12 Ways to make your apartment dog happy
Whenever I talk to random friends or strangers about adopting a dog the most common thing I hear is:
"I would love to have a dog, but I can't, because I live in an apartment and
I don't have a backyard."
Today, I plan to dispel this myth so that apartment dwellers can finally rest assured that there is no problem with having a dog of almost any size in their apartment.
When I adopted my first dog Skai, I too believed that any medium-sized or larger dog should have a backyard to run in. So I was surprised to find that he didn't care much about being in the backyard except when I was working in the garden. Then it dawned on me — dogs are social creatures who love exploring and going on adventures, however their priority is also spending time with their human pack and enjoying a nice cozy den or enclosed space.
In other words, most canine friends can be very content and happy apartment dwellers as long as they are not spending the entire day alone, and get outside for a good walk at least twice daily.
If you live in an apartment with a dog or want to get a dog, I have put together 12 tips to help you keep your pup happy.
1. The size of the dog doesn't matter, because even large breeds are fine indoors if they get out for proper dog walks. It is more important to be aware of a tendency for some larger breeds to drool excessively. Some people do not mind having their places covered with slobber, but if you do, remember this before you get a Saint Bernard, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Bernese Mountain dog or similar larger breed.
2. Make sure that your dog has a comfortable and quiet space to rest. An open crate may be perfect for some dogs; others enjoy a space under a desk, on the sofa, or on a chair. Like my dog Pax, some dogs prefer to lay on tiles and cool surfaces. In any case, it is essential to ensure that your dog has a comfortable, non-toxic bed.
3. A healthy, non-toxic bed is a new concept for many dog lovers, mainly because the market is flooded with synthetic-fill pillows and dog beds. Most countries don’t have any health regulations for such products, and as a result, dog beds often contain toxins and carcinogens. Considering the many hours an average dog spends on their bed, choosing the right bed is an integral part of your dog's health and longevity plan. Here is my favourite dog bed, which Pax sleeps on. It is made from organic natural latex foam covered with organic cotton.
4. When it comes to apartment living with dogs, the most concerning part is how much time your dog will spend alone. In general, I do not recommend leaving your dog alone for more than 6 hours on a regular basis, except on rare occasions. An extended period of a lonely existence is unnatural and detrimental to the well-being of your canine friend. Some people may object that their dog sleeps so it's fine to do, but I dare to say they are only sleeping because they have no other choice.
5. Find a friend who loves dogs and can keep your dog company. There are plenty of people who would love to have a dog but can't do it on their own. Finding your dog an auntie or an uncle might be the perfect thing for you.
6. Many seniors would love to have a dog but worry about adopting one who may have 15 - 20 years of life ahead of them; hence finding a senior who would love to be your dog's grandparent can be a win-win arrangement.
7. Find a reliable dog walker who walks in small groups and gives dogs enough off-leash time. Large groups of dogs with one dog walker can be stressful, as well as a safety hazard if dogs pull or get tangled.
8. Doggy daycares are another option, but you will need to decide whether your dog thrives in such environments. Some daycares are well managed and organized; others are pure chaos. If you choose to use a doggy daycare, drop in and spend some time observing your dog's behaviour to see if they are happy there.
If you can't find any company for your dog, and you work long hours, full-time dog parenting may not be for you. If you already have a dog and are in this situation, I suggest trying one of the options above. Dogs are social beings and, in my opinion, should not be left alone on their own for an extensive length of time.
If you are fortunate to have a large property or a fenced yard, it is certainly a bonus — but not a must. Dogs have evolved to patrol and care for their territory, but...
I observe apparent differences in countries and regions where dogs do not get ample off-leash social time with other dogs. As a result, they are much more likely to be anxious and fearful, which often results in aggression.
Even if dogs have a thick coat and can physically withstand winter temperatures, being alone away from their human pack is detrimental to their well-being. The old-fashioned idea that dogs should not be allowed in the house and should be tied up outside, or spend their life in a kennel separated from their people, is a form of solitary confinement prison.
Hint: If a member of your household insists on keeping your dog outside, make sure that the dog house is large enough to fit a person.🤣
9. If it is about fur, get them a good vacuum as a gift.
10. If it is about dirt and smell, dogs who are fed a high-quality natural diet generally do not smell more than the average human. If your dog has a strong odour here are some links to essential supplements and healthy dog food recipes. You should see a dramatic change in their coat quality and odour within 1-3 months.
11. If it is about allergies, people often stop being allergic to dogs if they eliminate allergens like dairy and junk food from their diet. I used to react to many allergens and switching to a plant-based and dairy-free diet has almost eliminated my allergies entirely.
12. If it is about a fear of dogs, you may need to find an alternative living arrangement. Your dog is worth it! ❤️
Wishing you happy times with your canine apartment dweller!