lot of noise (clicks and squeaks) that could be troublesome to you and your neighbors.
Ferrets are a less traditional ESA choice, but many people have greatly benefited from owning them. They usually have quiet and friendly temperaments, but can still be curious and love to explore outside their cages. They do require quite a bit of attention, but their outgoing personalities can be a great mood-booster. With a little training, they can be wonderful companions. Just make sure that ferrets are legal where you live – there are still some states and municipalities that ban them.
Even though you’re living in a big city, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still find an emotional support animal that works for your condition as well as your living arrangements. Research which of these animals best fits your situation, and you’ll have a loving new pet to have in your city apartment!