Living in an apartment or condo doesn’t mean you have to wait to adopt a pet. Cats, dogs, and other pets can thrive in smaller settings — it just takes some extra preparation and care, especially in the case of dogs. Here are some pet safety tips for small-space dwellers keen on adopting a pet:


#1 Cabinets and shelves are easy access.

If you’re away for an extended period of time, your pet may do some exploring. Keep cabinets and shelves firmly closed. Cats are especially good at climbing and using their paws to open things, so store anything dangerous behind a childproof cabinet. Also install childproof locks (about $460) in cabinets near the floor — or train your dogs to stay away from them.


#2 Your houseplants could be dangerous.

If you have plants around your apartment or house, be aware that some are poisonous to cats and dogs. Some examples include:

  • Poinsettias
  • Hyacinth
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils


If you have hazardous plants in your home, place them out of your pet’s reach. Or, better yet, donate them to a petless, green-thumbed friend.


#3 Balconies are a major hazard.

Apartment and condo balconies weren’t designed with animals in mind; it’s easy for a cat or small dog to fall through. Keep a close eye on your pets at all times when out on the balcony. Or, keep them off the balcony altogether. You can also install plastic garden fencing or clear acrylic sheets around the balcony, though you should check with your landlord to make sure it’s okay first.


#4 Safety features aren’t just for kids.

Depending on the layout of your space, there may be additional hazards for your pets. A fall down the stairs, for example, may result in a broken bone. Use a safety gate to keep them from falling. Other safety features to consider include:

  • Electrical outlet guards
  • Power cord protectors
  • Rubber table or countertop edge guard


#5 Exercising is a must.

Because of the limited space in apartments and condos, your animals can’t exercise as much as they could if they had a yard. While cats can make the most of any space and should be indoor-only animals, dogs need a bit more help. Schedule time into your day to exercise them. They could need anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour every day to get their energy out. This doesn’t include playtime with toys. Think about a minimum of two walks per day, even for small breed dogs.


#6 House train your pet!

House training is an absolute necessity when living in an apartment or condo, especially if you’re on an upper floor. House training a cat can be relatively simple, as long as they take to the litter box. Dogs are a bit harder, although training works well when you use a crate. There will be accidents along the way, but once they get it down, you and your pet will enjoy a solid routine. Then you can spend more time playing and less time cleaning up soiled carpets (here are some tips on cleaning those up too).


Written contribution by Andrea Davis, Home Advisor.