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5 Expert Tips on Designing a Pet-Friendly Apartment

a picture with a cat

Want to make your apartment a cozy, comfortable place for your pet to live? Here are a few fantastic tips that will help you create a home that they love.

Moving to a new space is a tough transition for anyone. But, it’s particularly difficult for pets.

After all, apartments tend to be small. There isn’t a ton of space to run around. And, animals have heightened senses, so they probably know that 70% of the apartments in the complex are housing an animal stranger. Don’t let that worry you. Your apartment can be a home sweet home for your animal if you make it so.

We’re going to show you the five things your pet needs to feel at home in your new space. It all starts with considerate thought. The rest of it is a snap.

Read on to learn how you can design a pet-friendly apartment that makes your furry friend feel safe and comfortable.

First Things First: Know Your Animal

You probably know your pet very well.

But, you should take some extra time to research the habits of your pet’s breed or animal type.

Learn about the subtle idiosyncrasies your pet might have about its living space. For instance, some dogs like to burrow under blankets. Some birds like to hide from strangers and birds that love to frolic and show off for them.

You might find out something new about your pet, and that’s always a plus. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to cater to your pet’s needs.

1. Design the Space with Your Pet in Mind

You and your pet will experience the space differently. Fido and Snickers aren’t as captivated by your awesome decorating aesthetic as you are. While you may enjoy bead curtains and wall-to-wall decor, they prefer having personal space and being able to see what’s happening.

To arrange your space with their needs in mind, you should put yourself in puss’s boots.

Look at the Space from Your Pet’s Perspective

Get on your hands and knees if you have to. Look around the house from wherever your pet has its main vantage points.

The point is to see what your pet sees. It’s just as important to understand what he can’t see, as well.

You will want to identify things that obstruct your pet’s view. Also, be on the lookout for anything that seems intimidating or dangerous. If you have a wobbly CD tower or a cactus, for instance, you may want to remove them.

Make a note of places in the apartment where clutter tends to accumulate. Remember that you get to leave when you want to. Your animal companion is in the apartment most of the time and will want to feel like it has room to move.

Make it feel more spacious by eliminating anything you don’t really need.

Make a Comfortable Place to Sit and Sleep

Everyone wants their own comfy spot. Your dog or cat should have one that belongs to them.

If your pet isn’t allowed on the furniture, get a nice bed where he can snuggle up.

If your animal is allowed on furniture, make sure they can clear the jumps. Arrange everything so that they can get up and down.

Create a Personal Haven for Your Pet

It isn’t enough just to have somewhere nice to lay their heads. They also need a place to feel secure.

Consider your pet or your pet’s breed characteristics and make them space all their own where they feel comfortable.

For example, cats like to sit on a high perch. Dogs appreciate a cave-like place to go when they’re scared. You may want to keep a kennel around or clear out a closet nest for them to crawl into during thunderstorms and other jarring events.

You might need to clear multiple spaces for a bird or rodent cage so that you can move them from one place to another to keep them from being lonely or bored.

Show Your Pet Around

Even if your pet lives indoors, it helps for them to know a little about the area outside their home.

This is especially true for dogs.

Take your pet on a tour of the complex or the area surrounding the building so they have a frame of reference for what’s outside. It’ll be reassuring when they can identify loud noises outside while you’re not home.

2. Make it Smell Familiar

Animals have a much stronger smell sense than humans. To them, home is whatever place smells the most familiar.

So, you should “mark your territory” before you bring your pet into the new apartment. If the new place smells like the old place, it’ll be easier for them to acclimate.

There are a few ways you can make your apartment smell like home:

  • Bring your dirty laundry and leave some in each room.
  • Spread old pet toys around the space.
  • Bring your pet’s current bed and feeding dishes – don’t get new ones.

When your cat rubs against something (like your leg or the fridge), she is claiming it as hers. If your pet is a cat, run a soft cloth around her nose and chin. At the new apartment, rub the cloth on the walls at the height of her nose.

3. Create a Routine 

One way to make your animal feel at home is to develop a routine that it can depend on. Animals feel at-ease when the same events take place every day.

Some animals, especially dogs, can tell time by certain smells or changes in light. Having something to look forward to will give them structure.

Make sure there are times during the day that the animal can look forward to like meals, treats, or play. If you have a dog, schedule potty breaks so that they have an idea of how much longer they have to hold it.

Rules are structure too. So, make training a priority.

For instance, dogs need to know that barking is inappropriate at certain times. You can’t allow a cat to pull at the carpet or get crafty about sneaking through doors.

You can also use training as both structure and entertainment if you add learning new tricks (and treats) to a routine.

4. Provide Exercise and Entertainment

Make your home a happy place to be with fun activities and plenty of ways to burn off energy accumulated by living in a small space.

  • Take dogs for regular walks.
  • Make playtime a priority.
  • Provide lots of toys so your pet can entertain themselves when you’re not home.
  • Take time every day for bonding, cuddling, and being together.

If you’re gone a lot or work long hours, hire someone to drop by and spend time with your animal and make sure it gets plenty of exercise and entertainment.

5. Monitor Your Pet’s Mental and Physical Health

Remember that your pet has heightened senses. While you may be able to ignore what’s going on in the rest of your apartment building, your pet will still be able to hear and smell them.

They are also closer to the ground and more exposed to dirt and germs.

Keeping these things in mind will help you remain aware of how well your pet is adjusting to the new space.

There are a few key things you should do to keep your pet healthy:

Keep up with Regular Vet Appointments

Apartments expose animals to the diseases and conditions of other animals – especially those that use common areas. You should take your pet to a doctor regularly to make sure that they don’t catch anything from the other animals in the building.

Your vet will also know how to prevent many common illnesses and parasites. That way, you can keep your little friend from getting sick.

Keep Your Pet’s Mental State in Mind

Your animal may get anxious when exterminators, maintenance workers, or other apartment personnel enter the room. Be patient with them and do your best to show them that they have nothing to worry about.

It takes time for animals to adjust to living in a space filled with so many other people and animals. Give them some time to grow accustomed to it.

Don’t worry if your pet seems to hate the apartment at first. Especially if they’re used to living in a smaller building, they make not like it early on.

But, it’s totally possible for pets to feel at home and happy in an apartment building. As long as you’re prepared to deal with their needs in a loving way they’ll eventually adore their new home.

Author Bio:

Lindsey is the community manager who comes to Siesta Key with several years of experience managing luxury communities throughout the DC metropolitan area. As a Montgomery County native, Lindsey feels as though Siesta Key is what Rockville has been missing. It is centrally located and proves that you can have plenty of space without losing style and sophistication.

About Chris

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