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Guide to apartment living with your dog

Apartment hunting with a dog can be challenging, but with a wider acceptance of furry friends these days, it’s becoming easier. If you’re still in the dreaming stages of even purchasing a forever best friend, consider breeds that would do better in a tiny living space adjoined closely to other’s dwellings before making the leap.

Yappy Yorkies and hyperactive Jack Russells could have difficulties adjusting, while laid back English Bulldogs and even Great Danes may be fairly easy to integrate. Regardless, with the right training and considerations, you can make it work—plan ahead, keep others in mind, and take advice from the experienced.

Finding the Right Apartment for a Dog

Thoroughly investigate the pet policies—never assume or simply go off something you’ve read or heard. Also, inquire about a pet deposit and try to find out if former renters have experienced any sticky situations upon departing their abode. 

Once all of that is squared away, and you know your baby is welcome without any unreasonable rules or catches, think about the location of your apartment.

  • Is there a convenient place for potty time?
  • Are there pet friendly areas to roam?
  • Where’s the nearest emergency veterinary hospital?
  • Are there other pet related services nearby?

First floor units typically work out the best, because of easy accessibility for restroom breaks—because who wants to climb three flights of stairs in the middle of the night? A well-kept balcony nook with a Petmaker Indoor Restroom grass pad can be a good solution, if you don’t mind cleaning out the tray. Doing this forever may be unrealistic, but it will do in a pinch.

Lastly, ensure there’s enough room for movement and some light play. It’s understandable that owners can’t always run to the nearest dog park but built up energy can be catastrophic. Ensure that Fido can comfortably nose a ball around, or just easily trot about without knocking things over. 

Everyday Pet Etiquette for Apartment Dwellers

Being considerate of neighbors goes a long way—unnecessary conflict is avoided, you might make some great friends for puppy play dates, and it’s the right thing to do. Take measures to tame barking habits, as walls can be thin. Whistle training might work, and sometimes just voice commands are useful. Making sure your pup is getting lots of exercise can also remedy the issue, since this reduces bark triggering anxiety.

Editor’s Note: If you have a barker, these bark management tips from Fetchfind’s Jaime Migdal may help.

Picking up poop is a given, even in designated potty areas. Fellow pet owners will appreciate not having to dodge steamy little gifts, and other will be grateful for unsoiled shoes. Biodegradable Poop Bags made from plant matter cost just 15 cents per bag. In some locations, not picking up after your pup may result in a fine.

Remember to keep your baby on a leash not only to protect them, but it may put others at ease as well. It gives that healthy boundary until you, your neighbor or your dog decides they’d like to pursue a friendship.

Puppy Play Time

Play time for your pup is beyond important. It torches energy that builds up in a smaller space, while also, preventing boredom destruction like furniture chewing and floor scratching—especially if your pup suffers from separation anxiety. Perhaps your apartment doesn’t have the best lawn for fetch—look around for a nearby park or determine if the walkways would work for a daily stroll. Scheduling playdates with a friend that has a yard can be a solution, too.

Puzzle toys and even a gentle tugging game or other interactions can take place right in your own living room. Moments like these bond us with our pets, forming a deeper, fulfilling connection.

Living Happily Ever After

Finding that perfect routine takes time, but it can be done. Working out the potty schedules, organizing playtime, and getting into the swing of apartment etiquette can be overwhelming at first, but diligence will bring you and your dog to city living triumph. After all, we can’t imagine coming home without a peppy little angel to greet us!


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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