We all wish we could give our dogs a big house with an even bigger yard, but for some of us, that isn’t a possibility (at least not yet). On top of that, apartment buildings can be a bit chaotic. And, since your pet doesn’t have as much room to roam as he would in a big house, you can’t really limit his access to half the place, since that would put him near some hazardous areas.
If you have to move into an apartment but are unsure of how your little one will react, your options may seem dim. But don’t worry – living in an apartment with a pet doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Be sure to take a few precautions into account and both you and your pet could lead happy, healthy lives in your new home.
1. Secure the balconies.
If your balcony has bars, measure them to make sure your pet cannot fit through. You may think your dog is smart enough to never jump off the balcony, but there is no knowing what a pet will do if he is very frightened, or if he sees some prey he’d like to chase. If the bars are wide, purchase some sort of cover or malleable fencing for them. Also remember that pets can contort and elongate their bodies and fit through holes that look smaller than they are.
2. Be aware of trash on the ground outside.
You have very little control over the ground surrounding your apartment. In a house, you can dictate what happens around your property, but not so in an apartment. Regularly check the surrounding grounds for trash, chemicals, sharp objects or other hazardous items your pet may pick up next time you take him outside.
3. Don’t let workers come in when you aren’t home.
Your landlord has a key to your apartment, but that doesn’t mean they should go in when you aren’t home. If your landlord needs to bring workers into the apartment, schedule it for when you’ll be there. You want to make sure your pet isn’t frightened by the workers and doesn’t run outside. You also want to make sure your landlord and the workers are careful to keep your front door shut.
4. Add a pet sign for fire fighters.
Add a magnet or sign to your front door that notifies firefighters there is a pet inside. If there is ever a fire when you aren’t home, you want the firefighters to know they should break down your door and retrieve your pet.
5. Don’t use real candles.
Using real candles when you have pets isn’t the best idea. Even if your pet cannot reach the candle itself, he can bump into the table on which the candle sits, and send it rolling onto the carpet. Plus, cats can jump to just about any height, so you really shouldn’t keep active candles in a home with cats.
6. Tuck away power cords.
You need to take extra steps to secure power cords in an apartment. It’s not like you have one, big entertainment room where you can lock away all your powered devices. You likely have speaker, television, microwave and computer power cords, all in one or two rooms where your pets hang out regularly. Tie these up or tuck them into a cabinet so your pet doesn’t chew on them, yank them out of the wall or get tangled up in them.
7. Don’t run your washer/dryer when you aren’t home.
You never know when your washer or dryer may malfunction and cause a fire, or send soapy water flowing onto your kitchen floor. A pet doesn’t know not to drink the water that spills from a washing machine—water that is filled with dangerous chemicals. Don’t run your crockpot when you’re away, either, since this can cause a fire.
8. Close up cleaning product cabinets.
If you keep cleaning products in a cabinet that is low to the ground, make sure to lock it up securely each time you close it. Some cleaning products smell very intriguing to pets and could mean a trip to the emergency room for curious animals.
You can give a pet a very happy life in an apartment, but you need to be a little more cautious about your surroundings than you would be in a house. Beside ensuring their safety inside your home, be sure to take any pets you have outside regularly for walks and exercise, since apartments are smaller and can mean less physical activity and stimulation.