Urban living and pet ownership don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here are our tips for keeping your furry friends happy and healthy in the big city.
Owning a pet in the city requires a few logistical considerations that might not apply for more spacious environments. If you do decide to adopt a furry roommate, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that he’s safe and satisfied in his surroundings — here are a few of the most crucial items to tick off your list.
Pet-Proof Your Apartment
Think your dog can’t get into trouble in a 500-square-foot apartment? Think again. First, ensure that you are not harboring any houseplants that could be harmful if ingested. Jade, aloe vera, and rosemary can pose a particular threat. Be sure to check in with a vet for a longer list of potentially dangerous and common household plants.
While removing potentially harmful items from your apartment is relatively straightforward, you may face another challenge that’s a bit more difficult to address: a lack of space. While you may not be able to move into a larger apartment just for Fido, you can learn to cohabit peacefully in your tight quarters. For city dogs, proper crate-training is key to keep your dog (and your apartment) safe while you’re out and about. Make your pup comfortable by giving them a bed, some water, and a toy or two — in fact, if handled correctly, you can teach a dog to think of their crate as a safe and happy place, rather than as a punishment.
So you and your dog are getting along just great — but what about your neighbors? If at all possible, try to choose an apartment with a friendly policy towards pets, so that your dog will have plenty of canine company — and you’ll be able to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow dog owners.
Then, with your very thin, shared apartment walls in mind, you’ll want to minimize the possibility of any pet-related disturbances. The sound of a dog running back and forth across the floorboards could very well drive neighbors up the wall, so opt for densely woolen rugs that insulate noise and can withstand wear and tear. Lonely pups also have a tendency to express their discontent with vocal yowls (which may not be very popular with your neighbors). In order to avoid this, maintain your pet’s high spirits with regular exercise and proper socialization.
Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise
Everyone knows that keeping a dog healthy requires regular fresh air and exercise. However, without the luxury of spacious, fenced-in yards, urban pet owners must take a more proactive approach to keeping their dogs fit and happy. Many community parks feature “dog runs,” where local owners are able to unleash their pets and encourage them to socialize with fellow canine friends. Before taking your dog to public parks, however, you may need to obtain proof of vaccinations from your vet.
For larger, more active breeds, long brisk walks or jogs in the park may be the best way to maintain your dog’s health — plus, it has the added benefit of keeping you healthy as well! If your schedule doesn’t allow for one or two walks during the workday, consider hiring a dog walker to help fill in the gaps. Keep in mind that, because most city dog walkers handle multiple dogs at once, you should make sure your dog is well-socialized and able to travel in groups.
Playtime for Puppy
Doggie day care centers and pet spas are another great option for dogs with working owners. Many offer training, grooming, and health care for your pet, as well as numerous exercise and socialization opportunities. Before dropping your dog off for day care, research the requirements of the center, since most demand up-to-date vaccinations. Tour the facility to confirm it is a safe and suitable place for your pet’s needs, and leave emergency contact information with the administration.
At University Animal Hospital in New York City, we have years of experience caring for urban pets. We offer dog and cat boarding services at our Upper East Side location, with a vet on-premises 24 hours a day for medical care and supervision. Our staff will also take your dog out for a walk three times a day, with additional outdoor playtime in our cage-free area. You can trust us to take attentive care of your dog while you’re at the office or away on vacation, ensuring that your beloved pet returns home well-rested, well-exercised, and well-fed.