City-Dwelling, First-Time Dog Owners Should Choose Their Dog Wisely


Much of the world’s population lives in urban environments. Cities can provide us with many benefits, from proximity to cuisine and entertainment to boutiques and other experiences. However, living in the city can also mean imposing certain limits on our lifestyle. We may not always be able to live in a house or have access to the greenery we would like. For a city dweller, these limitations make choosing a dog breed particularly tricky. If you live in the city and you’re planning to bring a dog into your life, here are some things to keep in mind on choosing the right breed.

Consider Yourself First

Choosing a dog must start with a long, hard look in the mirror. The Mother Nature Network poses some questions to would-be dog owners that they must all be willing to answer honestly.

1) Are you at a stage in life where you can afford to own a dog? They aren’t cheap.

2) Are you willing to give up the mental and physical energy it will take to raise a dog? Are the time, social, and other lifestyle sacrifices worth it for you? Because, there will be sacrifices.

3) Are you willing to embrace the general uncertainty that comes with dog ownership?

These are just three of the most basic considerations that all potential pup owners should make. If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, and you answered honestly, consider a couple other things.

If you have allergies, do research on certain breeds to minimize shedding. A dog you’re highly allergic to is a non-starter. And, if you live in an apartment – as most city residents tend to – be realistic about which breed will suit your lifestyle.

Picking a Breed

When picking a breed, first make sure your dog is sized so that it will actually fit in your apartment. A dog that has too much energy or is simply too large for the space an apartment provides may end up with all sorts of health issues, not to mention a largely miserable existence.

The American Kennel Club lists more breeds that are particularly suited for apartment life, while Barkpost takes a slightly different approach, listing breeds considered to be “lazier,” and therefore more suited to life in the city. To be sure, picking a large or high-energy breed as a resident in an urban environment is most often a mistake, but regardless of which breed you choose, the dog is going to need exercise. Loving, responsible owners will do this day and night before work, but those living the single life while maintaining a career should consider hiring a dog walker.

Dog walkers give the dog something to look forward to while you’re away for long stretches of the day, and will provide the exercise dogs need to maintain even the most basic level of health. This is another expense that should be considered before making a final decision about whether you’re ready for dog ownership.

Preparing the Apartment

Any dog is going to need time to learn how to behave. When you first bring your dog home, have protective layering over any surfaces that might suffer from bathroom accidents, and insulate any edges, surfaces, or walls that you’re not willing to risk getting dirty or damaged.

As a city dweller, making your dog feel comfortable in your apartment is critically important. Start with the right dog bed and the right spot where it can go within your apartment. You’ll also want to ensure you have the right type of dog food, leash, collar, toys and any other necessities to help him adapt. If you’ve got a senior pup on your hands, consider purchasing a raised food bowl and a dog ramp to give them an extra boost when getting in the car or on the couch. Give your dog time to adjust and spend quality time with him when you can. Start bonding as soon as possible.

It is wise to remember that renting often means being more accountable for damage, so training as a city dweller is especially important, according to The Honest Kitchen. Dogs in the city tend to come into more frequent contact with humans and other dogs, so socializing them early and often is a must if you’re going to avoid lawsuits.

Make your apartment a doggy den to the greatest extent possible. Because most apartment dwellers can’t simply open their door to an array of greenery, providing toys, beds, and other symbols of comfort within the apartment itself will allow your dog to acclimate. And, I can’t stress this enough: potty train your dog as soon as possible. Consider indoor astro-turf or other surfaces if need be, but protect your property from accidents and misfires as much as possible.

Dog ownership in the city comes with a few extra caveats. There are more limitations in terms of suitable breeds, and training differences that pertain to apartment living. Also, the hiring of a dog walker is often more of a necessity than a choice for urban residents. That said, city-dwelling dog owners can reap all the benefits of their suburban counterparts, they just have to go about ownership wisely.

(Photo via Pixabay)