Apartment tips for your puppy or kitten
A new puppy or kitten can provide a unique, lasting form of companionship, but your new BFF also requires a good deal of work. What’s more, living in an apartment with a puppy or kitten means adhering to guidelines that may be a little bit more involved than those of other types of residences. Here are the essentials to making sure your pet is as comfortable in your apartment as you are.
Pet-proof your home. Puppies and kittens tend to have unending amounts of curiosity—that’s part of what makes them so adorable. At the same time, it’s that curiosity that can get them into trouble, not to mention make a mess for you. You can minimize the amount of mischief they get into by pet-proofing your apartment before your pet arrives, using many of the same tactics you would for a child. Childproof latches and locks can keep your pet from getting into cabinets and drawers, while potentially harmful chemicals and medications should be stored well out of reach. Organizing and hiding dangling wires and cords will help reduce the risk of a catastrophe (pun intended). In general, minimize risk as much as possible: if it looks like it could cause harm to (or be harmed by) your pet, it probably can, so do your best to make it safe.
Set up a routine. Young pets need structure to their lives. Instilling a routine early on can make your life easier later, as they will, in essence, understand your schedule and cater to it. Moreover, a routine helps your pet acclimate to its new surroundings and living situation, and thus make for an easier transition. Feed your puppy or kitten at the same times every day, as this will help you time their bathroom breaks better, as well as help them maintain a healthy weight. For dogs, take them outside at the same time every day, because this is important for housebreaking. For cats, regularly clean the litter box to ensure that your kitten will continue to use it, instead of other areas of your apartment. Also, regularly grooming your pet, from brushing to washing, helps your pet stay healthy and reduces shedding, which means less cleaning up for you.
Be patient with housebreaking. Training your pet not to make a mess in your apartment is an exercise in patience. Your pet will eventually learn the proper place to relieve himself, but the process takes time. When your pet makes a mistake, do not yell or punish him. This kind of reaction typically does not resonate well with puppies or kittens. Instead, try using positive reinforcement: when your pet doesn’t have an accident, reward him or her with a treat, a special toy, or other item of significance. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect, and acknowledging good behavior now can save you headaches later.
Get some exercise. Just like people, animals need physical activity to stay healthy. Expending energy helps your young dog or cat blow off steam, which means they’ll be less likely to wreak havoc on your apartment. Plan long walks for your puppy throughout the week, and invest in balls or other throwable toys for more high-intensity exercise. Use a piece of string or a beam of light every day to give your kitten a work out. You may find that these activities are just as enjoyable for you as they are for them!
How to Raise a Puppy in an Apartment [The Nest]
Get Your Apartment Ready to Bring Home a Kitten [Apartment Guide]
Pet-Proofing Your Home [American Humane Association]
How to Exercise and Play with a Cat [Pet MD]