According to an Apartments.com survey, more than 70% of apartment renters in the U.S. own dogs and cats. With small, indoor living spaces and limited outdoor access, apartment living with pets can be challenging. Here are six tips to make living with pets in an apartment an enjoyable and stress-free experience.
1. Consider your pet’s personality
Size isn’t the only factor to consider when living with pets in an apartment. Large dogs with mellow personalities may do better living in an apartment compared to small, high-energy dogs such as toy poodles and terriers that bark a lot.
2. Establish set bathroom routines
It’s easier for dogs to adapt to apartment living if you establish a set routine for their bathroom breaks. Take your pet out at certain times throughout the day and evening. Train them to go to the bathroom in designated areas around your apartment building.
Cats like privacy when using the litter box so keep their litter box hidden away in the bathroom or a spare bedroom. By using an enclosed litter box, it cuts down on messy litter scattered on the floor.
3. Give pets plenty of exercise
High-energy level breeds such as labs, retrievers, and shepherds can adapt well to apartment living as long as they get plenty of daily exercise, including outside play time. Large dogs need a lot of exercise and love to run around and fetch. Make sure they play outdoors as much as possible.
If you work all day and don’t have the time to exercise your pet, you can hire a professional dog walker to exercise him.
4. Think tall when living with cats
It can be difficult for cats to find a space to call their own in a tiny apartment. Cats are curious by nature and love to explore. Cats enjoy climbing high and like to be out of reach so they can look down and observe their surroundings.
When living with cats in an apartment, think tall. Make sure they have tall, multi-level cat towers and kitty condos with scratching posts. If your cat loves to curl up on the window ledge and look out, secure and lock windows so your cat doesn’t escape.
5. Keep pets entertained
Just like humans, pets can become depressed and lonely if they don’t get enough play time and exercise. If your pet seems restless or bored, it may mean they need more entertainment or one-on-one time with mom and dad.
Give pets plenty of fun, interactive toys to play with throughout the day—especially if you are gone all day. Place toys in different rooms and locations throughout the apartment. This gives pets a good excuse to walk around and exercise as they search for their favorite toys in another room. Switch their toys every few months so pets don’t get bored playing with the same toys.
Another option is to create a “catio,” an enclosed cat patio that allows cats to venture outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Before building a catio, get permission from your apartment manager. Enclose the catio with secure gates and fencing so cats don’t jump off the balcony and injure themselves. You can also create a similar patio for small dogs. Some apartments allow pet doors so if you have an enclosed patio or yard area, this is another fun way for curious pets to safely explore the outdoors.
6. Live on the first floor
As pet owners, it’s far more convenient to live in a first-floor apartment. It saves you the hassle of taking your dog up and down the stairs (or the elevator) for bathroom breaks.
Since big dogs weigh more, they tend to make more noise when thudding around the apartment. High-energy dogs and cats run and jump around a lot, which can be a disturbance for the neighbors below you.