Proper living arrangements with dogs are important for their physical, emotional, and behavioural well-being. Before doing other pet care activities such as training, grooming or giving them a balanced diet, start with providing them a safe and comfortable living environment. Some breeders and shelters even screen adopters by asking for photos of your home.
After all, your home is a big part of how you can spend quality time together and help raise them securely and loved.
Whether you’re a new or veteran dog parent, your living arrangement can decide your dog’s happiness, and vice versa. Many people move houses for their dogs.
To help you decide, we weighed the pros and cons of different living arrangements for you and your dog.
Owning a pet may not be for every person or every apartment, but there are certain dog breeds who can get by just fine living the apartment life, regardless of size. It’s really gratifying to live with your dog in your apartment. However, it also needs money, time, and effort.
In an apartment, your front door lets out to the hallway. You don’t have to worry about them getting into an untoward accident by zooming out the front door. Or coming across anything dangerous like wasp nests. Your building’s maintenance keeps the entire apartment safe for all the residents, including your dog. So yes, an apartment scores big for safety.
Your dog will encourage you to exercise
You really don't have an option but to walk your dog regularly if you live in an apartment! You can typically get away with letting your dog out into a yard if you live in a single-family house, or even simply taking a brief stroll in your backyard. But when you don't have a backyard, you have to leave your house and get moving.
Studies have linked pet ownership to a higher life expectancy, while other studies have shown that dog owners exercise more than non-dog owners since dogs need to be walked often.
Both of you will socialise more
Additionally, if your apartment building has pet-friendly facilities or a pet-friendly outdoor space, your dog makes it easier for you to explore these communal spaces and make friends with your neighbours.
Having a dog will probably encourage you to engage in conversations with folks you would not normally talk to, including those in your building and those on the street. You'll be familiar with other dog owners, and your dog will also have more dog friends.
Finding a new apartment might be significantly more challenging when you have a pet with you. Pets are not often allowed by landlords, and those that do may also charge you an additional one-time pet fee or monthly pet rent.
Some contracts just call for an increased security and cleaning deposit, while other buildings raise your monthly rent as well! In some instances, the difference can amount to several hundred dollars more a year.
Even if you own your apartment and don’t pay rent, you also need to dog-proof your space. Grills or extra screen doors for balcony doors and windows to keep your dog safely inside. If you’re renting, you need to discuss with your landlord what you can and can’t do. Some renters install removable shields or panelling to protect doors and walls from the inevitable dog stripe.
Wood floors may need carpets to protect from scratches from dog nails.
No outdoor space
Unless your apartment has a roomy balcony, your dog is virtually inside all the time until you take them for a walk. You need access to a dog park so they can enjoy sunlight and fresh air.
Houses with yards
Living in a house with a yard for your dog brings a different set of advantages and responsibilities. They provide many benefits for your dog, but it also requires a certain level of commitment, as you will need to maintain the yard and ensure your dog is safe and secure when outside.
More convenient for your dog’s playtime
When you have a yard, your dog can play around anytime, which is convenient for you and for them. They don’t need to wait for you to come home so they can go outside, and you don’t need to walk them into dog parks everyday especially if you’re already running late.
Also, your dog can get more biological fulfilment, like satisfying their instincts to sniff around. Having a yard allows dogs to spend time outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which is important for their physical and mental health.
Perfect for big or small dogs with lots of energy
With yards, your dog has lots of space to run, play, and explore.
Yards are also perfect for shy dogs.
Shy dogs usually dislike going for walks because they could encounter strange situations, such as people and other dogs. Therefore, having a yard means your dog has their own space where they can feel confident and secure.
They can play without leashes
Unlike at the dog park with leash laws, your dog can experience real freedom in your own yard. They can lie down or zoom around without being disturbed by or disturbing other dogs.
They’ll get used to other dogs barking
Yards instil confidence. Your dog will get used to other dogs walking or barking outside. They can listen or even smell the others safely in your yard. Instead of barking and getting stressed about it, they’ll get used to it and eventually tolerate or even dismiss it, knowing that those dogs can’t harm them.
This helps when you’re out in public too, and they won’t be so scared of other dogs barking.
They can eat raw food without you worrying about the cleanup
If you have a yard, your dog can enjoy both sunbathing and unrestricted chewing without leaving a mess on your floors. Of course, you do want to make sure that your yard is always clean and clear to avoid growing or attracting bacteria or parasites in the soil.
Yards could be expensive
Having a backyard for your dog is an often-overlooked expense. Buying a house with a big yard will cost you a lot more than renting or buying an apartment.
