OVRS_iStock_000024652323_LargeLiving with a pet in a condo, apartment, or other small space may seem like an insurmountable challenge: no yard, lots of neighbors, flights of stairs to navigate, etc. But with more and more families downsizing to smaller living spaces, these particular pet care issues are becoming more important than ever.

Fortunately, it’s not only possible to keep your pet happy and satisfied within the confines of a small space, but it can often be a deeply rewarding experience. Consider the following guidelines for successful apartment living with pets.

No Pets Allowed?

This may seem obvious, but the first step to successful apartment living with pets is to receive express permission from the landlord before bringing a pet into your home. Conversely, if you are planning on a move to a rental and either already have a pet or are considering adopting one in the future, make sure your new home has a “pets allowed” policy.

Each year, thousands of dogs and cats are surrendered to animal shelters because they are caught living in a rental unit without permission from the owner. Don’t let this happen to you; make the proper arrangements ahead of time.

Courtesy Counts In Apartment Living With Pets

Even if pets are allowed in your building, being a courteous and responsible pet owner will help to ensure that the pet policy doesn’t change in the future. Always clean up after your pet, and if you can’t get a handle on noisy behaviors such as barking or yowling, seek professional behavioral assistance. Also, if you can clearly hear your dog’s nails on tile or hardwood floors, most likely your downstairs neighbor can too. Keep nails trimmed and neighbors happy.

Making The Best Of A Small Space

It may seem impossible to be a pet owner in a small space, but many pets and their owners thrive in apartments, condos, and other small homes. Keep the following tips in mind:

Exercise – By making sure your pet gets plenty of exercise, you will be cutting down on boredom and behavior problems. Plan on several walks per day for dogs, and get familiar with your local dog parks and other dog-friendly establishments. Indoor stimulation is important too, so invest in a variety of toys, food puzzles, and laser pointer/feather chasers. Provide cats with vertical space to climb and perch on in the form of cat trees or cat jungle gyms.

Cleanliness – Keeping your home clean is absolutely imperative for successful apartment living with pets. By cleaning litter boxes daily and vacuuming or sweeping pet hair from the floor and furniture several times per week you will be cutting down on pet odor and making the space more comfortable for pets and people alike.

Bring the outside in – If possible, position a bird feeder or two outside a window or glass door where your pet can watch the activities of the neighborhood birds and squirrels. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, many houseplants are easy to care for and can bring an element of the outdoors to your pet. Check out the ASPCA’s list of safe, non-toxic houseplants.

A Word About High-Rise Syndrome

The phenomenon of cats falling from windows higher than two stories is serious enough that it has earned it’s own name: high-rise syndrome. Windows left open and window screens that pop out are two of the biggest factors contributing to the incidents of high-rise syndrome.

Protect your cat from an emergency situation with the following safety precautions:

  • Keep windows securely shut if possible
  • Make sure window screens are properly fitted and locked into place
  • Don’t allow pets to lean against or scratch on a window screen
  • Safeguard balconies, and only allow cats on them under supervision

With careful planning and a little bit of creativity, you can provide your pet with a happy and fulfilling life in an apartment or small space. Give us a call with any questions or concerns!