Tips for Living with a Dog in a Small Apartment

Sometimes, it’s necessary to live with your pet in a small apartment. Maybe you had to move out of a bigger place, or you’ve adopted a service animal or emotional support dog and you only live in a small place.

Tips for Living with a Dog in a Small Apartment. Jack Russell terrier at the entrance

Have no fear — it’s definitely possible to live harmoniously in a tight space with a pet dog. Of course, some breeds are better suited to small places or apartments than others. If you haven’t adopted your pet yet, be sure to go for a smaller breed rather than a German Shepherd or a Labrador Retriever who will take up much of the room in a compact living space.

If you live in a small space with a canine companion, here’s how to make sure you both stay happy and healthy.

1. Get Lots of Exercise

When dogs have to live in small spaces without easy access to places they can run around, it’s imperative to take them outside frequently. When picking where you’ll live, try to aim for first-floor apartments if you won’t have a whole house. This means you can easily take your pup outside when they need to use the bathroom!

2. Hire a Walker

If you have to leave your pup at home to go to work or need to leave them for longer than six hours, hire a dog walker to come to take them out. This way, they’ll get exercised, will get to relieve themselves, and will be out of the house so they don’t chew anything! (Even the best-behaved dogs can start getting destructive when they’re left alone for long periods.)

3. Choose a Small Breed

Of course, most larger breeds simply aren’t suitable to be kept in small apartments (except for greyhounds, often called ‘apartment dogs’ because they love to sleep and don’t require so much exercise). Bigger dogs need to stretch their legs and many like their alone time, so keeping them in a cramped space or with lots of other people around isn’t always ethical.

Tips for Living with a Dog in a Small Apartment. Black French bulldog at a fluffy rug

However, there are plenty of smaller breeds that make great apartment dogs. These include:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Pug
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Boston Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Chihuahua
  • Italian Greyhound
  • German Spitz
  • Bulldog

4. Plan Rooms and Furniture Strategically

There are plenty of ingenious inventions nowadays that blend pet furniture with that for people as well: small dog crates that are also side tables, for instance. If you can’t get hold of specially-made furniture, think of how you can repurpose your existing furniture to better fit your small space, i.e. placing your dog’s bed under a table, keeping their toys in a drawer when not in use, etc. If you have a balcony, you’re in luck — these are the perfect places to train your pup to go to the toilet if you live a few floors up!

5. Establish a Toilet Schedule

You may have noticed that many of these tips involve toilet considerations. That’s because letting your dog out to do their business isn’t so easy when you live in an apartment. The best way to get your dog on the same page as you with toilet training is either to balcony train them or take them outside at certain times of the day, like clockwork. That way, they’ll know when they can expect to be able to let loose, preventing accidents inside the house.

The Bottom Line

You and your furry friend will get along famously in your smaller living space by following these tips! Once they know their toilet rota, where their bed will live, and they get their daily walkies, you’ll both adjust quicker than expected.

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