How to Take Care of a Dog in an Apartment

By Maya Marin

Don't believe anyone who tells you that a dog isn't fit for apartment life and that he will have tons of pent-up energy. If you give your canine the care he needs, he'll be passed out in front of your couch—or on it—every night, exhausted from all the fun he had. But keeping your pup in an apartment does mean you'll have to invest a bit more energy and use a little more creativity

Exercise your pup as much as possible. Whether you have a larger three-bedroom apartment or a one-bedroom, your little guy's not going to have a lot of opportunities to run freely inside. It's imperative that you take him on daily walks, play fetch throughout the day and frequent dog parks or other enclosed areas so he has an opportunity to run off his leash. Aim for off-leash exercise everyday.

Fill a toy basket for him. Without a yard to run in and lots of space to explore, your pup will become bored in a hurry. Give him a basket full of toys that he can access at any time, and fill it with all kinds of chews, bones, ropes, treat dispensers and the like. The more things he has to keep himself busy, the less likely you are to come home to your wooden chair missing a leg or floor missing patches of carpet.

Optimize the space. With a canine roommate, it's time to make your home as spacious as can be and still fit all of his and your belongings. Keep furniture as close to the wall as possible, mount your TV and leave open pathways to each room. Squeeze his bed into tight areas so it isn't sitting out in the open, taking up space, but make sure he can still lie down comfortably.

Place food and water in quiet areas. Some dogs hate being bothered while scarfing down dinner and lapping up water, and they may react aggressively or fearfully. Situate his food in your bedroom or in an area of your apartment that doesn't see a lot of foot traffic, such as a sunroom. Avoid those tightly spaced laundry rooms, as the noise from your washer and dryer may prove too loud for your pup.

Keep your dog quiet while you're away. One of the biggest problems with apartment living is that your neighbors can hear almost everything, especially the loud woofs from your pup's mouth. To avoid disturbing those around you and having a complaint filed, he has to remain silent while you're away. Plenty of exercise and toys will certainly help, but consider crate-training him as well. If done slowly and positively, he'll come to view the crate as his safety den. Put his crate in a comfortable area, such as your bedroom, never next to a noisy appliance or in front of a window.

Brush your dog daily. Infrequent brushing might not be as noticeable in a larger house, but those clumps of hair your pup deposits onto your floor can turn a smaller apartment into fur central.

Open the blinds when you're home. A good way to keep your pup from becoming bored in his small home is to give him a view and let him check out what's going on outside.

by Chris Miksen