Dogs aren’t just pets–they’re a special part of your family and often a friend that you can’t live without. And renters know how tough it can be to find a dog-friendly apartment.

[Infographic: Apartment Hunting with Pets]

The Twin Cities, however, are recognizing the importance of your furry friends. Searching for a St. Paul or Minneapolis apartment for both you and Fido may not be so tough after all.

Canine Apartment Amenities

There’s definitely a difference between pet friendly and pet tolerant. Whoie some apartment complexes will allow pets, most don’t really have any amenities that cater to living with a canine.

[Top 10 Dog-Friendly Cities]

Minneapolis apartment developers are changing the game and tailoring their units to attract renters with dogs. For instance, these new buildings feature indoor spots where your dog can do his business. There’s also spa-style dog washes to keep Fido groomed, and walk-up ramps that make it easy for even aging animals to get around. And that’s not all: There are pet-minded concierge services to help you find anything from a veterinary clinic to a nearby pet store.

An upscale apartment building in Minneapolis called Track 29 even offers a heated dog park, as well as spring and summer activities like dog yoga and doggy Olympics.

The Cause of the Rise in Dog-Friendly Amenities

The rental market is very competitive, and it’s the amenities that really help to set one building apart from another. Dog-friendly perks are just one of the recent trends in new luxury apartment rentals.

[The Rise of Luxury Apartment Buildings]

Another reason for this boost in pup-friendly amenities is the number of baby boomers who have pets. These aging renters are getting dogs in order to fill their empty nest. Generation Y is also starting to bring more dogs into their families. Instead of having kids, this generation is holding off on starting a family and relying on Fido for companionship instead.