Dogs and Apartments - Can It Work?

  • 23/11/2019

Watching your dog frolic in your home’s fenced-in backyard is any dog lover’s dream, but this isn’t always a practical option for all dog owners. Depending on your location and income, it may make more sense for you to live in an apartment, but that doesn’t mean that you have to write off your plans of getting a dog. In fact, plenty of dogs live quite happily in apartments — it will just require some extra effort on your part to make the arrangement work.

Plan for Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

One of the main challenges of having dogs in an apartment is the limited space that some apartments offer. Large dogs in small apartments won’t have too much space to run around and play, which means you’ll need to accommodate your dog’s exercise and activity needs in other ways.

To support your dog’s well-being while living in an apartment, plan to get him out for walks at least once a day — and more often if your dog is a high-energy pet. If multiple walks a day won’t fit into your schedule, plan on getting a low-key breed that doesn’t require as much energy as a higher-energy breed, like a herding dog. Look for an apartment that’s located near a dog park, or plan to drive your dog out to some hiking trails or other areas for exercise.

In addition to plenty of walks and exercise, supply your dog with lots of toys to keep him entertained while inside the apartment. Swap out toys so that he always has something new and different to play with. If you’re heading out to run errands, give your dog a new toy to keep him occupied while you’re gone.

If you’ll be gone for long hours during the day, consider hiring a dog walker to come by and give your dog some exercise. This can help break up your dog’s boredom and relieve some excess energy so he’s less likely to get into trouble while home alone. Even more, if your dog is crate-trained, this offers him a chance to let off some steam and spend the rest of the afternoon napping. With proper time and training, your dog will see his crate as his safe space, after all. This can help to prevent property damage so that you’ll get your pet deposit back when it’s time to move out.

Look for a Setup for Potty Training

If you’re searching for an apartment with plans of getting a dog, think about how well it will work for potty training. A ground-floor apartment with direct access to the outdoors is ideal, since you’ll be able to quickly get your puppy outside.

Even if your apartment doesn’t have direct outdoor access, you can still potty train your dog. If you have a smaller dog, you might wish to train the dog to use pee pads while inside. With larger dogs or dogs that you want to train to go outside, you’ll need to plan ahead and schedule regular trips outdoors. Be sure to reward your dog when he goes during a toilet break, and be armed with supplies to clean up any accidents that may happen on your way outside.

Make Your Balcony Safe

Apartment balconies are a potential safety issue for dogs, so pay attention to this particular area of your apartment. Some balconies have bars that are spaced too far apart, allowing smaller dogs to slip through. If you have a larger dog, the balcony railing may be too low to keep him from climbing or jumping over.

Evaluate your balcony and look for ways to fix it. You may be able to wrap chicken wire around the bars to create a solid barrier. Pull any furniture back away from the rails so that your dog can’t climb onto the furniture and fall over the side of the balcony. If you can’t make the balcony safe for your dog, keep the door to the balcony closed and don’t allow your dog outside on it. Even if the balcony appears safe, it’s best to only allow your dog out onto the space when you’re present to supervise.

Look Out for Other Common Hazards

Apartments can have many of the same pet hazards that are common in houses. Take a look through your cabinets and secure any toxic chemicals either up out of your dog’s reach, or in a locked cabinet that your dog can’t access. While you’re doing this, secure your garbage away so that your dog can’t get to it — ingesting garbage can lead to serious stomach upset in dogs.

Plants can also threaten your dog’s health. If you have plants in your apartment, make sure that they’re non-toxic to dogs if ingested. Take a look at the plants used in landscaping around the apartment and familiarize yourself with any that could be toxic to your dog. Share this information with other family members or anyone else who cares for your dog so they know which plants to keep the dog away from.

Many people live quite comfortably in apartments with their dogs. You’ll need to put some thought into finding the right initial setup, but as long as your apartment allows dogs, you should be able to bring a new dog home with you to enjoy the apartment space, too. 

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