This is something to consider when you decide what kind of pet to get. Large dogs need a bigger yard since they are naturally high energy.
They might replace the proper exercise your dog needs
Allowing your dog outside might give the impression that you are giving them the exercise they require. Though yard time is an addition to your dog’s activities, make sure that the majority of their exercise and happiness are not solely from your yard.
Prioritise playing in different settings, going out in public, and forming deep connections with each other.
Some neighbourhoods don’t allow fenced-in yards
Many dog owners don't have dog yards because their neighbourhoods don't allow it. There are strict standards in certain communities, and not all fences are appealing. Therefore, even if they wanted to, some families might not be able to have a fence.
However, you can opt for an invisible electric fence, as they also provide benefits for your dog when used properly.
You can miss behaviour problems or dangerous mistakes since they’re out of your sight
Even if your dog has shown you that they can be trusted in your yard by themselves, you still need to keep an eye on how they usually behave outside.
If they start to develop sudden behavioural changes, such as barking back at the neighbour dogs or having trouble settling down, reassess how often they’re outside unattended.
Dogs allowed outside also get into a lot of mischief. Dogs get stung by bees, for example, or end up destroying plants.
You also need to make sure your yard’s plants are not toxic to dogs.
Many dog owners find it difficult to be a full-time dog parent when they’re working 9 to 5. And sometimes, it would be cruel to leave your dog home alone all day long without any sort of entertainment or interaction.
In this situation, doggy daycare serves as the ideal solution.
Dog daycare facilities give your dog a chance to exercise, get mental stimulation, and have some good ol' fashioned fun while you're at work. Doggy daycare isn't always the greatest choice for all dogs, however it's a perfect match for certain dogs.
Your dog’s not left alone at home
Imagine how lonely and bored your dog may feel spending the entire day at home by themselves. Some dogs may feel completely miserable as a result, but the issue can be quickly fixed with regular daycare visits.
They can socialise with other dogs
Dogs are sociable animals, and allowing your dog to attend a daycare centre provides them the chance to play and connect with other dogs. They learn key social skills from this, and it also stimulates their minds.
They can move around and play
Your dog can play as much as they want with other dogs at daycare rather than being at home all day without any exercise. This is important for their emotional health, in addition to helping them stay in shape.
Less destructive behaviours at home
If your dog is often bored, they may resort to destructive behaviour, such as chewing on your furniture, as a way to pass the time and burn off excess energy. However, if your dog attends daycare, they should return home happy and exhausted in a good kind of way.
Many facilities available
If you live in a city, you probably have a variety of daycare centres to pick from. In order to add a more personalised touch, some people may offer in-home daycare in addition to specialised doggie daycare facilities.
Doggy daycares fit your schedules
Daycare facilities for dogs are also flexible enough to work with your schedule. For example, instead of a full day of care, you may schedule your dog for a half-day.
The environment could be overwhelming for your dog
For some puppies, entering a chaotic environment where there may be 10 or more other dogs can be overwhelming and totally intimidating. Some dogs may experience mental exhaustion from worry or anxiety rather than from engaging in "fun" activities.
Some dogs may find the constant excitement or stress of a bustling daycare centre a little too much to manage. Daycare is usually not the greatest option for dogs that are naturally anxious or a bit hyper.
No personalised care
Some dogs require personalised attention to ensure their entire happiness and satisfaction. However, at a dog daycare centre, they’re just among the many other dogs in a room.
Also, different daycare centres may have different staff members that are more or less professional and attentive. To find a daycare where your dog will get top-notch care, you'll need to assess a variety of options.
They can pick up bad behaviour from peers
There's a possibility that your dog will pick up some bad habits from their dog daycare companions. Even when regular exercise can keep things from becoming an issue, it's a problem worth thinking about.
Your dog can catch diseases
Even if respectable dog care centres have strong health and immunisation practices in place, there is always a chance that diseases like fleas or kennel cough can spread there.
Dog daycare costs are expensive
The price of doggie daycare is another thing to take into account. You will pay a high care cost if you schedule visits for your dog five days a week.
Choosing the right living arrangements for your dog is a responsibility you have as a pet parent. Honestly speaking, if you think your current living situation is not yet optimal for a dog, and that your schedule will limit you from taking care of them, it’s best to postpone your idea of having a dog.
But if you’re committed enough to adjust your current lifestyle in exchange for a more fun and exciting life with a pooch, then do so!
Weigh in the pros and cons of each living arrangement, and assess carefully what will work best for you and your dog.