Last updated: 23 Oct, 2023
Published on: 5 Jul, 2023
How to keep your dog happy and healthy in an apartment
Maybe you already live in an apartment and are considering adopting, or you’re downsizing to an apartment with your canine pal. The good news is apartment living doesn’t need to stand in the way of your dreams of happily living with a doggo! You can create an enriching and fun environment by understanding your dog’s unique personality and providing the tools to meet their needs.
Understand your dog's personality and needs
Getting to know your current or future dog’s personality is the key to successfully setting up their living environment and lifestyle. You’re no doubt familiar with your furry friend’s energy levels, temperament, likes and dislikes. Some dogs may be content with leisurely strolls with plenty of sniffs, while others enjoy more active exercise. Unmet needs can result in frustration or boredom that leads to unwanted behaviour, like excessive barking and chewing.
Don’t let any misconceptions about apartment living stop you from enquiring about adopting a dog. Small dogs aren’t necessarily always the best suited to an apartment - big, laid-back couch potatoes are often happy to spend their days lazing about inside and may not need a heap of exercise! It’s all about meeting their individual needs. The benefit of adopting an adult dog is that you can learn all about these needs from the rescue group that has been caring for them. Just like dating or interviewing a housemate, you'll be able to decide if you're a great match!
Prioritise regular exercise and mental stimulation
Big, small, active or lazy, most dogs require regular exercise. Limited space doesn’t mean limited exercise opportunities. Make time for daily walks or interactive games. Mentally stimulating activities, like puzzle toys and obedience training, are also a great way to exhaust their energy. Rotating these activities regularly prevents boredom and challenges the mind - a mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog!
If you’re looking to adopt, a sweet senior doggo could be a wonderful option for you - they often don’t need as much exercise and are happy chilling on the couch!
Additionally, if you’re out for long hours or unable to provide enough stimulation, consider services such as doggy daycare or dog walkers if these are options for you.
Fun fact: Did you know that a dog burns just as much energy with a 10-minute game of tug-of-war as they would with a one-hour walk? (Who needs the gym?!)
Create a dog-friendly sanctuary
Just like in any living situation, it’s important to set up a special corner dedicated to your dog. We're not talking about a shrine (although, no judgement, we get it!). We're talking about a peaceful and comfortable area to retreat to, which is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Stock it with the items they love, such as their favourite blanket, a comfy bed, puzzles and toys. If you have a safe balcony, a doggy toilet is useful for doing their business on while you’re at work. Check out this article for more tips on setting up a safe space for your dog.
It’s safe to say that PetRescue resident apartment dog Kobe’s needs are met.
Noise and disturbances
Living in an apartment complex often involves dealing with shared spaces and all kinds of noises. Gradually expose your dog to different sounds around the shared spaces of the complex (where they’re allowed, of course!), then around their new neighbourhood. Use white noise machines or calming music to create a soothing environment. Studies have shown that music can have a therapeutic effect on dogs, especially classical music.
Consider your neighbours
Living in an apartment means that your neighbours are close by. Some dogs are more vocal than others. It’s a good idea to check out your complex noise policy and consult with your neighbours. If you’re about to take the exciting step of adopting a dog, make sure to inform your neighbours.
You can pop a note in their letterbox letting them know about your new furry housemate, using your doggo’s name (they’re more likely to show compassion or understanding if they have a name association!) It’s also im-paw-tant to ask your neighbours to let you know if your dog is barking or being disruptive while you’re out - this will show that you’re a responsible pet owner who wants to make apartment living comfortable for all - human and non-human.
Ensure that you’re clear about where your dog is allowed to hang out in your complex, and be mindful of your neighbours and their space. Clear communication is key for creating a positive connection with your neighbours. They might even be willing to dog sit from time to time!
Obi, PetRescue’s resident apartment dog is satisfied most days with a short walk, a puzzle toy and snooze in his favourite spot. The neighbours often check that he’s okay with his human if they haven't heard him woofing for a while!
Dogs can absolutely live an apartment lifestyle as long as their needs are properly met. By understanding your dog’s needs, providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, creating a dog-friendly space, addressing noise concerns and considering your neighbours, you can foster a happy home for your beloved pooch. With love, care, and the right tools, apartment living can be a wonderful option for all!
If you’d like professional help, you can reach out to a vet or qualified force-free trainer to set up a plan for your apartment dog.
Ready to start your search for a doggo? Click here.
PetRescue and Pet Circle are working together to create a better world where every pet is safe and loved as a valued member of the family.
Banner image credit: Samson Katt via Pexels