Three Dog-Friendly Amenity Trends in Multifamily

March 7, 2016 Elizabeth Francisco

It’s a Dog-Meet-Dog World

There was a time when apartment communities pushed back against dog owners, not wanting to take on the risk and costs associated with man’s best friend. In today’s multifamily world, however, dog ownership has become a way of life. Not only are apartment communities now accepting pet owners, they’re also catering to them. We’re seeing amenities for residents and dogs slowly become one in the same.

Across the board, properties are dedicating valuable time, money, and space to amenities for dogs. Let’s take a look at three dog-friendly amenities we’re seeing right now in multifamily.


Photo via Building Design + Construction: “5 intriguing trends to track in the multifamily housing game”


(1) Washing, Grooming & Doggy Spas

As we discussed in our “Roadmap to Millennials” blog series, we’re seeing an increase in pet ownership and a decrease in the size of living spaces. This raises a logical question: Where are residents going to bathe their pets?

Across multifamily communities, we’re seeing the rise of washing and grooming stations or rooms, which range from a stainless-steel tub and a hose to a full-blown doggy spa. In downtown Brooklyn at 388 Bridge Street, the pet washing station consists of a 91-square-foot space with white-tile walls, molded-plastic tub, and a hand-held shower.

For others, these amenities have come to epitomize luxury and high-end service. Real estate developer, Related Companies, became a leader in dog amenities when they opened Dog City at the MiMA property in New York City. The 1,000 square-foot space includes grooming stations, an indoor play area, outdoor pool, doggie yoga, and an option to schedule appointments with visiting professional groomers.

Although the focus on furry friends may seem trivial to the non-dog owners in the building, it’s best to ensure that the neighborhood dogs are smelling fresh and clean.


Photo via Urban Land Institute: “Going to the Dogs: Profitable Pet-Friendly Amenities”


(2) Dog Parks & Playgrounds

Dogs need exercise, which raises another challenge for apartment-dwelling pet owners. For many apartments, the commitment to accomodate dog-owners has gone beyond the walls of the building. Apartments are incorporating everything from dog parks to agility courses and bone-shaped pools.

In Atlanta, Crescent Communities has invested in an artistic water feature that’s bordered by WiFi-equipped tables so that dogs can play and owners can keep a watchful eye while also getting work done. It’s important to recognize that these amenities are often in place of, rather than in addition to, traditional amenities such as tennis courts.

Crescent Communities is a perfect example of how to make these amenities successful: create a welcoming, multi-functional space which integrates seamlessly within the day-to-day life of residents.



Photo via Urban Land Institute: “Going to the Dogs: Profitable Pet-Friendly Amenities”


(3) Yappy Hours & Events

As the average unit size continues to decrease each year and trends like micro units begin to emerge, it is increasingly important to provide value to residents outside of their living space. By providing these dog-friendly spaces and creating programs centered around this lifestyle, property managers are able to do just that.

For example, The Oaks of Vernon Hills, Northbrook, Illinois hosts monthly “Yappy Hours,” a fun twist on the traditional cocktail hour. Similar programs can be found across the country, including dog-walking groups and doggy pool days. Matt Nix, principal of REVA Development Partners, says these amenities are about more than just dog parks; they’re about providing a space for residents (and dogs) to get out of their apartments and get to know one another.

Leveraging commonalities, such as a love for dogs, is a simple and effective way to create community among residents.

Much like the dogs they cater to, pet-friendly trends come in all shapes and sizes. There is no ‘how to’ guide for pet amenities, but having a creative outlook and listening to the wants and needs of residents is a great place to start.

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