Apartment living doesn’t always lend itself well to caring for a pet.
Especially a pet that requires copious trips outside in order to relieve himself. A dog’s large size and abundance of energy can cause problems for those living in small spaces, but that doesn’t mean raising one there is impossible. If you’ve got small quarters but are still considering adopting a pup, here are few things to keep in mind.
Exercise a Lot
Most problems develop from a dog having to much energy and nowhere to let it loose. Combat this problem by taking your dog for at least two long walks each day. If you can take him jogging or allow him to run around the dog park that would be even better. Dogs need at least two high-intensity exercise sessions a week if you want to keep them from chewing up the cabinets.
Get the Right Breed
When it comes down to it, size really doesn’t play much of a factor in whether or not a dog can thrive in a small environment. It’s the capacity to chew and need to run that you have to worry about. Different breeds have different needs and some large dogs are happy to lounge around all day, like Greyhounds, while some small ones will tear your apartment apart if they don’t get to run free at least twice a day.
Protect Your Floors
Rather than let your dog run loose around the apartment, designate a specific area in the apartment where he can chew his bones and play games. It’s easier to pay for floor repairs in one spot than an entire apartment. Place a temporary mat down where he eats and chews to absorb any possible tears or stains. Also, make sure you’ve got your gear ready at the door to clean him off when he comes in from the rain.
Desensitize Your Pup
Strange noises and people can make a pup anxious and cause him to act out by destroying property or barking incessantly throughout the day. It’s important to get him used to his environment by allowing him to interact with people living around you. Give him a little time to get used to all the noise and be sure to taking him to obedience classes where they can help with his issues.
Aim For the First Floor
Your dog, especially as a puppy, will need to make frequent trips outside to use the bathroom. Having an apartment on the second or third floor will make this a tedious process so try and secure one on the first floor to avoid the stairs. Your legs and your pup’s bladder will both appreciate it.
Add a Balcony Potty
If for some reason you can’t get an apartment on the first floor you’re not quite out of luck. Hopefully your apartment has a balcony, which can be home to an emergency potty. You can create your own, but it’s easy to buy a contraption with faux grass upon which your pup can do his business if the urge strikes in the middle of the night.
Set Aside Extra Cash
No matter how well behaved your dog might be, you should acknowledge that there’s a high possibility he’s going to destroy something or leave a stain. You’ll have to pay to prepare it, so if you prepare yourself to lose your deposit going in you won’t be too upset upon move-out day. You might also want to set aside extra cash in case he destroys something big you have to replace, like cabinet doors.
Establish a Relief Routine
One of the advantages of having a house with a yard is that when your dog needs to go all you have to do is open the back door. Some homeowners even have the luxury of a doggie door so he can let himself out. As an apartment dweller the dog will require more attention when he does the deed. Create a schedule so you can both be on the same page and he’ll be able to go at specific times during the day, hopefully during your twice-daily walks.
Hire a Dog Walker or Daycare
If you work out of the home and can’t make it back to check on your pet throughout the day, it might be a good idea to hire someone to do it for you. Alternatively, you can sign him up for daycare and let him play with others all day. This’ll allow him to get plenty of exercise and not force him to hold himself for hours on end.
Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible.