Apartment living may not be ideal for some pet owners, but there are a few ways to make it work. Some pets can thrive in smaller spaces, such as cats, some dogs, and even reptiles. Some people may worry about the upkeep of a house when living with pets in a small space, but there are certain things that you can do to make it work.
Picking the Right Dog for the Right Apartment (and Vice Versa)
If you already have a dog and planning to move to an apartment, make sure to consider your dog’s needs when you look for a new place. Some larger apartments may be overwhelming to smaller dogs as they can be stressed out by the need to defend or protect such a large household. This causes behavioural problems such as anxiety and excessive barking. A solution is to create a more manageable space for your dog. Closing off some parts of your place is recommended for your dog to feel right at home.
Before deciding to adopt your first dog, take some time to figure out what breed and size are suitable for your apartment. Getting a puppy may require more time to train than an adult dog.
A dog’s size is not the only thing that matters when it comes to apartment living. Its sociability and energy level is also very important. Other factors such as mental and physical exercise should also be considered as you may not be around all day to take the dog out. Unlike a house, apartments are located in buildings and usually do not have a yard for your dog to relieve itself. You may consider getting a dog-walker to ensure that your dog gets a healthy amount of exercise.
Making Your Dog Feel Comfortable
Once you have your new dog or have moved to a new apartment, there are some things that should be done to keep your dog extra comfortable as they are experiencing sensory overload from all the new sights and smells. As a responsible dog owner, being a good neighbour should also be a priority as you wouldn’t want the tenants having an issue with your dog.
Placing plants or blinds in the windows to hide distractions or using a gate to keep the dog away from the front door can be helpful for the first two weeks. Sound machines or music can also block noise and calm your pet if he’s feeling anxious. Pay attention to what makes your dog bark and try to train your dog to associate those noises with treats to prevent barking.
Separation anxiety is one of the most common problems a dog can have when living in an apartment. This causes barking and howling, and you may not know this until your neighbours knock on your door and complain about the noisy dog. Help your dog entertain himself while you are gone by giving him puzzle toys with a treat inside or even have an obedience trainer help you address the issue.
Training for Apartment Living
If getting a new dog, potty training may be a lot more work when living in an apartment as opposed to training it in a house. It is recommended to take your dog for a 20 or 30-minute walk for both mornings and evenings, and shorter jaunts throughout the day, if possible. Eventually, the dog will learn the routine.
There are some indoor elimination products and tools that are available such as pee pads or indoor tray. If a dog is not learning on a schedule, it will be confused about where it should eliminate. If your dog tends to be alone for a significant amount of time and you cannot hire a dog walker for any reason, options such as Artificial turf or FreshPatch are some products that you can try.
Keep Your Space Clean
Cleaning an apartment with a dog can be tedious or difficult at times and finding pet hair in every corner of your apartment can be exasperating. Investing in an excellent vacuum can solve most problems. Some vacuums are specially made for pet hair and work on both hardwood and carpet. Vacuuming your bed is also recommended!
Once your dog is settled down in your new place, create a space that your dog can call his own. Keep his bed, toys, and favourite blankets in this space, preferably a dog house. Keep a basket in this area for your dog’s toys instead of placing him on his bed. It keeps his space looking neat, and you can switch out toys once the dog gets bored with what he’s playing with.
Try to make it as cosy as possible. Having a designated area for the dog not only helps your dog feel safe when you’re not home but also keeps your apartment tidy.
Using bowl stands are also recommended as having a smaller space may lead you to knock into your dog’s water and food bowls. Hardwood floors may also cause your dog to slide his bowl into the other side of the place.
Keeping a dog happy and healthy in an apartment is not impossible, and providing him with rules and guidelines can keep both of you well-adjusted to apartment living.