Most people think of getting a dog as something you can only do when you have a fenced-in yard or out in suburbia, and not in the city. But if you take a look around, you’ll probably see quite a few dogs walking the streets, completely happy and content. And if their owners are making it work for them, why can’t you make it work for you?
Provided you can provide a happy, loving home for your dog, then raising a dog in the city can be a great idea. Your four-legged darling will be your best friend and will help you enjoy more of the city you love together.
So where do you get started with raising a dog in the city? Take a look at the following tips.
Consider your space carefully
Before you decide to get a dog, you’ll need to think carefully about the space that you have in your home. If you live in a small apartment, it wouldn’t be fair to have a larger dog. Take a look at some of the best dog breeds for apartment living to help you find a type of dog that’s the most suitable for you. Remember that some breeds need a lot more activity than others. Clem, our bull-terrier HATES to run or walk, so he would be a perfect city dog.
You’ll need to make sure you have plenty of space for your dog to move around, as well as space for their bed or a crate.
Do your research on dog breeds
Many people chose a dog based on what they look like, but it’s important that you look at different breeds in more detail to see what their temperament is generally like too. Some dogs don’t take to being left on their own, even for short periods of time, and others might be more prone to barking. Finding the right breed will help make raising a dog in the city much easier.
Don’t rule out rescuing a dog either, there are plenty of dogs and puppies in shelters who are looking for a good home.
Plan your budget carefully
Something else you’ll need to consider before bringing a dog home is the cost. Dogs can cost more money than you think, and once you’ve got all of the essentials in, there’ll be ongoing costs to consider like food, the cost of a walker if you hire one, vets bills and more (I am always shocked when I take Clem to the Vet).
Getting pet insurance is very important for your dog and something that I’d wish I’d have done when Clem was younger. It can help you cover expensive vets bills if something were to happen and gives you peace of mind that your dog will be taken care of. Don’t forget that insurance doesn’t tend to cover spaying/neutering, worming and flea treatments, etc. so these are costs you’ll need to factor into your budget.
Get your home ready
Bringing home a new dog or puppy is an exciting time, but you’ll need to make sure your home is prepared first. Just as you would a baby or a small child, you’ll need to put anything hazardous out of sight. Cables, remote controls and many other household items are very appealing to a teething puppy, so you’ll want to make sure your home is safe for them. You should set up an area that’s theirs for your first days to help them get used to your home and not overwhelm them too much.
Make sure that you purchase the essentials like a bed, blankets, feeding bowls, collar and leash, and of course – plenty of toys. You can use puppy pads to help with toilet training, which could be beneficial in an apartment, or you can make sure you take them outside every half hour to an hour so that they can go as needed.
Take some time to build a routine
Dogs can get into a routine very quickly, so it’s important to start getting them used to one as soon as possible. There are different ways to create a routine for your dog, especially in the mornings. By getting up at the same time every day, taking them for walks, and making sure they’re fed at the same time, you can start to help your dog settle into your home.
Find the right feeding routine
Feeding your dog isn’t as easy as just putting kibble in a bowl. All dogs can have very different needs when it comes to the type of food they eat, as well as how much. You should pay close attention to how much you feed your dog to prevent obesity. You should look at the different types of dog food that are recommended for your breed too. What makes the best food for puppy shih tzu might not be the same for a cockapoo or a labrador or even a bullie like we have for example. Try not to overdo the treats either, and keep an eye out for healthier options to use during training.
Hire a walker
Unless you’re going to be at home to walk your dog every day, you’re going to need to hire a dog walker. A walker will be able to make sure your dog gets the exercise they need, as well as a bit of company during the day. Some dogs will need walking more than once a day, so you can supplement your dog’s afternoon walk with one in the morning or the evening. Hiring a dog walker can feel like a luxury, but it’s actually very important that your dog gets regular exercise and isn’t left alone all day. I know that Ben & Allyson often drop Jack & Betty off at a doggie daycare facility a couple of days a week, just so so that they get their exercise.
Build confidence and socialization
Dogs that are socialized from a young age are much better behaved when out on walks, etc. You should start socializing your dog from an early age, as this can help them learn how to behave with other dogs, while also helping them learn boundaries with people. Taking your dog to puppy classes can be an excellent way to socialize them, as it will introduce them to other small puppies, while also helping you learn how to train them. Going to doggie daycare (see the above paragraph) helps as well.
Daily walks are key to helping a puppy build confidence. Get them out and introduce them to as many people and dogs as possible so that they can feel completely confident in a number of situations. Take stacks of treats with you to help reward those good behaviors and make sure you learn how to become a responsible dog owner in the process.
Get them out in the fresh air
Dogs love to walk. Outside of your apartment, there’s a whole world of smells and sounds for your puppy to enjoy. Taking them outside helps the two of you to bond and stops the boredom that many dogs can face. Take plenty of opportunities to explore your local parks – your pooch will love you for it!
Consider getting a second pet
If you’re worried about your dog being on their own during the day, then a second pet could help. Having two dogs or perhaps a cat could help them stay occupied when you’re not there. It’s wonderful to have animals in your home and can be great for you if you’re lonely too!
Keep an eye on their health
It’s important to monitor your dog’s health closely – they can’t tell you when there’s something wrong. By taking care of the basics such as feeding, walking and making sure they get plenty of sleep, you can keep your dog’s general health in check. But keep an eye out for any changes in behavior that might be a sign that something’s wrong, as well as and injuries. It’s up to you to maintain their nails, ears, eyes, and teeth, so make sure you pay close attention to any changes.
A dog makes a wonderful addition to any home, including a home in the city. With the right advice and plenty of love, there’s no reason why you can’t build a loving home for a dog in the city.