Apartment life: how to help your dog thrive

Dog Health Dec 29, 2020

Apartment living can be tough when it comes to having pets. And even more challenging if your pet is a pooch.

But actually, your fur baby can be happy and healthy regardless of age or energy levels while living in a compact space. And big or small, dogs can still thrive in apartment life if you follow some simple steps.

Doggy help & ruff play

Dogs are a massive commitment. But the most important rule for a happy and healthy pup is regular exercise.

Regular, though, can mean different things to different dogs. And can be anywhere from 1 to 3 times a day.

Generally, there isn't much opportunity to release puppy energy in an apartment. And often little space for  proper play. So you must understand your pups exercise needs to prevent any destructive behaviours from manifesting.

As a very general rule though we suggest exercising your pup twice a day. Morning and evening walks are ideal but some jogging, running, or the opportunity to swim are also great activities. Again depending on the age and needs of your pup.

A  visit to a dog park when possible is a great opportunity for playing fetch, socialising with other pups and some good, old fashioned running around.

Most dogs are at their best when they have regular access to outdoor activities. This can be difficult for some fur-parents to manage alone. so consider hiring a dog walker or signing them up for doggy daycare. With daily physical activity and mental stimulation, even high-energy pups will settle in to apartment life.

Best canine

Some dog breeds though, naturally cope better in apartments than others. But that doesn't mean you can't have a large or medium-sized pup in your apartment. In fact, some smaller breeds may struggle in confined living spaces because they tend to be high energy pups. Yet, lower-energy larger breeds can actually thrive.

So, if you haven't decided on a breed yet, do a little research first.

That being said, dogs, like humans, are individuals. Higher or lower energy levels can vary from pooch to pooch, depending on their nature.

Dog-friendly spaces

Dogs can unwind easier if they have their own space. Your pup needs somewhere for their bed or crate and toys. They'll also need a permanent place for their water and food bowl. That way your dog can retreat to their area when they need a break. And knowing where they can find food and water when they need it will keep stress levels down.

Hound vet visits

Lots of apartment complexes have a communal outdoor area. Since other people, and likely their pets, also use this area, make sure you keep up to date with pups vaccinations. And despite apartment living, parasite preventatives are still crucial.

Pooch routine

Dogs love and need routine, it's a large part of what keeps them happy and healthy. But this is especially important if they don't have easy access to outdoor areas. Taking your pooch for a walk the same time each day will help them get into a healthy toileting routine.

Feeding your dog at the same time each day is also a good idea for regulating their bowel movements. Without a proper feeding and bathroom routine, you could be standing around outside waiting impatiently for your pup to do it's business and causing your dog unnecessary anxiety.

Puppy playdates

Dogs generally love hanging with other dogs. It allows them to interact and play in a way they can’t with people. You might be able to connect with other dog owners in your apartment building. Or you may find a group of pups and owners who visit the same local parks as you do.

Canine training

A well-trained dog will save you a lot of hassle among neighbours. With many people sharing limited space in apartment buildings, you'll need to be extra aware of your dog barking day and night. Ask your veterinarian about behavioural training if your dog is a barker.

Understanding basic commands and the house rules will make life easier for both you and your pup. And while it's almost impossible to completely stop your pooch from barking, some good training can keep it to a minimum.

Particularly in the city, apartments can be a hub of noise and activity.  And it can take dogs a little time to adjust to these surroundings. The key is to provide a safe, peaceful environment where they feel secure. Crates can be the perfect retreat when your dog feels anxious or scared, especially when they are alone.

The tail end

How your dog manages alone time in their apartment home will depend on their size, temperament, and energy levels. But leaving any pup for substantial amounts of time can cause mental health issues, particularly in an apartment with no outdoor access. Again this is where all of your dog support network comes into play; friends, neighbours and carers can be a huge help.

Like humans, canines are pretty adaptable. And just like us, all they really need is lots of nature and nurture to keep them happy and healthy.

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