It is more and more common for people to live in flats or apartments these days, as opposed to houses. Common belief once stated that you could not own a dog if you lived in a flat, as your dog would need space to move around.
But this is a myth. Living in an apartment does not mean you cannot have a dog. All you need to do is choose a breed that works with the space you have and that suits your lifestyle. The most important thing is that the dog who lives in your flat will be happy, healthy, and well-exercised.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few factors you should keep in mind when choosing dogs for flats.
What characteristics should you look for?
When choosing what dog you want to welcome home to your flat, it is important to choose a breed that will be happy in the space you provide. There is no sense in bringing home a dog that needs a lot of space, as they will likely be unhappy and under-exercised.
Instead, the best dogs for flats are those that have particular characteristics.
Size: It is usually preferable to buy a smaller dog if you live in an apartment, as they will have relatively more room to move around – whereas a large dog such as a Great Dane would struggle. However, it’s best not to choose the smallest breed of dog you can find, either. Some very small breeds have extremely high levels of energy and can also need a lot of space; this can be problematic in a limited space.
Energy: The best dogs for flats are those who do not want to do too many activities or those who are not tearing around the house constantly. These dogs will be happy with a twice daily walk around the local park, without lots of activity in-between.
Calm: This is an essential characteristic when choosing a dog for flats. Because flats can be relatively small, there may be less space for a dog to have their own ‘personal’ territory. The best dogs for flats, then, are ones who are calm in the face of such disturbances – i.e. they do not bark or startle or get anxious with too many things happening around them. Calmness is an essential characteristic for the city life and the same can be said for dogs in apartments.
Quiet: It is also important to choose a dog that is relatively quiet. The walls in apartments are not always as thick as they would be in a house and the neighbours may be disturbed if your dog is too noisy. This includes barking at all hours and running around the house (which may disturb those neighbours in the flat below). The last thing you want is your neighbour complaining, as it may just make daily life difficult.
What do you need to keep a dog happy?
Choosing the best dog for a flat is important, but so is making sure that the space you provide them with is conducive to their happiness. Here are some essentials you must try and provide your dog to make sure that all their needs are met and that you are looking after their wellbeing.
Try and keep as much floor space as possible – Apartments may be smaller than houses, but there are ways to make it seem roomier and bigger. Leaving more floor space is one of them. Floor space is very important if your dog lives in a flat, as they need to be able to move around freely and lie down wherever they feel like it. This may be difficult if there is a lot of furniture in your house and hardly any floor space.
To make more floor space, try putting whatever is not needed into storage. This is helpful in two ways: it helps create more space and it also puts breakable things – such as knickknacks – out of harm’s way.
Find a public green space near by – Dogs love to be in nature. Even the best dogs for flats will grow extremely excited by a trip to the park. To keep your dog happy, make sure there is a green space near your building that you can go to. This will allow your dog to feel free and run as much as they like (which may be hard to do in an apartment). Just regular visits to the park to play catch are exactly what you need to keep your dog active. Remember, most dogs need to be walked around twice a day, so make sure there’s somewhere to do that.
Create a space of their own – Apartments can get very busy, with people living together in a smaller space. Among such activity, it is important to create a space that your dog sees as their own. This does not have to be a large space – a crate or a corner with their bed is enough. In the past, dogs used to retreat to dark spaces when they wanted to feel safe; you need to provide a similar space for your dog. This may be especially helpful when guests come over or there is a party and your dog feels overwhelmed.
Choosing a dog suitable for flats involves choosing a breed with certain characteristics and personality traits, but also reshaping your apartment space so that it welcomes a dog and is conducive to their happiness.
Of course, the most important thing in all this is to remember to spend time with your dog. Make sure you take time every day – without fail – to play with them and do something new. This attention will stop them feeling overwhelmed by the flat or the noise and chaos of the city. No matter how busy your schedule, make time to take them to the park and just have fun with your new, loving companion.
To find a dog breed that would suit you, ask for more information at a rescue centre or from a vet.