- By Mary Caldwell For the AJC
Owning a dog can be extremely rewarding, but if you're a pet parent who lives in the heart of a city or in an apartment, you might face a few extra challenges.
From a lack of yard space to nearby neighbors who can easily hear your dog barking, you may need to make some adjustments for the good of your lifestyle and your neighbors.
Try these seven hacks for a safe, happy city or apartment life with your pooch:
1. Choose the right breed.
If you haven't yet become a pet parent, choose a dog with your living situation in mind, according to this Pets Best Insurance blog. A puppy may be more rambunctious and need more bathroom breaks than an older dog. And while you might assume that larger dogs won't work well in the city or in an apartment, that's not necessarily true. Depending on the breed, they may bark less and be less energetic than smaller dogs.
2. Prepare for potty trips.
If you live several stories up in an apartment building, potty trips outside can be more of a hassle. You may have to improvise by using some training pads or trying a dog potty with real or synthetic grass,according to the experts at Bella’s House and Pet Sitting. Disposable and permanent versions are available, and you can place them inside or outside on a balcony.
3. Help your dog adapt.
If you have a new dog or one that's used to a different living environment, he or she may need time to adjust to city or apartment living. Introduce your pet slowly to the sounds of traffic, neighbors, and other animals, giving him or her extra attention and time to feel safe.
4. Help your pooch get plenty of exercise.
Your dog will require plenty of exercise and will need to be walked at least two to three times a day. For outdoor playtime in some wide-open spaces, try one of Atlanta's best dog parks, where you and your dog can socialize.
5. Protect your dog's paws.
As the summer sun heats up Atlanta's asphalt and concrete, it can be dangerous for your dog's paws. If you're taking your dog for a walk in hot weather, check the pavement for heat by putting the back of your hand on it for at least seven seconds. If it's too hot, stick to grassy surfaces, wait until a cooler part of the day, or invest in some dog booties.
6. Use and swap out toys.
Leave your dog some toys to play with to keep him or her from getting bored and destructive when you're not home. A few Kong toys – which have hollow centers to put treats inside – can help provide some stimulation and entertainment while you're gone. And it never hurts to swap out an old toy and add a new one to the mix now and then to keep your dog interested.
7. Get some help.
If you're going to be gone for long periods of time during the day, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your pet in doggy day care. Some day cares even have webcams that let you sneak a peek at your dog having fun while you're stuck at your desk at work.