6 min read

22 Life Hacks: Surviving Apartment Life with Your Dog As Your Roommate


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 01/11/2021, edited: 10/26/2022

Are you and your canine compadre moving into a brand new apartment? There's plenty to consider to ensure you and your pup are "pawfect" roommates. Whether you're renting or buying, keeping your pup (and your neighbors) happy is a delicate balance. Here are 22 life hacks for surviving life with your dog as your roommate!

1. Pick the right breed

It'll come as no surprise that smaller, quieter breeds generally make for the best roommates. For example, it's unlikely a hyperactive Border Collie or a hulking Rottweiler will settle into apartment life as easily as a pint-sized Pug or a languid Basset Hound. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Great Danes, which are known to be low-energy, will settle well as long as you have a large apartment. Before moving your doggo into an apartment, do plenty of research into their breed's disposition to make sure they're suited for apartment life.

2. Plenty of exercise

If your apartment's reasonably small, the chances are your pup will need plenty of exercise to burn off any excess energy. Pups who don't get enough exercise are more likely to misbehave and tear up your new digs. Most dogs require at least two long walks a day with some off-leash time; however, this varies from breed to breed.

3. Hire a dog walker or sitter

Pet parents who work long hours may find it tricky to walk their dog a few times a day. Consider booking a dog walker on the Wag! platform to keep your dog happy and healthy while you're out of the house for the day. You could also consider booking a dog sitter to keep your pooch company.

4. Have a strict potty routine

Following a strict potty routine is key to living happily in an apartment with your hound. A regular walk schedule will go a long way to ensuring there are no accidents in the home. Having a set feeding routine will also help you predict exactly when your doggo needs to go potty.

5. Consider hardwood floors

Accidents happen, especially when you're in the process of potty training a pup. If you have the option, opt for hardwood floors rather than carpets. Poop and pee are more likely to stain carpets over hardwood floors, which could cost you your pet deposit.

6. Use your balcony for emergency bathroom breaks

If you have the luxury of a balcony in your apartment, you can use it for emergency bathroom breaks. Rushing your dog outside to use the bathroom can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you live up several flights of stairs. You'll find convenient potty grass pads at most big-box pet stores. Just check with your landlord before letting your dog go to the bathroom on your balcony.

7. Train your dog not to bark

Another critical skill your doggo will have to master in an apartment is not barking. If your dog is very vocal and barks at the post or when you leave the house, it will get tiresome for your neighbors quickly. Training your dog with a quiet command is integral to making your pooch a "pawsome" roommate.

8. Desensitize your dog

Apartment buildings tend to be noisy places, and lots of strange noises are likely to make your doggo anxious and uncomfortable. Easing your pup into their surroundings, introducing them to neighbors, and getting them used to loud noises will help your pup adjust to apartment living. Obedience classes can also help your mutt socialize and get used to a variety of sounds.

9. The lower the floor, the better

The closer you and Tucker are to the ground floor of your apartment building, the better. Being on a lower floor will make it much easier to take your pooch for a bathroom break every couple of hours. While it'll be good exercise walking down several flights of stairs, your pup will appreciate a quicker route to the bathroom.

10. Pup-proof your furniture

Doggos are known to tear up furniture, which can be a problem if your new apartment comes pre-furnished. To avoid your pup ruining your landlord's furniture with claw marks and paw prints, consider putting down blankets and throws for Bella to sit on. You could also train your woofer to stay off the furniture unless invited.

11. Set aside some extra cash

Regardless of how much of a good boy Charlie is, it's inevitable your pup will eventually cause a stain or damage your new apartment. Having an emergency fund for your dog is essential as it'll help you with any unexpected fees Fido might incur. If you end up not needing your doggy nest egg, you can always put it towards future vet fees.

12. Give your dog their own space

Dogs may be man's best friend, but even they need a little space from time to time. Creating a special area for your dog to be alone will help you and Spot be perfect roommates. Put a dog bed, some of their favorite toys, and their bowl in a different room so they can relax when overstimulated.

13. Make friends with neighboring fur-babies

If you live in an apartment with other pet parents, it's worth introducing your fur-baby to their canine compadres. Other dogs are more likely to set your dog off barking, and the smells of strange animals could make your doggo anxious.

14. Invest in an automatic vacuum cleaner

Anybody who's lived in a small space with an animal will tell you that your apartment will be covered in hair every day. To avoid vacuuming frequently, consider investing in an automatic vacuum cleaner that you can leave on most of the day. An automatic vacuum will keep your floors hair-free and will undoubtedly entertain your pupper.

15. Regular visits to the vet

While living with Lucky in an apartment, you're sure to bump into plenty of other people and doggos around the building. Regular vet visits will ensure your dog has up-to-date vaccinations and flea treatments. This way, if a neighbor accuses your dog of spreading fleas or biting them, you'll have proof that they don't have any diseases and are flea-free.

16. Ensure your pup is welcome

Of course, it's key to know that pets are allowed in your new apartment. It's usually not worth sneaking Snoopy into your new place, as it's hard to hide a dog for a long period. If you get caught, you could be fined or by the landlord or even kicked out of your apartment!

17. Keep your pup on a leash around your apartment block

Even if Fido wouldn't hurt a fly, you must keep them on a leash while around your apartment building. Strangers won't know your doggo is super friendly and may not take kindly to your pup running and jumping up at them. Some of your neighbors may also have cynophobia (a fear of dogs), so keep your hound on a leash at all times.

18. Buy lots of toys to keep your pup stimulated

Pet parents who have to work all day will want to get plenty of stimulating toys for their canine companion to play with. Puzzle games that hide treats will keep your pupper from distracting you if you're working from home and will keep them occupied if you spend most of the day out of the apartment.

19. Consider crate training

As mentioned, creating a safe space for your doggo goes a long way to keeping them happy. Crate training will give your dog a safe space and will keep them from destroying your apartment while you're at work. Win-win! Place a blanket, their favorite toys, and a bowl in the crate and encourage them to go into the crate with treats and praise. Slowly increase the amount of time you leave your dog in their crate until they're happy enough to spend several hours in it at a time.

20. Keep your trash can out of reach

Some opportunistic doggos love digging through the trash for a tasty treat. If you want to avoid your pooch covering your apartment's kitchen in trash, keep it out of paw's reach. Putting your trash can inside a cabinet or high out of reach can help you avoid coming home to any nasty surprises.

21. Be courteous to your neighbors

Living next to someone with your dog isn't always easy, so ensure you're courteous to your new neighbors. Your dog will inevitably bark or be a nuisance occasionally, so being empathetic when neighbors are airing grievances could help you avoid any complaints to the landlord.

22. Train, train, and train some more

Want your pup to be the ideal roommate? Train, train, and train some more. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, so consistently reinforcing previous training will go a long way to keeping your dog as the "ultimutt" roommate. Having difficulty training your pup? Seek help from a dog trainer through Wag!.

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