Pet Talk: Apartments and pets
When living or moving into an apartment, it may be tempting to get a playful, furry friend as a roommate. However, not all cats and dogs are fit to live in an apartment.
Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained what pet owners should consider when keeping their pet in a small space.
“Dog owners should consider the size and general activity of the dog,” Eckman said. “It is difficult to house working breeds in small apartments since they need a lot of exercise and space; however, an older working dog may not require that level of activity. Additionally, dog owners should ensure their pets are getting proper exercise or they can become destructive.”
Eckman added that dog owners should consider their lifestyle and if they will have the time and ability to walk their pet outdoors several times a day. Some apartment complexes have several flights of stairs, so consider your dog’s age and ability to climb stairs. If you have an older pet, they may require assistance or have difficulty getting up and down the stairs.
Other dogs may live in the same complex, so consider training and socializing your dog to interact well with other dogs. Because there is potential for your dog to come into contact with other dogs, Eckman said to ensure your dog is up to date on immunizations to protect them from infectious diseases.
Furthermore, if your dog is too vocal, this could upset neighbors, causing tension between you and your landlord.
“Happy and content dogs may be best for apartment living, but these traits are personality dependent,” Eckman said. “Some dogs are quiet and happy, but others may get anxious from the noises from apartments above, below, or beside them.”
If you aren’t fully set on getting a dog, consider a cat. Cats may be lower maintenance than dogs because they generally require less exercise and use a litter box indoors, which may make it easier on pet owners with busy lifestyles.
“Cats may not need the outside activity that dogs require and they take up less space in general,” Eckman said. “You can also add vertical height spaces for cats to climb on to help provide them with entertainment and exercise. Generally, cat owners don’t have to worry about upsetting neighbors because cats are quieter than dogs.”
Whether you are considering getting a cat or a dog to live with you in an apartment, Eckman said, “Do your research. If you are adopting from a shelter, the shelter will often be able to tell you how active the pet is and about the animal’s personality.”
Additionally, make sure you are not allergic to the pet you want to adopt, and above all, remember owning a pet is a big responsibility.
“Don’t forget your lifestyle may change,” Eckman said. “You will need to be flexible in your schedule when you adopt a new a pet, regardless of where you are living.”
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.