Pets are part of the family for many American households. We enjoy their companionship, regardless of what size home we have. Living in an apartment with a pet, however, can present some challenges. If you live in an apartment and are considering getting a pet, here are some tips that may help.
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know they need ample playtime and physical activity to keep them happy and healthy. This is the key thing to consider when looking to get a dog as a companion in an apartment. Dogs can become bored and lonely when left alone in smaller areas for long periods of time.
When choosing a breed for apartment living, it’s important to consider all personality characteristics and the types of care they require. For instance, some dog breeds bark more than others, which usually makes them a poor choice for condos and apartments. The same goes for dogs that are high energy and need more attention from the owners. Size is also an important factor.
Neighbors live close in apartment buildings, therefore a barking dog could quickly become a nuisance. A dog with large amounts of energy can become destructive and begin chewing on furniture and shoes, and may even go as far as digging at the carpet when they become too bored. Many apartments don’t allow dogs over a certain size.
If you are devoted enough, you can make any dog breed work for you, regardless of where you live. However, you’ll need to provide plenty of exercise and lots of chew toys to prevent boredom. All dogs need to be taken on regular walks and provided lots of mental stimulation to burn their excess energy.
Cats are known for being more independent than dogs. In turn, this helps them do well in apartments. While your cat will still need care and attention, it will be far less than a dog. Though cats sleep a great deal of the day, they do tend to become more active in the evening and at night.
If you live in a small condo or apartment with limited play space, you’ll need to arrange your furniture in a way that allows the cat to climb, play, and jump. Just keep in mind that if you live on a higher floor with a balcony, it can pose a threat to your cat if they fall. To prevent this, ensure that your cat is kept indoors at all times and windows are never left open enough that your cat could potentially get out. Since cats are curious and love to bird watch outdoors, it’s a great idea to provide some sort of perch to allow your feline to do so.
A common misconception with cats is that they should be free to roam. However, the SPCA strongly recommends that cats are always kept indoors or confined to an enclosed outdoor space. Cats that roam are much more likely to be injured, lost, killed, or result in unwanted kittens.
Litterboxes must be cleaned daily, especially in apartment-living, since the strong smells can carry over to your neighbors.
Other Small Pets
Perhaps the best pets for apartments are those that live in cages or aquariums. Animals such as guinea pigs, fish, and birds are great choices. Though you will have to put in work keeping their cages clean, this is far less than what a dog or cat requires. Guinea pigs are surprisingly loving creatures and can live as long as 8 years. Birds and even fish can bond with you as well. If interested in a bird, be sure to research the noise level of different species, as a noisy bird can quickly become a nuisance in an apartment environment.
In the end, there are lots of pet choices you can consider. If you are dedicated and want the pet badly enough, you can make any kind of animal work. Just keep in mind what is fair to the pet and your neighbors. After all, it may not be fair for a large dog to be confined to a small apartment or for a chatty bird to keep your neighbors awake at night. Choose wisely and always check with your landlord first to ensure the type of pet you want is allowed under your lease.