Apartment Living With Your Dog
Apartment-Proof Your Pup
Apartment living can have many advantages: low maintenance, close to
work and entertainment, and ease of changing residence. But, if you’re a
dog owner, apartment living can present some difficulties. You probably
won’t have your own yard for him to play in, and your inside space may
be somewhat compact.
However, with enough exercise, stimulation and preventative measures,
the difficulties are easy to overcome. In honor of National Dog Day on
August 26, here are some doggone good tips to help you and your pup
succeed at apartment living, together.
The first part of keeping a dog happy and healthy inside your apartment is to optimize her experiences outside.
- Most dogs will do best with walks twice a day and a good run off the leash at least once a week. Active breeds may need more.
- Vary the routes for your daily walks to open her up to
stimulating new smells and experiences. You could also schedule
playdates with other dogs in your neighborhood.
- If you tend to be absent for long hours, consider a doggie daycare or perhaps a midday visit from a professional dog walker.
Boredom and pent-up energy can only lead to one thing: trouble, such
as your pup chewing on your favorite pair of boots, your sofa or the
floorboards – there goes your deposit.
- When you only have a few minutes to spare, or the weather
outside is frightful, indoor games can provide good mental stimulation.
Is there a safe place to play tug-of-war? Can you roll a ball down a
staircase or hallway?
- Keep a variety of chew toys in rotation. Keep half in a toy
basket that he can dig through when you’re gone. Keep the rest hidden
away and gradually rotate them through his basket so there’s always
- Puzzle toys can keep your dog occupied long after you’ve walked
out the door. Some are as simple as a hollow toy you stuff with peanut
butter. More complex toys stimulate his sense of smell and challenge him
to figure out how to open doors to uncover hidden treats.
How much room does your dog need to roam while you’re out of the
house? Enough not to feel cramped, but not so much that she can get into
- Even in a small apartment, your dog should have her own place,
with enough room to stretch out, a comfortable bed or blanket, her
favorite toys and access to her food and water bowls.
- Put latches or clasps on cupboard and closet doors to keep your
pup out of the trash can, laundry basket and dangerous chemicals.
- If needed, keep whole rooms off-limits with dog gates or other
blockades, especially if you’re not ready to trust her around carpets
and nice furniture.
Your pup’s size and level of energy will affect how well she adapts
to apartment living, but active dogs can still thrive if you provide
enough exercise and stimulation, as well as a comfortable and safe
environment. Many big breeds can even be more sedate than smaller ones.
With the right approach for your pup, there’s no reason you and your dog can’t be perfectly happy calling an apartment home.