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4 Tips on How to Live in a Small Apartment with a Pet

Walking your dog can make apartment living with a pet easier
Written by Elliot Chalme

Your dog can quickly become restless if he doesn’t get enough exercise. Your apartment shouldn’t feel like it’s an oversized kennel. Keep a box of toys handy for your dog, and play with him often. Dogs love playing tug. You can even play fetch inside your apartment.

However, walking outside is one of the best things for your dog. Try to take him out for a decent walk once or twice a day. If there is a dog park nearby, take him there so he can run off-leash for a while. With your busy lifestyle, you might not have time to walk your dog. If that’s the case, consider hiring a dog walker. You might even be able to go online and find Groupons for dog-sitting services.

How much exercise your dog needs depends on his age, breed, and overall health. Breeds that were meant for hunting, working, or herding need the most exercise; these breeds include Labs, collies, and hounds. If you have one of these breeds, try to make sure your pet gets at least two hours of activity a day.

1. Don’t leave Your pet alone for too long

Cats are easy. As long as they have food, water, and a litter box, you can leave them alone for a day or two at a time. Dogs, though, are a different story. They’re pack animals, and they thrive on companionship. Being cooped up all day in a small apartment can wreak emotional havoc on your animal; he might even resort to destroying your furniture or eating your shoes if he gets too anxious.

In general, dogs can go seven or eight hours without relieving themselves. That’s also the maximum amount of time you should leave your animal alone. If you’re going to be gone longer than that, ask a trusted neighbor to check on your furry companion so he doesn’t have any accidents — and so he doesn’t damage anything in your apartment.

If you work during the day and worry about your pup while on the grind, another option to consider are dog care services. Rover is an online service where you can hire someone to come spend time with your pet. Anything from playtime, dog walking, dog boarding and house sitting for your pet are included in their service offering. You can even review pet companions and choose the one that's the best fit for your furry friend.

Another option are local doggy day cares where you can take you dog during the day while you're away. Not only will it keep your dog active and entertained, it's also a great way to socialize your dog with other pups!

2. How to make space for your pet

If you have a high-energy dog, he’s going to hate being confined to a small space. To give him more room to be himself, get rid of unnecessary belongings. You might even be able to rearrange your furniture so your apartment has a more open feel to it.

Also consider moving some of your things into a storage unit. If you put all your winter clothes in storage for the summer, for example, you might be able to sell your bulky dresser. That armoire that you never use? Put it in storage. Try to live in as minimalistic a way as possible so your dog has space to play.

3. Have Pet-Friendly Furniture

pet friendly furniture

You might have a beautiful sofa, but can it stand up to life with your pet? Cats tend to scratch things. Dogs chew on things. Stains are always a concern. Pet fur gets everywhere. Instead of constantly fighting with your pets to keep them off the furniture, invest in furniture that can let you snuggle with your pet anytime.

Slipcovers are one way to protect furniture, but you could also treat all your upholstery with a stain-resistant solution. Also, try to avoid furniture or slipcovers that tend to attract animal fur.

Leather is a good choice for upholstery because cats tend not to like scratching it, and pet fur doesn’t cling to it. If your dog’s claws scratch the leather, it might be possible to buff the scratch out.

4. Control the Barking

Living an apartment with a dog is especially tough if your dog isn’t used to being around people. He might bark at every noise and go crazy when someone walks by your door. To avoid this, try to socialize him as much as possible. When you’re walking your dog and you see neighbors, make sure to introduce both yourself and Fido.

If barking is a problem that disturbs you and your neighbors, you may have to put forth extra effort to train your dog to keep quiet. You could also keep the curtains closed so he can’t see what there is to bark at outside. Putting a bark collar on him is another option.

You love your dog, and you want him to be happy and healthy in your small space. By making sure he gets his exercise, creating a bit more room for him, and following some other simple tips, you can master the nuances of how to live in an apartment with a dog.

About the author

Elliot Chalme

A New York City native, who split his time growing up in Brooklyn and Manhattan, currently living in Philadelphia sharing storage and organization knowledge, and NYC insider info with the Storage Space readers!

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1 Comment

  • I appreciate that is important to have pet-friendly furniture when living with a pet. My wife and I are moving to a pet-friendly mobile home soon. We will keep this information you shared in mind when the move happens.