With Australian house sizes shrinking and many of us embracing the benefits of apartment living, pet ownership in apartments is becoming increasingly normalised.
Even though the size of apartments in Australia are growing to suit the increasing demand from families – particularly for multi-generational apartment living – there are still some important things to consider when moving into an apartment with pets, or introducing a new pet to your apartment.
How to help your pet adjust to a new apartment
If you’re moving into a new apartment or getting a new pet, there are a few things you can do to ensure it’s a pet-friendly apartment.
You should set up an area for your pet straight away, with blankets and toys that carry a familiar smell to help them feel comfortable. Make sure you maintain their usual routine by feeding them at the same time everyday, and give them plenty of attention if it’s clear they’re feeling confused or unsure.
You can help your pet adjust to your home by taking it slow for the first couple of days. They will appreciate some one on one time getting to know their new surroundings. Let them explore the areas of the apartment they are allowed to be at their own pace, and make their boundaries clear from the beginning.
Try no to over stimulate your pet during the first couple days. If your pet is visibly uncertain, just let them check things out for themselves. If they come up to you for attention, be as affectionate as they seem comfortable with in order to help them become fond of their new home.
Rules to teach your pet in an apartment
Many well-behaved pets will already be toilet trained, but if it’s a new space make sure you take the time to re-train their toilet habits as well as possible.
If you’re thinking of getting an apartment dog, make sure you select an appropriate breed. This will ensure that their behaviour is easier to manage in the long term, and they will be happy and healthy in their new home.
Cats are also a fantastic apartment pet, and can be easily trained to use a kitty-litter tray if your new apartment does not have much outdoor space. Just because you have no backyard, it doesn’t mean you can never get a pet – you just have to ensure they understand where they can and can’t go, and where they can go to the toilet.
Other safety considerations for your pets in an apartment
As a pet owner, you undoubtedly love your pet as a member of the family, so you want to do everything you can to keep them safe and happy.
Similar to ‘child-proofing’ a home, apartments also need to be ‘pet-proof’ – particularly if you have a balcony or windows that open very high above the ground. Make sure your pet can’t squeeze through a balcony railing or open window.
In order to ensure your belongings aren’t damaged and your pets safety isn’t hindered, get yourself a shoe rack to keep laces off the floor, cord wraps for your loose window blind cords and a place to store other stray cords to deter pets from chewing on them.
For those things that you know your dog likes to chew – like shoes, couch cushions, or even paper – be sure to keep those things out of the way. Keep in mind that when dogs are tearing things up it can be a sign of displacement behavior, or even that they are not getting exercise.
Investing in a rubbish bin with a lid that firmly closes with pets is also a great idea, so you don’t find them rummaging through your trash. Animals are curious by nature, hence the expression “curiosity killed the cat,” so, think of your pets like small children and keep harmful cleaners out of reach.
Baby gates are a great way to keep dogs out of areas you don’t want them to go – whereas cats may be more of a challenge. Cats can however learn boundaries if you stay vigilant in your training.
You can enjoy a brand-new pet-friendly apartment if you approach the situation with patience and care, and do the best you can to keep your four-legged friend safe.