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Cleanest, odorless pets for small homes

Looking for an easy-care pet that won’t stink up your small home or apartment? Frogs, reptiles, hermit crabs and even certain dog breeds are all excellent choices.

Hermit crabs

Hermit crabs

Despite their name, hermit crabs are actually very social creatures. Children love to watch these busy critters climb and explore their habitat and interact with their friends. Keep your hermit crabs happy and well-fed with the right “crabitat” and a steady supply of hermit crab food, small bits of apples, grapes and bananas, and dark leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli. If you do smell a strong odor coming from your hermit crab’s shell, that means something’s not right, so take your crab to the vet right away. Learn more at the online Hermit Crab Center.

Leopard geckos

Leopard geckos

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Leopard geckos are popular pets for good reason. They are hardy creatures, easy to care for, don’t take up much space and have a life span of 20 years or more. A 10 to 20 gallon aquarium, appropriate heating, a shallow dish of water and a diet of live crickets should keep your “mini dinosaur” happy and healthy. For more information on the care and keeping of leopard geckos, visit

Small low-shedding dogs

Rumi dog

As long as they’re groomed regularly, low-shedding small dogs can make fine pets, even in small quarters. Public relations professional Sherry Butler shares her home with Rumi, a “10 years young” 13-pound black shih-tzu. Butler takes Rumi in for a full grooming every six to eight weeks, plus a bath and trim in between. “I brush him more than most, as he has longer hair and acts like a mop, picking up leaves, burrs etc.”

Aquatic frogs

If odor-free, tiny pets are the name of the game, you might consider small aquatic frogs like the African dwarf frog. These spotted creatures grow to a maximum size of a mere 1.5 inches. Interior designer Sara Uribe, who owned two aquatic frogs, says she and her family enjoyed watching the frogs move around in their habitat and seeing the frogs’ plant grow. Uribe also appreciated the fact that they didn’t take up much room, didn’t smell and only had to be fed twice a week. But she admits they did require a little motherly intervention. “Once I realized they weren’t sharing equally, I separated them for mealtimes.”

Expert Tip: Desiree Garthe, a veterinarian at Shea Animal Hospital says all dogs have the potential to smell like a dog. To keep them smelling good, long-haired dogs need to go to a groomer every six to eight weeks with regular brushing in between. Short hair breeds that stay primarily indoors (just going out for walks) need a bath every six to eight weeks.

More pet tips for small spaces:

10 Unusual pets your family will love
Expert tips for apartment life with a dog
Top 5 litter boxes

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