Small Space, Big Love: Apartment Dogs – by Carrie Barkshaw
Small space, big love - living in an apartment with a dog
Can’t live without a dog but you live in an apartment? Don’t let that stop you! Sure, you might have a few restrictions but you can definitely make it work.
You’ll need to do your homework
This doesn’t mean that you’ll be restricted to a small breed, lots of large breeds can still work in an apartment as they love to laze about – you’ll just have to keep that powerful bark in check. This can be done with training and desensitising your dog to all their neighbourhood sounds; we recommend engaging with a professional trainer before you bring your dog home to discuss the best way to do this. Make sure you investigate your breed well – focus on size, personality and exercise needs. Be sure to check with your landlord or body corporate on any size or breed restrictions to avoid any emotional turmoil later.
Where does a dog fit in your life?
This goes for anyone adopting a dog, but if you’re living in a small space and out of the house for long hours, this will be particularly rough on a dog. Dogs are pack animals, they enjoy the company of others and the stimulation that exercise and activities gives them.
If you’re out for long periods of time, you might want to consider a dog walker or visitor to come play with your dog throughout the day, or doggy day care for them to socialise and exercise with other four-legged friends.
Another option is puzzles and mental stimulation toys like kongs and snuffle mats.There are plenty of these out there for doggos – you’ll be spoilt for choice.
As the saying goes ‘a tired dog is a good dog’; get them to use up their energy so they’re too tired to tear the place apart while you’re gone.
Take a look at the space you’ll be sharing
While a Great Dane may not need as much exercise as a Kelpie, they certainly take up a lot more room than a Chihuahua. Do you have the space for them to sleep comfortably? How about toilet time? Ever seen how much a dog’s tail wags? Watch out for that expensive lamp on your side table.
Consider a ‘porch potty’ if you have a balcony – these are usually available with artificial grass but there are some out there that have real grass. Some of these potties can hook up to the drain outside, while others are simply a tray with grass. Whatever you choose, I’m sure your dog will be grateful for the comfort of having a designated spot to ‘go’ while you’re not home.
We recommend researching natural, healthy diet for your dog. Many pet parents have claimed that switching their dog to a raw, natural diet had a remarkable effect on their poops, with many stating that smell and volume reduced. What a difference this makes in an apartment! Check out Maverick’s story at the end of this article.
Also, while we’re on the topic of toilet accidents – what kind of flooring do you have? This consideration is also important for dogs that drool and also those that shed… and there are some that shed a LOT. It’s totally fine to choose a breed that drools or sheds, but living in such a small space will see you cleaning a lot more frequently – but hey, maybe you’re into that?
Time with your dog every day
We definitely recommend a daily walk for you pooch, but we also have some indoor activities that you might find handy:
Hide and treat
It’s like hide and seek but with treats! This game may also be known as Search and Sniff. All you do is hide treats all over your house and your dog finds them! Get creative! Hot tip – don’t put them in pot plants! Not only does this make a mess but you don’t want to encourage this behaviour, also some plants are toxic to dogs.
Where are all the ballers at?
Have you got a long hallway? Use it as a ballway! Have a game of fetch in the hall – or Piggy in the Middle with another person, but make sure you let your dog get the ball at some point so you don’t cause them a heckin’ frustration.
Give a dog a bone
We recommend raw meaty bones for dental and mental health for your dog. Chewing on a meaty bone is very stimulating for dogs and keeps their teeth clean. We recommend including a raw meaty bone in their diet a few times a week. You may swap this out for a meal (or part of a meal) depending on the size of the bone and the amount of meat on it. Bones should always be a supervised activity, and if you’re worried about the mess when you can’t simply send them outside to enjoy their bone in the grass, teach them to ‘go to your mat’. Place an old towel down, then scoop it up and dunk it in the washing machine afterwards.
There are lots of great mental stimulation toys available out there to get your dog’s mind going. You can walk into any pet store and find a plethora of these to choose from! Or a quick google will bring up a never ending list. You can even create your own using empty boxes, toilet paper rolls and other household items that you would normally toss in the bin – how about you recycle them into a bundle of joy for your pet?
Love lives here
Remember, being a responsible pet parent is cool. Choose the right personality and size to suit your style and space and let the love times roll.
Maverick’s Story -
Our cockerspaniel Maverick is crazy for his Big Dog food! We transitioned him over to raw food from his puppy dry food after he was having reoccurring stomach upsets. We thought plain dry food would be best but he would often have days of diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain, we would give him a week on chicken and rice to settle him but it would happen again after returning to the kibble.
We transitioned him over to Big Dog nice and slowly, there were a few little stomach upsets as we transitioned but nothing like he was having and we persevered (with the addition of Big Dogs’ probiotic supplement) because he loved it so much! Now, a month later his stomach is all better. It worked a treat for him and it’s also super easy and convenient for us. We also couldn’t believe how much more manageable his poo is! Living in an apartment, this is a huge plus for us after cleaning up diarrhoea for so long.
We’re so happy to see him back to his active, happy (and handsome!) self.