Apartment living is becoming a standard, not just for young professionals, but for people of all ages. Just because you don’t own a home with a big, grassy back yard, that is no reason you shouldn’t experience the joys of owning that best friend who will always stay by your side - a new puppy. But how can you create a mutually beneficial living environment with your furry friend? Here are our six best tips for making your apartment puppy-friendly.
1. Create A Dedicated Area For Your Puppy
Even in the smallest of apartments, you should find a place that is just your dog’s. In that space, you can keep his bed, blankets, toys, leash, harness, and more. Use an organizational tower of bins to help you organize so that everything has its place. Get a small basket and keep all of your dog’s toys in it so that he can access them whenever he chooses. For dog treats, consider an airtight plastic container on top of the fridge to keep treats fresh and any wandering rodents out. Not only will this area be a nice retreat for your pet, it will keep your apartment looking like a nice place that humans live, too.
2. Puppy-Proof Your Apartment
Like bringing a newborn home, there are so many things to consider before bringing a pet into your apartment. Here are a few potential hazards you will want to remedy:
- Cords. Make sure your blind cords are not hanging down too low and pose a potential hanging hazard.
- Trash. Opt for a trash can with a lid that opens with a foot pedal. This will keep your nosy dog out of any dangerous leftovers like chicken bones, fruit seeds and other dangerous perishable trash scraps.
- Floor-Dwellers. You may want to pick up anything that currently “lives” on your floor that your dog might find the desire to make into a chew toy. This might include power cords, clothes stuffed under your bed, plastic bags and cleaning supplies.
- Close Doors. When you’re not at home, close off the rooms that you don’t want your dog in unsupervised.
- Harmful Foods & Supplies. Some dogs will go to great lengths to get into food you have laying around the house and some of it could be deadly. Keep food items like chocolate, onions and baking powder off tables and countertops and locked away in a high cabinet or in a cupboard with a childproof lock. Same goes for cleaning supplies, medications and other poisonous items. Many fruit seeds contain natural contaminants that can result in potentially fatal cyanide poisoning in dogs: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, caffeine in coffee grinds and chocolate are also toxic, sugar-free foods and gums containing Xylitol can cause liver failure, and nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures, and central nervous system damage. Antifreeze is also deadly to your dog.
- Buy Safe Plants. Check that your house plants are safe for your dog. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Other common, but toxic, plants include amaryllis, poinsettia, mums, and aloe vera.
- Toilet Lids Down. Your dog may try to drink from the toilet bowl which can be dangerous, especially if you use an automatic bowl cleaner. This will also eliminate a drowning hazard.
- Open Windows. While dogs are probably less likely to jump out a window, we still recommend you keep screens closed and your dog safe.
3. Keep Your Dog Occupied
Puppies may feel cooped up in an apartment, especially while you are gone at work all day. To help keep your puppy occupied with something besides barking to annoy the neighbors or tearing up your furniture, give him a puzzle toy. These toys hold treats and if your dog can figure out how to get them out, they can tire your dog mentally making them less likely to look for other things to do. Buy him chew toys and bones and you can even make a maze out of your old boxes. If you have an activity ball with holes in it, you can even make your own toy by inserting strips of fabric in the ball and letting your dog tear it apart over and over again. Consider an exercise pen to confine your dog with his bed in a section of the apartment farthest away from the front door to limit him barking at everyone who passes by outside.
4. Stock Dog Cleaning Supplies & Equipment
Even though you love your puppy like family, it can still be a chore to clean up after them. Here are a few things to add to your apartment that will make puppy apartment living more pleasant.
- Cleaning Supplies. Stock your apartment with the cleaning supplies you’ll need to make it easy. Carpet and floor cleaner will help you clean up those muddy paws, snow or ice that he drags back in as well as the hair he sheds. Use baking soda and vinegar to bubble out pet stains from carpet. (To do this, soak the stain with vinegar, add the baking soda, let it bubble, then complete drying, and vacuum.)
- Vacuum. Invest in a heavy-duty pet vacuum and stock up on lint rollers for your clothes and furniture. Consider throwing a sheet over your bed comforter to keep hair off and make cleaning easy.
- Air Filter. If you have a dog that sheds a lot, your apartment could be full of dog dander and hair floating around. Not only will it improve your air quality, the slight noise can help block out sounds from the hallway or outdoors that might prompt barking.
- Camera App. You would never go without one of these if you had a baby at home, so why not hook one up to watch your dog?
5. Create And Keep A Routine
Whether you are moving into a new apartment or you have just made the decision to add a dog to your family, your new pet will need time to adjust to his new surroundings. You can help by setting and sticking to a consistent routine. To start, for the first week try not to leave your dog alone for long amounts of time. This will keep your poor pooch from stressing out as badly and give you the chance to begin training him in his new surroundings.
Be consistent with feeding times and exercise. For example, set up a regular time to walk your dog in a nearby park or dog-friendly area in your apartment complex. Make a set time on the weekends to take your dog out on a hike or longer walk or run.
Practice training your dog not to bark when someone walks by. Use a friend and if he barks, put him in his kennel. Let him know what is good behavior in your new home and remember to reward that good behavior!
6. Have And Create A Potty Space
Create a routine to take your puppy out to the potty. If you got a puppy that will need to be housebroken, consider using a crate to help prevent accidents in your apartment. Along with creating a routine to take them out to the bathroom, also train them to pee on DoggieLawn grass pads! DoggieLawn provides environmentally friendly dog grass patches for dogs of all sizes that can be placed inside your apartment or on your balcony. They ship according to a plan you pick and deliver right to your apartment door. When using puppy grass patches, make sure to be consistent with the location in which you put the grass pad so your dog always knows where to look for it. It is healthy that adult dogs be allowed to relieve themselves at least three to five times a day.
Pick A Plan Today!
Family friendly puppies can make a wonderful addition to families and individuals alike who live in an apartment, but they can also be a lot of work. Be prepared to offer your new dog the most comfortable and loving dog friendly home you can. To find out more about the convenient grass patches offered by DoggieLawn, check out our dog patio potty plans that will help make your dog feel at home. Call (310) 853-8997 if you have any questions about grass pad services or how they can help your dog. We look forward to helping you make the best of your new puppy in your apartment!