Apartment Living With Dogs

Dogs can make wonderful companions, but they are also a lot of responsibility. If your dog’s mental and physical needs are not met, he is more likely to exhibit behaviours such as barking, chewing, destructiveness and escaping. If you live in an apartment and are thinking of getting a dog, the most important considerations are:

The energy level of the dog

Dogs with lower energy levels are generally easier to manage in a small area. The amount of exercise required will also depend on your dog’s age and health status. Have a chat to your vet about how much exercise you should give your dog. A young, healthy dog should have daily exercise through walking, swimming or playing.

The noise level of the dog

Some dogs are more vocal than others. In an apartment with neighbours close by, you should look at breeds that are not known to be particularly vocal. Some dogs can also be sensitive to noise, so would not be suited to apartment living.

Laws surrounding dog ownership in your building

Rules vary greatly between apartment complexes. Some may allow people to keep small dogs that must be carried through communal areas, some may allow a certain number of animals, and others may not allow animals at all. You should find out what rules apply to your building.

Whether your apartment is suitable

Are the balconies safe and of a suitable size for your dog? Make sure your dog cannot walk, fall or jump off the balcony. If you have your windows open, is it possible for your dog to fall or jump out of them? Are the floor coverings suitable? Is there sufficient insulation or soundproofing? Does your apartment get very hot and, if so, is there air conditioning for your dog? Are there places nearby that you can take your dog for exercise? If you live in a high-rise building, are you allowed to take your dog into the elevator? If you need to make modifications to your apartment to make it pet-friendly, are you allowed to do so? Remember that animals must have access to shelter at all times.

Where your dog can go to the toilet

Not all dogs can ‘hold on’ all day while you are at work. There are doggy toilets available to purchase if your dog does not have access to a
toileting area.

Keeping your dog entertained

To keep your dog happy and to minimise behaviours such as barking, chewing, destructiveness and escaping, dogs need to have their mental and physical needs met.

‘Enrichment’ involves making changes to an animal’s environment to ensure that they are adequately stimulated, both mentally and physically. Some ideas to keep your dog entertained include:

  • scattering his food around the apartment for him to find instead of feeding him from a bowl. This works best with just one dog so you know how much food he is getting
  • using a food-dispensing toy so your dog has to figure out how to get the food out (this can even be an empty water bottle with the lid and plastic ring removed)
  • freezing food with water in clean, empty containers for hot days
  • having a range of toys that you can rotate daily. Make sure you have observed your dog interacting with the toys so you can ensure they are safe
  • utilising a ‘doggy daycare’ service if your dog enjoys the company of other dogs
  • taking your dog to the park to socialise him if he likes other dogs
  • employing a dog walker to walk your dog during the day while you are at work
  • playing fetch and tug games
  • taking your dog to training classes. Ensure you only go to classes that use positive reinforcement training methods. Your dog may also enjoy sports like agility, flyball, or nosework

Now that you’re fully equipped with the relevant information for apartment living with dogs,  make sure to visit our adoption page to find your new furry best friend!