With high-density living on the rise, a house in the suburbs with a big backyard for the family dog, is no longer the reality for many of us. But there are still many perfect pet options for those with limited space.
The RSPCA says residents who choose an apartment over a house, don’t necessarily have to give up on their dreams of owning a pet. Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are all great pets to have in high-density living as they are extremely quiet and are highly unlikely to annoy neighbours.
“While apartment living tends to be more compact, many people don’t realise that there are plenty of companion animals who can thrive in an apartment setting; cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are all great examples, as they are meticulously clean and can be toilet trained, so limited outdoor space is not an issue,” said Allie Jalbert, Manager of Animal Shelters, RSPCA Victoria.
When it comes to cats, the RSPCA recommends they live an indoor lifestyle if owners don’t have access to an outdoor enclosure. By nature, cats are predators and could potentially harm native wildlife. They are also at high risk of injury from fighting with other cats when outdoors and are more susceptible to catching disease from other cats and animals when they are roaming outside.
Similarly, rabbits are very clean animals and can also be toilet trained. While it is not advisable to leave these furry little friends out of an enclosure when unsupervised, allowing it to run about your apartment while you are home will make sure your bunny is content and gets the exercise it needs.
If you have your heart set on owning a dog, some local councils have established dog parks where your dog can be exercised off-the-leash to relieve boredom and release the pent-up energy of dogs confined to smaller areas. Exercising your dog regularly can also reduce the nuisance behaviour which can put you in conflict with neighbours, such as uncontrolled barking.
I live in an apartment in the Parramatta City Council area in Sydney where there are several off-leash areas provided for dogs, including a large fenced-in dog park located five minutes drive from my home. The Parramatta City Council has installed dog litter bag dispensers and bins at all their designated off-leash parks.
Check with your local council to learn whether they provide off-leash areas for dogs in your area. With high-density living on the rise in our cities, more local councils will need to establish dog parks to keep nuisance behaviour and noise complaints to a minimum.
Whatever pet you choose, it’s important to note that all potential pet owners must first seek approval from their landlord, or owners corporation, before bringing a new pet home to an apartment.
Getting permission to own a dog in an apartment isn’t easy, but it is certainly possible.
Ownership of ‘a small dog’ was included in my lease when I moved into my rented apartment in western Sydney 18 months ago. However, my mother owns a townhouse in South-Western Sydney where dog ownership is not permitted by the body corporate.
To avoid the heartbreak of being forced to give up a beloved pet, make sure you have permission from your landlord or body corporate before you purchase or adopt a pet.
Allie Jalbert from RSPCA Victoria says: “To ensure our animals find their ‘forever’ homes, RSPCA Victoria asks that all potential owners seek approval from their landlord, or owners corporation, before adopting a new pet. When visiting our adoption centre, it is a good idea to take along a copy of your lease, a letter from your landlord or owners corporation, along with their contact details.”