There’s something special about being a dog owner. From the enjoyment of playing fetch in the park to affectionate belly rubs while you watch TV together, dogs really are ‘man’s best friend’. Despite what many people think, keeping a dog in a flat is entirely possible when you follow the right steps. Not all dogs require a big house and garden to live in, and in 2024, there are more options than ever to find pet friendly apartments to rent.

First and foremost, living with any pet requires the right attention, care and precautions to ensure your pet is happy, healthy and safe.

Before you consider keeping a dog in a flat, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your landlord allow pets (if you are living in a rental flat or plan to)?
  • Is there enough space to keep a dog in the flat (this can depend on the size of the flat and the size of the dog)?
  • Do you have enough time to care for a dog? Do you have plans in place for when you’re not around the flat?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions, read on for our advice on how to best look after your dog when you live in a flat.

How to keep your dog happy

Dog sitting on girls lap in her flat

Unlike other pets such as cats, dogs can require more attention from you.

If you have a busy working schedule or social life, it might be difficult to find the right amount of time to care for your dog.

In order to keep your dog happy, it’s important to make plans for when you’re not around the flat.

This could be in the form of a dog-sitter during the daytime, or, if work etiquette allows, you could even take your pooch into the office with you.

If you do plan to leave your dog alone, there’s plenty you can do to create a dog-friendly space.

It’s worth laying out some ground-rules as to where your dog can go – this way, no one’s in the doghouse.

For example, if you don’t want your dog sleeping in your bedroom, remember to always close the door behind you as a subtle cue.

Dogs love comfort as much as humans do. Consider dedicating a corner of your flat especially for your pooch. Whether that’s a dog-bed next to the sofa or a blanket laid out on the kitchen floor, your dog will appreciate having its own haven.

You can fill this haven with various doggie chew toys or stuffed animals. And make sure you place a water bowl nearby.

Many dogs also enjoy having music or the television playing quietly while they’re home alone. Rhythmic background noise can prevent your dog from pining or barking when you’re not there – something your neighbours will appreciate!

How to keep your dog healthy

Dog playing with toys in flat

A common hesitancy for keeping a dog in a flat is the lack of garden space. When you have a solid walking and toileting routine in place, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Dogs thrive upon a daily schedule to follow and look forward to. You can avoid any unpleasant accidents about the flat by sticking to a regular cycle of walks and loo breaks.

It’s worth coordinating feeding times around your walking schedule too. That way, your dog’s ready to use the outdoor bathroom when walkies come round.

How much daily exercise your dog needs depends on the breed.

Your two or three walks a day could be in the form of popping round the block or to a local dog-friendly pub.

Or you might want to factor in more time for lengthier walks around a nearby park or nature reserve.

Exercise isn’t just for the outdoors. You can encourage your dog’s playfulness around the flat with the right choice of toys.

This will keep them healthy and allow them to let off some energy, preventing chewed furniture and scratched floors.

How to keep your dog safe

Dog lying on floor in flat

An overly energetic dog may wreak havoc in your home unless you’re careful.

Since flats are usually more contained than houses, it’s quite simple to pet-proof your living space and keep your dog safe.

You can easily maximise the floor space for your dog to roam by pushing furniture against the walls, where possible.

The fewer things that can be knocked over, the better. Watch out for low-hanging breakables or trip-hazards such as trailing wires.

Position fragile or dangerous objects high up or tucked away in cupboards.

If your dog is particularly curious, be mindful of owning any houseplants that are toxic to animals.

When keeping a dog in a flat, it’s also important to be acquainted with any potential exit routes for your pooch.

Ensure your windows are never open wide enough for your dog to slip through.

If you have a balcony, be careful that your dog never gets caught outside.

With the right safety precautions, your dog may actually benefit from having a balcony, since this can double up as an emergency toilet.

Keeping a dog in a flat

Dog playing in a bedroom

With the right steps in place, you can keep your dog happy, healthy and safe when you live together in a flat.

Your dog will benefit from having a daily routine where feeding times, loo breaks and walks factor in.

There’s also an array of things you can do about the flat to ensure your dog has enough space to wander, relax in and play.

At Essential Living, we understand the importance of living with pets. That’s why we offer pet friendly rental apartments in London.

Our stylish apartments across the capital are available to pet owners of all different kinds of dogs. Find out more about living with pets in our apartments.

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Tilly Martin


Leading the way with the London lifestyle and interior editorial content, Tilly sources all of the most stylish hangouts, up-and-coming venues, and latest interiors trends to share with readers.