Americans love their pets. A lot.
According to the ASPCA, there are about 75 million dog owners and 85 million cat owners in the United States. This animal-loving cohort fuels the massive pet industry, which the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported topped $60 billion in 2015.
That’s a lot of dough spent on the health, beauty and lifestyle of four-legged friends. But it’s not that surprising, given that more and more people are viewing their pets as irreplaceable members of their family. Dog owners boast about their furry babies; cat owners fork over valuable square footage in their homes for elaborate cat condos and towers. Owning a pet isn’t a means of passive companionship anymore — it’s a lifestyle.
In cities it is hard to have pets, as small living spaces, busy streets and sporadic parks and green spaces make daily activities challenging. It becomes even more difficult for apartment dwellers where a lack of a yard, tight quarters, and pet size and type restrictions provide additional obstacles to adding a furry baby to the mix.
But the rental industry is taking note. In the Washington area, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pet-friendly communities. And these communities are making pets a priority by adding premium amenities that cater to Fido and Fifi’s every need.
Take the gleaming City Market at O in the Shaw neighborhood. This luxury building introduced one of the city’s first rooftop dog parks (complete with artificial fire hydrant) that keeps owners from having to hit the street to let their canine companions stretch their legs. Not to be outdone, Senate Square near Union Station has a 24-hour rooftop dog park that features an agility course. Dogs in these communities are treated to sweeping skyline views that would make most humans jealous.
Dozens of apartment communities also offer grooming stations and spas, stocked with all the goods needed to give pets a little sprucing up. The Acadia at Metropolitan Park in Arlington has a full pet grooming room while Flats 8300 in Bethesda boasts an on-site pet spa, plus a half-acre courtyard with direct access to two acres of wooded green space. Gables Upper Rock in Rockville has a fully furnished state-of-the-art doggie spa along with a pet park. Indoor dog running tracks are also starting to pop up throughout the area, providing a reprieve from the snow in winter and from D.C.’s notorious humidity in the summer.
Pet-friendly outdoor terraces, patios and lounges are becoming increasingly common, allowing owners to relax outside without having to leave pets locked in the apartment. In these spaces and in on-site dog parks, communities are organizing “yappy hours” to encourage pets and owners to mingle. Taking the cute name theme to the next level, EOS-21 Apartments in Alexandria introduced Wiggly Field, a baseball field shaped park with agility obstacles, cooling huts and toys.
And if dog parks, indoor tracks, grooming stations and “yappy hours” aren’t enough, head to The Hepburn in Kalorama. This luxury building is the first to partner with Baroo, a concierge pet service that offers in-home vet visits, pet coaches, catering (to meet your pet’s custom dietary needs), walkers, groomers, sitters and a complimentary gift basket upon move-in. Talk about pampering!
While there certainly are still buildings and communities that frown on pet ownership, they are becoming fewer and fewer.
It’s clear that D.C.-area tenants cherish their pets and want to provide as comfortable a living environment as is possible. Luckily, there are now plenty of options that allow owners to pamper their pets with ease and style.
Here are a few D.C.-area apartments with dog parks:
- Bailey’s Crossing, Falls Church, Va.
- City Market at O, Washington
- Edgemoore, Alexandria, Va.
- EOS-21, Alexandria, Va.
- Fields of Leesburg, Leesburg, Va.
- Gables Upper Rock, Rockville, Md.
- The Metropolitan at Village at Leesburg, Leesburg, Va.
- Oasis at Montclair, Dumphries, Va.
- Ovation, McLean, Va.
- Senate Square, Washington
- The Links at Gleneagles, Waldorf, Md.
- Vista Laurel Highlands, Lorton, Va.
Blake Van Leer is the cofounder of RentalsGoneWild.com, a free personalized apartment locating service for D.C.-area renters.