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Apartments and animals: which dog is best?

Many people associate dogs with large suburban backyards, yet some dogs may feel just as at home in an apartment. The key is to find the right type of dog, and to ensure you aren’t lax in giving your four-legged friend plenty of exercise – and attention.

Small space, small dog

The general rule when it comes to apartments is that it depends a lot on dog temperament, and also making sure the dog is taken out for exercise daily. Quiet, less active dogs may be more suitable for apartment living. Remember exercise is imperative, regardless of the size of your dog.

Apartment suitability

Before making a commitment to a dog, check that your apartment is suitable for an inside animal. Consider the amount of space they have to wander around and the floor coverings (where will they toilet?). You will of course need to check that animals can be kept on the property, for example you may need to obtain permission from the corporate body to have an animal in the apartment.

Activities and entertainment

Boredom can become a problem, in even the most relaxed of animals. Small toys that contain dog treats are very popular, with dogs having to push or shake the toy to release the treats which can help to preoccupy them for some time. Also ensure you walk your dog every day, ideally to a local park. Some dogs may require more exercise so you need to check how much exercise the type of dog you are interested in generally needs and how active they are.

Play time with the owner is also important as well as providing companionship – if the dog is to be left alone for long periods consider doggy day care or organising a dog walk in the middle of the day to break up the time they are on their own. Do consider if you have parks or other areas easily accessible for dog walks before you go ahead and buy a dog.

Online resources

There are several pet selector tools available online, including the RSPCA website – select a pet. Answer a series of questions about your lifestyle and the selector will provide details on suitable animals.

Image of Dr Rosemary Elliot

Dr Rosemary Elliot 

Dr Rosemary studied veterinary science at the University of Sydney after having established her career as a clinical psychologist, and has qualifications of BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), MPsych (Clin), BA (Hons) as well as previously establishing her career as a clinical psychologist. Her experiences during veterinary training fostered an ambition to focus directly on animal welfare and ethics, with a particular interest in animal sentience and the human-animal bond. Currently working in small animal practice, Dr Rosemary combines her psychology background and veterinary skills to contribute to and promote animal welfare, and regularly contributes quality content to RSPCA Pet Insurance's Pet Care blog.