Apartment living can be tough. Small spaces, loud neighbors and a lack of control over your own home each come with certain difficulties.
Try adding a dog to the mix, and living in a rental unit can quickly go from being tough to being seriously demanding.
For all you dog lovers out there, hear this: It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Living with a dog in even the smallest of studios is doable, as long as you know what to expect and how to plan ahead. Use the following tips to make sure your dog is living a safe, healthy and happy apartment life.
Know Your Breed
What kind of dog do you have? What are their habits, quirks and needs?
Knowing your breed inside and out can be a lifesaver when it comes to apartment living because different dogs have different needs.
Take border collies or Labrador retrievers, for example — 2 energetic breeds who require lots of space to move around in. When they get bored, they get destructive, which doesn’t end well when you’re living in a rental unit.
Great Danes or English bulldogs, on the other hand, are usually happy with a couple walks daily and a comfortable couch to nap on.
Do some breed research and figure out exactly what your dog requires. Understanding their temperament will let you home in on the kind of apartment care they’ll need.
Find a Safe, Off-Leash Green Space
Many people think not having a backyard — a typical scenario in apartment living — means not having a dog. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Find the nearest dog park to your apartment and try to visit at least several times per week. Even if you take your dog out on regular walks every day, having a space for off-leash running and playing with other dogs with is important to your pup’s health and well-being. Even if you are blessed with an apartment with a backyard, your dog will still benefit from regular dog park visits (as long as they’re healthy and updated on vaccines).
Dog parks are plentiful in most urban spaces, so you should be able to find the perfect one for you and your pup.
Stock Up on the Right Toys
If you’re at work all day and your dog is left to hang out at the apartment alone, they’ll need mental stimulation to help prevent boredom. Luckily, there are tons of resources to keep your dog entertained and engaged all day long.
At the most basic level, consider trying out a classic Kong toy that dispenses treats throughout the day (slip some dog-friendly peanut butter inside to make it last longer). Bonus: Kongs are nearly indestructible, so even the strongest chewers can enjoy them.
For even more stimulation, teach your dog to use a puzzle toy. Companies like Nina-Ottosson make fun and interactive toys that release treats when puzzles are solved.
Or, if you want to go all-out, engage with your dog while you’re at work with a pet webcam and treat dispenser. Now, before you laugh, think about it.
Pet webcams and treat dispensers let you:
- Watch your dog while they’re home alone to make sure they’re not doing anything sneaky.
- Reassure your dog with your own voice.
- Dispense healthy treats to keep your dog active and excited throughout the day.
Tip: Avoid leaving your dog home alone with bones, which easily splinter after constant chewing (and pose a huge choking risk). Opt for an engaging toy instead to keep them safe.
Check out these dogs who make great apartment roommates:
Partner With a Dog Walker
Last, but certainly not least, find a trusted dog walker who can visit your apartment daily. Even if your work days aren’t too long (and your dog can keep from having an accident inside), human interaction and exercise during the day will positively affect their demeanor, attitude and behavior.
If you don’t know anyone locally, try using an app to find dog walkers in your area. Not only will they take your dog out during the day, but also they’ll send GPS updates and notes about how the walk went.
These seemingly small things — human interaction and exercise — can make a world of difference for your apartment-dwelling dog. There’s really no better way to make sure they’re happy and healthy while living in an apartment.