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Seven Tips for Handling a Dog in an Apartment

With all that’s going on in the world, you might be considering adding a furry friend to your family and home this winter. However, if you’re an apartment-dweller, you might be wondering if it’s possible to handle a dog in a small living space without a backyard!

Your worries are not unfounded—having a dog in an apartment isn’t for the faint of heart, but there are millions of families who make it work. While it may take some more time and work than in a large home with a yard, many families would agree that having a dog is worth it! Here are some simple tips if you’re considering getting a dog in an apartment.

1. Consider the Breed

Many people automatically assume that small dogs are great for apartments and large dogs are not, but that’s actually not the case. The breed and temperament of the dog is much more important than its size.

For example, a dog like a Great Dane is huge, but they are decidedly lower energy than a small Jack Russell Terrier or Beagle. We recommend doing a lot of research on dogs' breeds to find one with a temperament that works well in tight spaces without lots of exercises.

Another thing to consider when looking at breeds is their coat. A dog with a heavy coat or long hair could be harder to handle in such a small space without being overrun by hair and fur. A hypoallergenic dog may be a better choice if you still want to be able to host guests.

2. Come Up With a Bathroom Routine

Adding a dog to an apartment is an understanding that, rain or shine, you will need to take the dog outside to use the bathroom every day, multiple times a day. There will never be a backyard to just let them out the door in, so you’ll need to be mentally prepared to make walks a new part of your routine.

Generally, dogs can hold their bladders for 3-6 hours at a time, and after the puppy months, they can sleep through the night. By sticking to a routine and not forcing your dog to wait too long, you may find that they don’t feel the need to communicate extra bathroom needs to you. However, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your dog’s cues in those first few months in case an urgent bathroom trip is needed. Every owner needs to know the potty training of a dog.

3. Get as Much Energy Out on Walks

When planning your walks and trips outside, try to get as much of your dog’s energy out as possible on those walks. Many cities offer dog parks where you can let your dog off their leash to chase balls or sticks. Other owners become avid walkers or runners with their dogs to get their energy out—a bonus is that it helps you get in shape too! The more energy you can get your dog to expend, especially on the first-morning walk of the day, the better.

4. Have a Comfy Area for Your Dog

You may be pressed for room, but make sure to give your dog a safe space that they can retreat to when they need to rest or be alone. It may be just a calming pet bed in a corner with a basket of toys, but your dog needs somewhere to go to escape, especially if you have a large family.

5. Invest in an Air Purifier

An air purifier would be a great investment to keep your small living space from smelling like a dog. Your family may get used to the smell, but your guests will appreciate the extra expense when they come to visit your apartment.

6. Save for Repairs

In such a small space, accidents are bound to happen. It’s a good idea to budget for repairs and replacements that will need to be done in the apartment because of your dog. It may be refinishing the scratched wood floors, replacing the carpet, or paying for extra cleaning. If it’s planned for, it shouldn’t be too much of a financial burden or surprise. We recommended using a tug toy for dogs that keeps your dog busy and your furniture safe from scratches.

7. Get Help

As much as you love and care for your dog, it’s a good idea to have some reliable help you can call on when you need to be gone for more than 6 hours or if you go out of town. A good dog walker could be a great investment if you work long hours away from home. A neighbor or local teenager is another option for caring for your dog while you’re away.

It’s a good idea to get established with one before the need arises. Word of mouth with fellow dog owners in your apartment building is a great way to find out who the trusted carers are.

As you can see, keeping a dog in an apartment is far from impossible, and with a little extra work, it can be very manageable. They can be a great impetus to get out of your building and explore your city while meeting fellow dog owners and neighbors. They are also a great motivator to exercise since they have to be walked whether you feel like it or not!

Don’t let small spaces keep you from investing in a relationship with a man’s (or woman’s) best friend! If you follow our tips, we can guarantee you’ll be set up for a successful cohabitation with your pup in a cozy apartment.

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