With more and more people living in apartments and compact urban homes these days, the demand for apartment-friendly pets is higher than ever. While cats, pocket pets, and fish are all popular and low-maintenance options, there are plenty of dog breeds that are well-suited to apartment living, too.
If you’re longing for a canine friend to keep you company in your compact abode, the founders of Scratch – Australia’s favorite online dog food delivery service – share everything you need to know about choosing the right breed, toilet training, and the importance of regular exercise and stimulation.
Choosing the right breed.
One of the biggest factors in raising a happy small apartment dog is choosing the right breed. It’s not fair to expect a pet that needs endless room, exercise, or stimulation to be happy in a one-bedroom on the 12th floor.
Farm breeds like German shepherds, border collies, and golden retrievers can struggle in apartments.
Also, don’t assume that all small dogs will enjoy a small apartment. Energetic breeds like terriers can be too restless and noisy to enjoy the confined space. Often, lower energy larger breeds can be happier to chill on the couch all day. As a general rule small, quiet, easy to train breeds to do well in apartments. Some top options include:
- Cavalier King Charles spaniels
- Brussels griffons
- Japanese chins
- Shih tzus
As mentioned some larger, relaxed breeds, who don’t have a strong protective instinct can also do well. Poodles, bulldogs, and greyhounds are all popular small apartment dogs. Even St. Bernards and Great Danes are often recommended. Just remember, no matter how quiet a huge dog will still take up a lot of space.
Keeping Small Apartment Dogs Happy
The general rule is the right dogs don’t need a huge amount of space as long as they’re getting regular exercise. Outside of bathroom breaks (more on that later) small apartment dogs should get at least two decent walks a day. If you have a park or open area nearby, it’s also nice for them to have time off-leash to really burn some energy. This isn’t just about getting a workout, but also giving them a chance to socialize with people and other animals.
If that isn’t possible, consider hiring a dog walker to take them to doggy daycare. Dogs that spend a lot of time home alone also need additional mental stimulation. Invest in puzzle feeders and interactive smart toys to stop them from getting bored, or make your own.
Boredom can lead to destructive behavior, so best for everyone (and your furniture) to keep them entertained.
Most apartment dogs will need to be taken out multiple times a day to use the bathroom. Remember, no matter the weather/schedule/hangover your pet will need to be taken out early each morning. It’s important to establish a schedule around toilet breaks. This will allow them to get used to holding and reduce accidents and anxiety.
To ensure the dog doesn’t take over the whole apartment make sure they have their own designated area to play, eat, destroy bones, and generally make a mess.
Before you choose a dog, pay attention to what it feels like to live in your apartment. Do you have noisy neighbors, or is there a lot of construction in your neighborhood that could set off a skittish pet? Some owners choose to adopt older dogs so they can better judge their personality and suitability to apartment living.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.