Can Dogs Live in Flats?

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Introduction

If you're one of the millions of people around the country who call an apartment home, you might be under the impression that getting a dog as a pet is a bad idea. There's a widespread belief among many that dogs need a big backyard to run around in if they're to be happy, healthy and content.

However, while this may be true for some breeds, it's certainly not the case across the board. There are stacks of breeds that can live and love life in a flat or apartment — provided that their owner is committed to giving them all the care and support they need.

Signs Your Dog is Built for Apartment Life

If you live in a flat and you want to get yourself a canine roommate, the good news is that there are plenty of furry friends out there who can make wonderful living companions. However, you will need to be a little more selective when it comes to choosing the perfect pet, as you'll need to make sure the dog you choose is suited to apartment living. Factors to consider include:
  • Size. Many flats and apartments are cramped for space, so you may be better off going for a compact breed. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that large-breed dogs can't thrive in a flat.
  • Activity levels. If you're the proud owner of a hyperactive dog that's always on the move, always exploring every nook and cranny, and can run for miles and miles, they probably won't be the best choice for a flat.
  • Noise levels. Think of your neighbors when searching for the perfect, furry flatmate. A yappy breed that barks at everything at all hours of the day and night will have your neighbors rushing to complain.
  • Temperament. This ties in to a dog's noise and activity levels. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that calm, placid dogs will be much more likely to comfortably adapt to apartment life than nervous or boisterous pets.

Body Language

Some breeds simply shouldn't be kept cooped up in flats, and their body language may contain clues that they're unhappy with their living arrangements. These could include:
  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Pacing
  • Stalking

Other Signs

Other signs that your dog doesn't belong in a flat include:
  • Destroying furniture
  • Repeated escape attempts
  • Excessive, pent-up energy
  • Lethargy and depression

Which Dog Breeds are Best For Flats?

Taking all the above characteristics and requirements into account, which dog breeds are most likely to adapt to life in a flat? Some of the answers are obvious, but others will definitely surprise you. Examples of breeds that are known to excel in apartments include:
  • Greyhounds. Say what? That's right — though they're known for their high-speed running ability, Greyhounds are actually quite placid (some would even say lazy) lounge-lizards. Just make sure their exercise requirements are met.
  • Yorkshire Terrier. Small in stature and generally not an excessive barker, the lovable Yorkie could fit right in to your flat and lifestyle.
  • French Bulldog. Reasonably compact and ridiculously cute, the gorgeous French Bulldog is calm, relaxed, and loves making itself comfortable.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. You'll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier, more sweet-natured breed than the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These dogs simply love doing whatever you're doing and are known for their steady temperaments.
  • Great Dane. We weren't lying when we said that big dogs can thrive in apartments, and our canine companions don't come much bigger than the Great Dane. Calm, friendly and quiet, these big boppers love lazing around by your side — just make sure to leave plenty of room on the couch.
  • Dachshund. The ever-popular Dachshund loves cuddling up to its owner and can do quite well in an apartment, though you will need to provide plenty of mental stimulation to keep this intelligent breed busy when you're not there.
  • Pug. As cute as they come and full of personality, Pugs are compact, laid-back and quiet roomies.

This list is just a small selection of the breeds that can comfortably live in flats. There are plenty of other potential options out there, so do your research to find a breed that matches your home and lifestyle.

Training Your Dog to Live in a Flat

Apart from a failure to choose a suitable breed, many of the other potential problems that could arise when living in a flat with a dog can also be easily overcome. To help ensure that you and your furry flatmate get along like the proverbial house on fire, remember a few simple tips:
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. One of the key requirements for any dog's physical and mental wellbeing is regular exercise. And by regular we mean multiple times a day, giving your dog several opportunities to get outside, stretch their legs, and explore new sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Give your pet their own space. You're sharing your home with your dog, so make sure they have a space they can call their own. This is somewhere they should feel safe and secure, and that they can retreat to whenever they need some quiet time.
  • Remember your routine. Dogs do best when given a routine they can stick to. By scheduling meal times and bathroom breaks at the same time each day, you'll make managing apartment life with your pooch much easier.
  • Focus on training. Living in close quarters with a poorly trained dog can be frustrating and potentially impossible, so make sure your dog knows the rules of the flat and always responds to commands.
  • Think about when you're not home. If you work long hours, leaving a dog cooped up in a tiny apartment all day long is cruel. Consider signing your pet up for doggy daycare, setting up play dates with other canine pals, and leaving interactive toys and games to provide some much-needed mental stimulation when you're gone.

If you remember these basics, you and your pet will be well on the way to creating a happy and harmonious home.

Safety Tips for Dogs in Apartments:

  • Move breakables. Wagging tails and playful pups can knock over and break any number of precious or expensive items, so make sure your fine china is stored out of the way.
  • Dog's eye view. Get down on all fours at your dog's level and explore your flat from their point of view. This will help you identify and eliminate any potential hazards.
  • Control the climate. Make sure your pet has sufficient ventilation in summer and that your apartment is warm enough in winter. Also be careful to check that open windows can't become escape routes.