Your dog deserves a comfortable life, but your living space may be too small for him. Some dogs are adaptable to all situations, while others will do anything they can to find more room. Here are some tips on making the most out of living with a small pet in a small apartment.
Crates are wonderful for keeping dogs safe and secure when you’re not around. If you have to leave your best friend alone for long hours or overnight then crate training is essential. Crates are also good if new guests come over that might pose a threat to your pup’s safety or if he needs time away from rambunctious children that want to play with him nonstop. Make sure your dog has his own crate so he does not feel deprived of space. If you would rather not use a dog-sized crate, buy crates of different sizes to accommodate your pup throughout his life—it’s better for your pocketbook in the long run.
If your dog is going to have the run of the home while you are away, toilet training will benefit everyone involved. Potty accidents can damage your floors and walls, so it’s in your best interest—as well as your pup’s—to train him from doing this in certain areas of the house. You can also install a doggy door that allows Fido to come and go as he pleases without being a pain for you when you’re coming and going yourself. If your pup is on the brighter side, it is even possible to train him to use a human flushing toilet and clean up after itself. It can take a while and lots of treats but once he’s trained you don’t have to worry about taking him out ever again!
3) Keep your home clean
This means everywhere, including above floor level. The less dirt and dust are available for your doggie to ingest the better it is for everyone involved. Think about what kind of cleaning supplies can be put away or disposed of before Fido gets into them. Keeping up with housecleaning may require more effort since space is limited, but it will allow you to relax more when you are at home together. This will make both of you happier people overall!
4) Walk your dog regularly
If your dog’s legs are short enough to reach the ground in most rooms of your home, and he seems content and doesn’t look like he needs more exercise than usual, walk him. If you’re gone for long periods of time or work outside the home, arrange a doggie play date with an active friend or neighbor who will enjoy walking Rex around the block as much as you would. Short walks aren’t just better than no walks though—they release energy which will help Rex sleep happily instead of wreak havoc on furniture and carpets.
5) Engage with your pup every day
Even if it’s something simple like sitting down to watch TV together, remind yourself that this loyal animal loves spending time with you. Having a dog in a small apartment doesn’t have to be hard work or stressful, so don’t think of it that way. It’s just another enjoyable part of your day together!
6) Play with your pup daily
If you can spare the time from your busy schedule, play fetch with Rex in front of his own mini-park made out of pillows and blankets he can jump on and off from one place. Or, engage in a wrestling match while playing tug-of-war with an old sock or his favorite chew toy. Remember: this is quality time spent bonding and strengthening your relationship before you head out for the day (or night). And don’t forget to sit down and pet him while watching TV like you would be if he was a larger dog.
7) Feed him quality food
If you are short on space, get the smallest bag of kibble you can find. It may seem like it will run out soon, but your dog won’t need as much to eat every day since he has less mass to maintain than other animals his size. Make sure you buy healthy treats that will keep him occupied while you’re gone or give him an extra nutritional boost when you see the signs of aging starting to show earlier in small dogs than larger breeds and keep them away from some dangerous foods which are unhealthy for them which may cause their lives to be shorter.
8) Don’t leave him alone for long periods of time
He might be able to hold it for a night or two if necessary, but do not go away on vacation without someone pet-sitting for Rex while he stays at home. He may have a better time in a play-date with other fur babies or in a doggie daycare if you can’t swing hiring someone to be there for him while you’re away.
9) Give him a job
If he has short legs, make sure he can get up onto places like your bed (or couch if it’s not against the law where you live). It allows him to feel comfortable and secure wherever he is sleeping while also giving Fido some more freedom to roam around, even when his human is busy doing something else that requires their attention. Put his food and water dish on top of an old shirt (or anything that will protect the surface from spills), then slide all of it into your closet or somewhere out of sight. This way your pet can eat, drink, and use the bathroom without you needing to worry about stepping over his dishes all day long. Like most dogs, Rex will be able to smell it better than he can see it anyway!
10) Stay calm yourself
Even if your rent is higher than what you would pay for a larger apartment where Fido could still live with you comfortably, don’t stress out about it. Remember that this is just temporary until you are more settled or find a job that allows you to rent a place with more space. It’s also essential that both of you have your own personal comfort zone currently set up properly so try not to let him dictate how things need to happen on your end.
If you follow all of these simple tips, Rex will feel happy and comfortable in his new home no matter how small it might be. Best of luck!