Can you have a dog in an apartment?


How to keep your pooch happy and healthy in high-density housing.

A small dog lying on its back on a couch
More pet owners than ever are embracing high-density housing, with dogs living in 29% of townhouses and 18% of apartments, according to a study by Animal Medicines Australia.

Apartment living presents some unique challenges for dog owners but, with some planning, it can be a rewarding home environment for both dogs and humans.

If you own or rent an apartment, here’s what to consider before adopting a dog.

Check you’re allowed to have a dog

Before anything else, check that dogs are permitted in your apartment building or townhouse complex. Some landlords may not allow pets at all or have restrictions on the number and size of pets allowed.

Even if you own your apartment, strata rules can prohibit the ownership of pets or you may require permission from the body corporate.

Think about how you will take your dog to and from your apartment – some building rules stipulate dogs must be carried in communal spaces – whether there is a garden or park nearby and how you will pet-proof your balcony, patio or windows.

Choose the right breed and personality

Smaller dogs aren’t necessarily the best for apartment living.

Low energy breeds such as bulldogs, great danes, Yorkshire terriers and greyhounds generally thrive in apartments as they spend a lot of their day asleep and don’t require much exercise.

Active breeds such as German shepherds, border collies or golden retrievers are usually a poor choice for apartments as they require a lot of exercise and may become easily bored.

It’s also important to consider your dog’s personality. You may need to consider doggy day-care if your pet is destructive, becomes bored easily or barks at noises.

Be a good neighbour

Your dog’s behaviour can impact your neighbours, especially if it is noisy or active.

Take the time to introduce your dog to your neighbours. Pets are a great conversation starter and your neighbours may be able to alert you to problems with your dog’s behaviour while you’re at work. You may even be able to recruit them to look after your dog while you’re on holidays.

Physical and mental exercise

Dog owners shouldn’t underestimate the importance of taking their pooch for a daily walk. Not only does it use up energy, but it also provides a mental and social outlet for the dog. If you’re unable to walk your dog every day, consider employing a dog walker or take your pet to doggy day-care.

Mental stimulation for your dog is as important as exercise, especially if your dog is left home alone while you’re at work. Food puzzles, treat dispensing toys, a window with an interesting view or even leaving the television on are simple ways to keep your dog entertained while home alone. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviour, so ensuring your dog is mentally stimulated can reduce instances of chewed furniture or loud barking.

House training

One of the benefits of living in a house with a yard is that it’s easy for your dog to go outside to relieve itself. Toilet training in an apartment requires more effort. Set a routine for your dog so they go outside for a toilet break at the same time each day. If you’re at work for long hours, set up an indoor toilet such as a box with real or synthetic grass (like a kitty litter tray) or a puppy pee pad to avoid accidents between bathroom breaks.

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.