Many of us live in apartments or townhouses these days. Just because you lack space, doesn’t mean you should not get to enjoy the company of a dog. However, if you want your dog to be happy and healthy living mostly indoors, you may need to put some extra effort into his daily activities.
Stimulation & Exercise is Key to a Dog’s Happiness AND Well-being
An unhappy dog is often a destructive one. Which means it’s in your best interest to keep your dog happy and his mind stimulated through proper activities. Apartment dogs do not usually have free access to a yard where they can run and sniff to their heart’s content. Instead, they are locked in your apartment for eight or more hours a day while you are at work. SO, to keep your dog from getting bored (i.e. destructive), you are going to want to make sure your home is equipped with doggie toys.
Interactive toys that encourage “self-play” are what you should look for. Things like Kongs (you can stuff them with your dog’s Stay Loyal Breakfast, add a bit of water, and freeze, for a long-lasting meal that will keep him occupied) and puzzle toys are good for food games.
Balls that have crazy angles that move weird when the dog drops them encourages your dog to play ball by himself.
There are a few indoor tether toys for dogs that attach to a door or stand on the floor that are also for self-play. These are great to satisfy the dog that might otherwise be tugging on your shoes or chewing on your molding.
For those that like high-tech – they now make dog monitors that are interactive – they release food and even allow you to talk and play with your dog while you are away!
NONE OF THIS REPLACES REAL EXERCISE!
These items are just to keep your dog out of trouble while you are gone. Your apartment dog still needs real exercise every day. Depending on breed, age, and health, this may be a simple walk around the block, a vigorous game of fetch at the park, or a few mile run. Exercise keeps your dog trim, stimulates their brain, and tires them out so they are less likely to cause trouble. For the last reason, it’s advisable to exercise your dog before you leave for work if possible.
No time? Dog walkers that come to your apartment in the middle of the day and give your dog some attention and exercise can be real life savers for city-dwelling dogs. Also there are doggy daycare centers popping up everywhere. These places can provide simple monitoring of your dog or more lavish experiences like washing and or training.
Help Her Relax if You Are Away
Your dog (hopefully) will not be in constant motion while you are gone. You can help encourage relaxing and napping by giving your dog a “doggy cave.” It’s nothing major – just a crate with a cover over it and a nice soft bed (as long as your dog doesn’t chew such things!). Put it somewhere your dog normally likes to sleep and that isn’t going to be directly in the sun in hot weather or near a draft when it’s cold.
Have a Timid or Nervous Dog? This is Your New Best Friend!
The doggy cave is also helpful for dogs that are timid or nervous whether you are home or not. Apartments are tight spaces that can make a dog feel like he doesn’t have space to breath. A doggy cave gives your dog a place to go to “get away from everything.” Especially handy when you have guests over or young children. If your dog is timid or nervous, let your guests or children know that if your dog is in her “cave” to just let her be – she will come out when she is ready. Not letting people bother her in her cave makes it a safe place and your dog will learn to relax there, knowing no one will bother her. This simple solution can help prevent dog bites!
Food For Indoor Dogs
Finally, make sure you are feeding a high quality food like Stay Loyal. Our formula is made to help your dog stay at a healthy weight, even indoor dogs that are not getting as much exercise as dogs living on a farm.
BONUS FOR APARTMENT DOGS – Less food means less waste! Since you won’t be feeding your dog as much, and our food has no fillers to pass through, your dog will go to the bathroom less, which is nice for apartment dogs that have to hold it while you are at work.
In addition, Stay Loyal has vitamins added, including D, which indoor dogs may lack due to limited sun exposure (windows block vitamin D, so dogs who nap in the a sunny window spot still need to get vitamin D from somewhere).
As you can see, there is no reason why you can’t have a happy and healthy apartment dog. The above steps are simple enough for anyone to follow and won’t cost much either. And, the benefit to you is that a happy and healthy dog won’t destroy your apartment, bark all day and bother the neighbors, or cost you hundreds at the vet. So it’s a win-win.