An estimated one-third of all high-rise condominium dwellers have pets. With the increasing trend toward high-rise urban living, choosing the right pet for your home, or the right home for your pet, offers new challenges.
In conjunction with Axis, downtown San Jose’s luxury high-rise condos, the Humane Society of Silicon Valley has developed the following:
TOP 10 TIPS FOR URBAN PET OWNERS:
1. Pick the right companion for your lifestyle and work schedule.
If you work long hours or travel a lot, don’t get a high-energy dog that needs several hours of exercise every day.
2. Choose the right breed for your home.
Examples of dog breeds you should most likely avoid adopting if you live in a condo or apartment without a yard: large sporting breeds (vizsla, pointer, Lab), giant breeds (great Dane, St. Bernard) and young large breeds (shepherd) that need lots of exercise. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it work if you want to. Just think about it carefully first.
3. If you’re shopping for a new place to live, pay attention to pet-friendly amenities.
Look for nearby dog parks, pet-friendly cafes, vet offices, groomers, doggie daycare and pet stores.
4. Get involved locally.
Think about joining a dog group to keep your pooch healthy, happy and socialized (e.g. http://www.societydog.com). Find out what the two of you like to do best together, then sign up for a class together to learn something new and meet new friends, both canine and human.
5. Be a considerate neighbor, and build community.
Start talking to your closest neighbors, as they can become great resources for you. Offer to check in on their pets while they’re gone, if they can do the same for you. Offer to walk their dog with yours (assuming they get along), if they can return the favor.
6. Train your dog to show proper etiquette.
Make an effort to have your companion know how to greet new people and behave in public, especially if you use an elevator often. No one likes a dog that lunges, barks, or jumps on them. teach your pet to “sit,” “heel,” and “stay.” It will help you both to get along with your condo neighbors.
7. Keep your pet active and healthy.
Try to spend at least 30-60 minutes in physical activity with your pet twice a day. Physical exercise and the opportunity to socialize and play are all necessary daily requirements for an animal companion to stay well. Give your pet another reason to ride in the car that doesn’t result in a trip to the vet. Drive to the redwoods, go take a run along the beach.
And remember: Dogs are great at getting us outside, but cats and rabbits can play, too.
No matter what the breed, size, age, or type of animal, quality nutrition should always be a priority. The number one medical problem faced by today’s pets is obesity. Establishing healthy habits and finding a good diet are essential for a long and healthy life. (More at http://www.whole-dog-journal.com)
8. Understand the signs of boredom or anxiety.
If your pet becomes destructive, or has “accidents,” these can be early signs of separation anxiety. To help your pets be alone, provide games, stimulation and appropriate toys to chew. Try offering a variety of games, toys, TV, radio, or breaks during the day. Leaving a TV or the radio on can help reduce low levels of anxiety when tuned to classical music. You might also consider hiring a dog walker or sitter to come in and play and provide a bathroom break. You can also take your pet to doggie daycare.
9. Purchase appropriate equipment for your living area.
Cat trees don’t take up a lot of floor space and are a great way to make sure your cat is exercised and entertained. Cat boxes have many options these days where they are easily camouflaged. Clean the cat box regularly and frequently to avoid bad odors in your condo. Dog or cat beds help keep hair off the furniture.
10. Friends are for life.
Our animal companions are social beings who need like-minded friends for support and learning. Everyone needs a true friend to laugh with, play with and just give you a hug when you need it most … and our pets need it too!
The above list is courtesy of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley (http://www.hssv.org), modified for Axis luxury condos (http://www.axissanjose.com), with a few little tweaks, twists and turns added by me (http://www.contracostatimes.com/garybogue). Have fun!
Any other suggestions? Please add your comments below. /Gary