Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tips for keeping pets in apartments

At the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA, we have successfully placed many homeless animals into all types of homes by matching the pet's personality and energy level with the right person or family. In 2010, of the more than 1,400 animals we cared for, only 3 percent were returned from adopters. We are so thankful for everyone in our community who has made adoption their first option when adding a pet to their lives, and for the patience that is sometimes required in finding the right match that will keep pets and their people happy ever after.

Sharing your home with a pet, when the home is an apartment or even a rented house, requires special considerations for both the pet and people involved. We do not require a fenced-in yard, but here are some tips to help you approach pet ownership in apartment-style living successfully:

• Research your lease and talk to your landlord about rules or guidelines regarding pet ownership. Some landlords prohibit having pets in their rental properties completely, while others do allow pets but with pet-specific rules as well as possibly a security deposit or "pet rent."
• Look for a dog to match your lifestyle and living environment. Rules from the landlord may define the size of the dog but not its activity level. Our adoption counselors can help you identify a match if you share the specifics of the living environment the dog will be in, as well as advise you on the exercise and activity requirements of the new pet you are about to take home.
• Success often is a matter of choosing the right dog. Size is not always the determining factor. Many small dogs such as terriers and beagles are high energy and need to move around and run, they are also notorious for barking, especially when left home alone. Do not choose a dog that "hates to be confined" or is "prone to cabin fever."

As with any pet in any living situation, exercise and training are key factors in the health happiness of your pet. Crate training is helpful for dogs that may be home for periods of time, and doggie day care is a great outlet for activity and socialization. Rotating toys and a walk everyday will help to reduce boredom and the destructive behavior that can result from it.

Remember: Having an apartment dog may take a little more work, time and consideration. But it is worth it! The Concord-Merrimack County SPCA is located at 130 Washington Penacook. If you are interested in learning more, please visit us at

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