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8 Tips for Having a Dog in an Upstairs Apartment


The United States has seen a massive shift of people moving into cities and urban areas over the past decade. More and more young people no longer think of the American Dream as owning a white picket fenced house in a small town. Now, professionals young and old want to live close to work and play, have great restaurant options, and access to other places like gyms and shopping. 

As more people move into apartments and smaller living spaces, they’re worried about the impact it has on their dogs. Having a dog in an upstairs apartment is vastly different than owning a pet in a home with a yard. It takes more work and diligence to make sure your pet is safe and happy, particularly while you aren’t around. Having a pet in an upper floor apartment can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to make life fun and good for him or her. 

Here are eight great tips to help you keep your dog happy in an apartment. They’re easy to do and will make all the difference. 

app video view dog on phone away from home pet camera

1. Embrace Pet Technology

Developments in technology have helped people stay in more contact with their pets while they’re away. It makes being at work away from our dogs all day bearable. A few years ago, companies started making home devices equipped with microphones and cameras that let you check in on your pet. They come with mobile applications, so you can talk to your dog or see what they’re up to whenever you want. Higher-end devices come with treat dispensers that can shoot out little treats for your dog. 

There are also several dog activity trackers for sale online. Collars are fitted with small electronic devices that track steps and activity. It will help you know how much your dog is moving around in the upstairs apartment while you’re away. You’ll know how much you need to take your dog out for exercise when you get back from being outside. 

2. Keep Them Safe

When you leave your dog in an upstairs apartment, you need to make sure they’re safe. Don’t leave any windows open and make sure your door is firmly shut when you leave. In smaller apartments, it can be hard to cordon off part of your house from your pet. Help your dog stay out of trouble by making sure food is locked away safely and nothing fragile is laying around. 

shetland sheepdog with interactive dog toy treats for leaving dog home alone keep them occupied

3. Space Out the Fun

If you have to leave your dog in the apartment all day, do what you can to keep their days interesting. Pet companies know the challenges working pet owners face, so they’re making things like puzzles and time-released feeders to keep dogs busy throughout the day. Additionally, you can hide treats or toys around your apartment for you good boy or girl to discover as they move around the house. They’ll have way more fun than just sitting on a couch or bed all day. Moving around the apartment will be a treasure hunt full of fun. 

4. Think About Noise Control

In apartment living, getting along with your neighbor matters. You don’t have to be super close, but you don’t want to make enemies in such proximity. It’s easy to sympathize with neighbors who stay at home while your dog is barking all day when you’re at work. If you’ve ever been near a barking dog all day, you can feel their pain. 

There are some things you can do to keep your dog from barking all day. One of the biggest bark triggers is movement or something that catches your dog’s eyes outside. Close the blinds to obstruct their outside view. It will calm them and stop them from barking. Likewise, the treats and puzzles laying around will keep her or him busy throughout the day, so they’ll be less inclined to bark. 

dog walker with a group of dogs on leashes in the park husky border collie great dane vizsla

5. Hire a Walker

When you have a dog in an upstairs apartment you need to make sure they get the exercise they need. It might be impossible to run home to walk your dog on your lunch break, but there are other easy options. Several dog walking apps let you hire someone to stop by your apartment and take your pet out for a run. 

Dog walking apps do a good job of making sure their dog walkers are trained, communicate with pet owners well and even send you reports of what happened on the walk. You can hire them as often as you like. It’s an added expense, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing your pet wasn’t cooped up all day in your upstairs apartment. 

6. Try Balcony Potty Training

One of the hardest aspects of having a dog in an upstairs apartment is they don’t have a yard out back to use for the bathroom. Most pet owners who live in an apartment know the feeling of coming home to accidents and messes. Your dog probably feels just as bad about it as you do. 

The good news is that most dogs are smart, and with some training, you can make it easier for your dog to use the bathroom while you’re away. If you can’t hire a dog walker for potty breaks, try balcony potty training. Potty patches on balconies help dogs get used to going to the bathroom in small spaces. A little time training your dog will pay off in spades. Your dog will be happy because they’ll know what’s expected of them, and you won’t come home to unpleasant surprises after work. 

Keep safety in mind if you attempt balcony potty training. Remember dogs can jump very high. If they see a bird or get too excited, they could try to jump over railings. Balcony guards can be purchased online to raise the level of your balcony wall to keep your puppy safe. 

I always will be near with you. Beagle dog lies on the yoga mat when his owner makes yoga exercises

7. Get Up Early and Exercise

When your dog is alone in your apartment all day, it’s on you to make sure they get the exercise they need in the morning and evening. That means you’ll have to wake up earlier than you’d like. Get your puppy out and running before you have to start your day. Make sure you leave them good and tired when you head out. When you get home, get them out for some more exercise.

Keeping your dog active before and after your day will lower the potential they’ll act out at home while you’re away. There will be fewer torn up pillows and overturned trash cans. 

8. Think About Your Breed

If you haven’t gotten a dog yet, think about what breeds do well in upstairs apartments. Large dogs are a ton of fun, but they need big spaces to run around. Being at home all day in a small apartment will drive them nuts and they’ll likely act out. Smaller dogs or lower-energy breeds tend to do well in apartments. Do some research and think about limiting your search to apartment-friendly breeds. 

san francisco apartment potted house plants girl woman with small dog in eames lounge chair

The Bottom Line

Having a dog in an upstairs apartment is totally doable. It’s something thousands of pet owners handle excellently every day. Following these tips will make apartment living with a dog easier for you and your cute pup. They don’t take a lot of work but will make all the difference in the world for your pet. Knowing your pet is happy at home while you’re away will make pet ownership even more rewarding. 

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