I just moved into my first apartment! I’m so excited to have my own space. I’ve had a lifelong dream of owning a pet of my own and now that I have my own place, I’d like to look into adopting a dog or a cat. How do I choose the perfect pet for apartment living?
Excited about a pet in The Heights
Dear Excited About A Pet,
Congratulations on your new place! It’s so exciting to spread your wings and find a space to call your own. It’s also very exciting to consider sharing that new space with a pet, but there are things to take into consideration before you bring a pet into your new abode.
Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains that, when choosing a dog, “Prospective owners should consider the size and general activity of the dog,” Eckman said. “It is difficult to house working breeds in small apartments since they need a lot of exercise and space; however, an older working dog may not require that level of activity. Additionally, dog owners should ensure their pets are getting proper exercise or they can become destructive.”
Eckman added that dog owners should consider their lifestyle and if they will have the time and ability to walk their pet outdoors several times a day. Some apartment complexes have several flights of stairs, so consider your dog’s age and ability to climb stairs. If you have an older pet, they may require assistance or have difficulty getting up and down the stairs.
Other dogs may live in the same complex, so consider training and socializing your dog to interact well with other dogs. Because there is potential for your dog to come into contact with other dogs, Eckman said to ensure your dog is up to date on immunizations to protect them from infectious diseases.
Furthermore, if your dog is too vocal, this could upset neighbors, causing tension between you and your landlord. “Happy and content dogs may be best for apartment living, but these traits are personality dependent,” Eckman said. “Some dogs are quiet and happy, but others may get anxious from the noises from apartments above, below, or beside them.”
If you aren’t fully set on getting a dog, consider a cat. Cats may be lower maintenance than dogs because they generally require less exercise and use a litter box indoors, which may make it easier on pet owners with busy lifestyles.
“Cats may not need the outside activity that dogs require and they take up less space in general,” Eckman said. “You can also add vertical height spaces for cats to climb on to help provide them with entertainment and exercise. Generally, cat owners don’t have to worry about upsetting neighbors because cats are quieter than dogs.”
Whether you are considering getting a cat or a dog to live with you in an apartment, Eckman said, “Do your research. If you are adopting from a shelter, the shelter will often be able to tell you how active the pet is and about the animal’s personality.”
Additionally, make sure you are not allergic to the pet you want to adopt, and above all, remember owning a pet is a big responsibility. “Don’t forget that your lifestyle may change,” Eckman said. “You will need to be flexible in your schedule when you adopt a new a pet, regardless of where you are living.”
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at: dear firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet of the Week
Meet Buddy. This one year old sweetheart’s owner recently had to move to an assisted living facility, leaving a lost and lonely Buddy behind. Even though Buddy is young, he’s the perfect mix of laid-back, affectionate and playful. Buddy is declawed, so he needs an indoor-only home. Buddy is the perfect companion pet–all he’s missing is a companion…could that be you? If so, contact Save A Purrfect Cat Rescue at: www.saveacatrescue.org or visit the shelter located at: 2618 Newman Street 77098.