The ultimate guide to pet-friendly apartments in San Diego

Get essential tips for finding your home and living with a furry friend.

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

Dog and cat lying in grass together

What makes living in sunny San Diego even better? Moving there with your favorite roommate…your pet! Whether they have whiskers, a wet nose, scales, or a beak, there’s a place for humans and animals alike thanks to pet-friendly apartments in San Diego. 

San Diego’s chill attitude extends to pets, too. Because this laid-back destination provides a welcoming home to dogs, cats, birds, lizards, and fish. Just think of the ideal weather and wide-open spaces at San Diego’s beaches and parks. Plus, many apartments go beyond your wildest expectations with top-notch pet amenities. For instance, Blueground has pet-friendly apartments throughout the city, welcoming animal lovers from near and far.

Traveling just down the road to a new San Diego neighborhood? Or moving overseas with your pet? Either way, if you’re looking for a furnished, pet-friendly apartment in Southern California, check out our guide for some essential advice. 

Pet-friendly neighborhoods in San Diego

Small dog running on beach

For pet owners, San Diego offers a number of pet-friendly neighborhoods to call home. In these pet-centric neighborhoods, both furry friends and their owners will love life.

  • North Park stands out with its welcoming atmosphere, numerous dog parks, and pet-friendly eateries. 
  • Del Cerro is another fantastic choice, known for its spacious green areas and proximity to Mission Trails Regional Park. 
  • In Ocean Beach, pets can run leash-free on Dog Beach, while their owners enjoy the sunset. 
  • Alongside an abundance of pet services, University City boasts Standley Park and the nearby Rose Canyon Open Space Reserve, perfect for walks. 

Tips for renting a pet-friendly apartment

Small gray kitten on bed

Most apartments need a little help to make them a totally pet-friendly environment. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make it feel like your pet’s home as well with a dog bed or blankets on furniture where they can curl up. Depending on your pet’s personality, you may want to place these close to your own bed or in a separate room.
  • Pet-proof as much as possible. Yes, damage might happen due to claws and teeth, but you can limit it by planning in advance. For instance, why not get a scratching post for your cat, so it has a specified area to work on its scratching skills. It’s also a good idea to avoid long cables or cords. These are a major temptation for little teeth. 
  • Get inside your pet’s head. Where would they want to go? What smells would interest them? Some quicks wins include blocking any small spaces where pets might hide, keeping your trash cans covered, and making sure your plants aren’t harmful to animals.
  • Think about the apartment’s physical location. For example, will your apartment be near an elevator or busy part of the building, causing your dog to bark all the time? This can save you lots of stress in the long run. 

How to create a pet-friendly environment within your apartment

Living room in San Diego apartment

After you’ve rented your apartment, what else is there to do? Post move-in, it’s important to give your pet a safe-yet-engaging experience — inside and outside your new home. 

  • Take note of the apartment’s layout. Since animals love to look out of windows, lie in sunny spots, or climb the highest piece of furniture, you should optimize the spots Fido or Fluffy loves. 
  • Make sure there’s enough room for your pet to move around comfortably. This might mean rearranging chairs or tables so that paths are wide enough for your pet to walk. Remember, wagging tails can spill drinks on coffee tables and excited pets can cause bookshelves to shake. 
  • Is there a closet, shelf, or corner where you can store your pet supplies? This will help you stay organized and know precisely where any pet items should go before or after use. 
  • Find a place where your pet can spend time safely outside. Many apartments have balconies and some apartments even have dog runs, grassy areas, or fenced in spaces. Just be certain to check for openings in these areas, especially balconies, so your pets remain where you want them to.  

Pet policies and restrictions

a person around the corner petting a cat on the head

Landlords often get a bad rap when it comes to pets. They don’t hate pets and they aren’t evil people. Ultimately, an apartment building’s strict pet rules are just meant to look after a landlord’s investment. Understanding this makes it easier to wrap your head around pet policies like the following. 

  • There are several typical pet policies that most apartment buildings adhere to. These include having collars and identification tags on your pet, keeping them on a leash when outside your apartment, placing a limit on the number of pets you can have, and setting rules for properly disposing of pet waste.
  • Pet fees can vary widely depending on the type of animal you have and its size. Even if you have one of the best dog breeds for apartment living, you could pay anywhere from $50 to $500. Some buildings may prohibit certain breeds, too. These most often include pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, and other dogs with reputations for being aggressive. 
  • Keep in mind that if you’re caught being less than honest about your pet’s size or breed (or if you try to sneak your pet into the building) you stand a good chance of being evicted. Don’t expect to get your security deposit back, either. Plus, you’ll be constantly worried about getting caught, so it’s just not worth it.
  • Don’t forget that apartments may request several documents before your pet is officially allowed to live in your apartment. It’s best to have these items easy to access and ready to share. This may include pet health exams and vaccination records from your vet, service animal registration, and even references from previous landlords. 
  • To save time on your search for furnished pet-friendly apartments in San Diego, CA, you can check out a company like Blueground. They have a useful filter that lets you search specifically for apartments that allow pets. 

Amenities for pets  Little black dog on a walk

Your pet’s quality of life is another thing for your brain to chew on. So think about what pet-friendly apartment amenities to prioritize. Or if there are certain aspects of a neighborhood that would improve your animal’s day to day. 

  • Want to go above and beyond for your fur babies? Check if potential apartments in San Diego offers amenities specifically designed for pets. This could include rooftop dog parks, pet washing stations, or nearby walking trails. 
  • Check out the home’s location ahead of time and see what’s in the area. Is it close to a vet, in case you have an emergency? Are there pet supply stores in the neighborhood? Urgent pet issues happen, so it’s critical that you be as knowledgeable as possible.
  • Just don’t settle on the first pet places you see. Get recommendations online or from neighbors about the best pet stores, grooming salons, and parks. Your winged or four-legged friend deserves the best!

How to become part of a pet-friendly community Woman and her cat on a bed

We’ve discussed the pets themselves quite a bit, but what about the people who go with them? From meetups with fellow dalmatian owners to volunteer opportunities with local pet groups, partaking in activities can help build your pet (and person) network

  • You can spark up a conversation with another pet owner in the groomer’s waiting room. Or let your dog start the introductions when you visit a local dog park. Either way, becoming part of San Diego’s pet community means meeting others and getting involved.  
  • If you tour pet-friendly apartments in San Diego, be sure to ask if there are other animal owners in the complex. Once you start living there, designated pet areas also serve as great places to meet and connect with neighbors. Who knows, you might meet a new BFF this way! 
  • Research if there are any social events or gatherings for pet owners in your city. Or look into local events sponsored by pet stores, animal shelters, and pet rescue organizations. Offering to take part in these activities can put you in touch with entire groups of people who share similar interests to you. 

Pet-perfect SoCal Balboa Park in San Diego

Clearly, San Diego is one of the best possible places to live with your animal friend. It features pet-friendly neighborhoods, a sun-soaked climate, and ample green spaces and pet stores. You might just be jealous of Spot or Sassy!

You can’t go wrong by keeping these tips in mind when choosing from pet-friendly apartments in San Diego. And don’t forget that Blueground’s turnkey apartments are here to simplify moving homes with your pet. Because it shouldn’t be a hassle. It should be a treat!

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.