Living in an apartment doesn’t mean that you have to put your dream of dog ownership on hold. For many people in cities such as Los Angeles, apartment living may be the only viable choice. Not to worry though! By doing a little research and putting a routine in place, having an apartment dog can be easier than you might think.
Here are five tips for raising a dog in a small space.
Choose Your Breed Wisely
Not all breeds of dog are suitable for apartment living. Some breeds are content to lounge around for much of the day, while others will need room to run around. Contrary to popular belief, a dog’s space requirements doesn’t always correspond to the size of the dog. Some large breeds, like Greyhounds, make great dogs for apartments. They are content to lounge around all day! Some smaller breeds, on the other hand, will destroy your home if they don’t get to run free at least a few times a day. Do your research when choosing a breed to ensure you’re getting the right dog for your lifestyle.
Take Plenty of Walks
Most behavioral problems in apartment dogs can be attributed to having too much pent up energy. You can counteract this by taking your dog out for an invigorating jog or at least two walks a day. If you’re going to be making this a part of your daily routine, be sure to invest in a running dog leash for safety and convenience. Fido may also enjoy running around with other dogs at an off-leash park. Some dog-friendly apartments even have their own doggy park! Depending on the breed, your dog may also need a few high-intensity exercise sessions a week. Consider an indoor doggie playground or agility training course.
Keep Apartment Dogs on the Ground Floor
If possible, rent an apartment on the main floor of a building. Having an apartment on a higher floor will make taking your dog out a laborious process–especially if your building has no elevator. Living on the ground floor is especially advantageous if you have a puppy, who will likely need to make frequent trips outside.
Consider a Balcony Potty
If you’re unable to rent an apartment on the ground floor of a building, you can create a potty area for your pup on your balcony. You can either build one on your own or purchase a box with artificial grass. While it will need to be cleaned regularly, a balcony potty can be a convenient alternative to taking your dog outside for late night potty trips.
Hire a Dog Walker
If you’ll be away from your apartment for long periods of time, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to check on your dog throughout the day. This will allow Fido to get a bathroom break, a snack, and a bit of exercise while he waits for your return.
Always remember that dogs are a lifetime commitment. If you have any doubts that you can’t handle or afford a dog (or any pet) than it is best to wait. Many apartment dogs end up back at the shelter or worse, on the street. This is due to unrealistic expectations of the owner and lack of due diligence. Along with the tips provided above, apartment living can be an enjoyable living arrangement for you and your pet.