By: Leonard Baron
As a pet owner myself, I’ve learned that there are lots of things you can do to make your pet feel at ease in an apartment or house. This knowledge is gained from watching and observing my pets over the years, from the veterinarian’s tips, and from noticing what always seemed to make them happy and comfortable. I get the feeling my brown Lab Buckley would agree with these items — that is, if he could only talk.
First, make sure your co-tenants, whether friends or family, are okay with having a pet in the unit. There is nothing worse than when one of the residents of the apartment does not like the dog or cat of another tenant. All residents should agree that the pet is welcome before you bring a pet into the home. Dogs can bark, cats can claw, and both can whine, cry, or make a mess on the floor – all of that is just part of owning a pet. But even though you may understand and accept this, your roommates may not, so make sure that they are willing to deal with these potential issues.
If all tenants are okay with the idea of having the pet, you want to next make sure the apartment or house has enough room for everyone. Just as you want to make sure that your shoes fit your feet, make sure that your place fits for your pet. Larger dogs are not well-suited for small apartments and you should try your best to avoid putting them in that environment. They need room to move around and stretch their legs, so if you do have a larger dog, a house would be a much better bet, particularly if it has a doggie door to an open yard. This way, your canine companion will be free to run around, fetch a ball, or just nap in the warm sun.
Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and small poodles, are a better fit for an apartment unit as they're more likely to find apartments sufficiently spacious. In addition, cats fit well into pretty much any situation, especially since many are inside-only cats. Cats are also clean, quiet, and generally low maintenance.
Another important tip to keep your pet happy is to pay adequate attention to them. If you are typically out all day at work, try to get a neighbor, friend, or dog walker to go visit and walk them. This is because animals, just like humans, get lonely when left alone. If you are just now considering getting a pet, make sure you will have the time to take care of it and be a good parent. Also, be sure to consider the costs for food, vet bills, etc. before you commit to a pet. Those expenses can really add up.
Additionally, if your job demands that you are going to be gone for longer periods of time on certain days or on uneven schedules, make sure there is adequate water and food for your pet. Most pets can do fine for those long periods of time, but just like humans, they do not like to be hungry or thirsty. And since nature sometimes calls, consider getting your pet an indoor "potty station." One great product made is a small, green synthetic grass pad on a plastic base that you can train your dog to use inside, just in case nature's call can't wait for you to get home to take them outside.
One more thing to keep in mind is that pets typically like to look out the windows to watch passersby, whether it is people or cars. If you can set up an area where your pet can keep an eye on things going on outside, that will keep them content and entertained. Plus, this front row seat also means that they'll be right there wagging their tails or purring when you get home! A happy pet that's excited to see you can turn a day around.
Finally, don't forget about the needed outside and walk time that is important for dogs. They love to stroll around, get pet by others, and interact with other dogs. As an added bonus, they are great for striking up a conversion with someone you might want to ask out on a date! Therefore, living in a place that's near a dog park or simply living in a pet-friendly community is a big plus for a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. Make sure to get your pups out enough so they can get the exercise they need and become familiar with the area where you live, just in case they get out by mistake. And don’t forget to take a doggie bag with you!
All in all, pets can make great companions for humans and bring lots of cheer and love to their owners. In fact, I highly recommend having one. But make sure that you give your pet as much love as it gives you by being responsible and committed to returning that happiness. Take great care of your pet, giving them a nice, comfortable, and suitable place to live, and they'll be your faithful companion for years to come.