Are you one of the 90% of renters who have a pet? According to Apartments.com, which conducted a survey of over 1,000 renters across the United States, most of us already own a beloved pet or are considering getting one in the future. But when apartments offer a limited indoor space, living with pets does present some challenges. Luckily, there are many ways to make your space more comfortable and stress-free — for you and them!

#1 Cut Down on the Pet Odors

Living with pets can bring certain funky odors with it. It’s just a part of pet ownership. But when you live in a compact apartment and one where neighbors are separated by only a wall and hallway, then it’s good to be mindful of pet odors. Many owners love the smell of their pets so much they don’t even realize it smells bad to others. So, whether you plan to have guests over or for the benefit of fellow neighbors, light some candles to banish away those wet dog or kitty litter odors. If you prefer your home smelling fresh and clean from the moment you walk through the door, then choose something like a Pura Smart home diffuser that allows you to control the scent levels directly from an app. You can turn it on before you arrive home so you’re greeted by Fido and a lovely scent. If you want to keep a flame-less apartment with a rowdy puppy around, then check out the New Home reed diffuser, too, flipping the reeds as needed.

#2 Create a Routine or Space for Their Potty Breaks

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When choosing an apartment, pet owners should be mindful of nearby accessible parks or areas where they can take a puppy or dog out for a quick potty break. Crate training is another option. For pet owners of smaller dogs, you can get away with a puppy pad tucked inside an unfrequented corner of the apartment. In the main, however, you want to establish a routine, taking them for a walk at the same time each day so they can take care of their business.

Cat owners have it a bit easier. They don’t have to take their feline companions outside to do their business; cats simply go in a litter box. However, there are some things to keep in mind here too. For starters, like the puppy pads, it’s best to keep a litter box hidden away. Somewhere like a guest bathroom (until guests pay a visit), home office or behind a chair in the living room are all great places to keep a litter box. Also, consider using an enclosed litter box to cut down on the smells and litter particles and dust that come with the territory.

#3 Designate an Area for Their Bed and Toys

When living in a small apartment with pets, make sure they have a space to get away where they feel comfortable. For skittish dogs that prefer the quiet, place their bed in a spot behind a chair or somewhere they can retreat to when they are nervous. For bigger dogs that need a huge bed, place it in a space near the sofa or bed where they can feel close to you. While cats will claim any space as a bed, they tend to appreciate soft fleeces and faux fur blankets.

In fact, you might want to think about designating a space for their toys too. Actually, this tip is more about keeping your apartment tidy and preventing a foot from landing on a sharp or slobbery toy in the middle of the night. Gather up their toys and keep them inside a low basket next to their bed. This way, they can grab a toy to play with while you’re away during the day or simply bring it to you when they wish to play.

#4 Decorate Your Apartment with Your Pet in Mind

A good pet owner will take the proper steps to train their dog or cat. However, accidents can and will happen. Dogs can pee on the carpet during stressful situations and cats can scratch upholstery when you’re not even looking. So, as you decorate your apartment, consider ways to make it more pet-friendly. For example, you may want to consider laying down an affordable synthetic rug that can be spot-treated effortlessly or replaced. The same tip applies to upholsteries and textiles. Make sure the material is relatively durable and can withstand a dog’s toenails or cats claws. Leather materials and wood flooring can get scratched up and marred. In general, avoid expensive decor pieces if you can, and remember to keep special or valuable items out of reach from your pet.

#5 Give Them Plenty of Exercise and Attention

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For apartment-dwelling pets who live in a confined space, it’s especially important to give them the exercise they need. Smaller pets do well in apartments. However, certain high-energy dog breeds need to run and play. Without proper exercise, they can even develop underlying behavioral issues like anxiety. So schedule and designate a time to take them to a dog park so they can let loose. It’s a great way to bond with your pet too.

Even cats who seem content to laze about all day need to spend some energy from time to time. If you are away from the apartment during the day, get them a few toys to occupy their time, along with some catnip-filled plushies and a tall cat tree for a jungle gym. And while cats seem pretty independent, they, too, crave our love and affection, so pick up a feathered wand and give them the attention they need. Pets bring a lot of joy into our lives, so don’t think that pets and apartments don’t mix. With the right precautions and strategies, your pet will adapt to your new apartment in no time. Try any of these tips, and they will feel right at home.

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