Living in an apartment, town home, or small house with no yard does not mean you can’t properly care for a dog or cat. Even large animals can adapt to small spaces, and cats and dogs can get plenty of exercise in urban areas. It might take a little more effort on your part, though, if there’s no yard for romping and roaming.
Before you adopt a pet for your small space, research the exercise requirements for that particular breed. This is especially important if you plan to adopt a dog. Some breeds do require a yard for regular exercise, and daily trips outside on a leash won’t be enough to satisfy these pets.
Dog Parks and Runs
Most cities have one or more dog parks or dog runs designed to keep animals safe and confined while they get exercise. Check your local phone book or ask your veterinarian for dog parks near you. Remember to check out the rules of every dog park you visit; some parks may not allow all breeds, while many have strict policies prohibiting sick dogs, aggressive dogs, and dogs in heat.
Take Your Dog for a Walk
Take your dog for one or two good walks every day, even if he has a place near your home to do his business. Walking is good exercise and stimulation for your pooch. If you work long hours or are unable to take your dog for frequent walks for another reason, consider hiring a dog-walker to come by once or twice a day.
Schedule Play Dates or Consider Doggie Daycare
Dogs benefit from social interaction as well as physical activity. If a friend or neighbor has a dog that gets along with your pooch, schedule a few dates each month for them to get together and play. Activities such as tug of war require little space, are very physically challenging, and are most fun when played with a friend. Another option it to find a doggie daycare in your area that allows free play with other animals. Call around until you find one you like, but remember to check it out thoroughly before trusting the facility with your pet.
What about Cats?
Cats are easier to entertain at home and require considerably less space than dogs. Cats living in small spaces will benefit most from interactive cat toys, such as dangling feathers and motion-activated mice. Treat balls are great because they stimulate your cat mentally and physically. Make sure you also provide scratching posts, climbing trees, and towers for your cat to perch on.