9 Ways to Keep Your Pets Happy and Healthy in Your Santa Clara Apartment

August 17, 2018

Often, we don’t see our pets as just animals roaming our home – we see them as irreplaceable members of our family.

And with that kind of relationship comes a lot of responsibility. No matter what kind of pet you have, it’s important to take steps that will ensure it can be happy and healthy while living in your Santa Clara apartment.

Fortunately, just about any pet can happily coexist with you in an apartment – even if the space is small. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips for a happy and healthy apartment life with your furry friend!

1.     Make sure your pets get the exercise they need

If you have a cat or a tiny dog, exercise may not be a huge deal.

Often, playing with your cat for 10-15 minutes is going to be enough exercise to help them keep their mind alert and stay in good physical shape. You can pick up some cat toys at a local pet store to help with this.

And tiny dogs (like Chihuahuas, for example) can typically get plenty of exercise playing fetch inside your apartment – even if it’s a small space. All you need is a small rope or ball to throw!

But if you have a large dog, simply hanging out in your apartment isn’t going to be enough. They need to get plenty of exercise outside of the apartment to stay healthy and happy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Visit a local dog park – If your dog is friendly, it’ll love the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and run free in a large space.
  • Go for a morning run – This is great exercise for your dog and you!
  • Hire a dog walker/sitter – If you’re always busy with work or spend a lot of time away from home, hire someone to walk your dog and/or take them to get the exercise they need.

There are lots of other options, like enrolling your dog in a class, taking your dog hiking, and playing with a Frisbee at a local park near your Santa Clara apartments. Think of a few activities you’d like to try, and start planning!

2.     Create a comfy space

Your home is your pet’s home too! And chances are, they spend a lot more time in your apartment than you do. That’s why it’s so important to create a cozy space where they can rest and eat.

Your pet space depends on the kind of pet you have, but here are a few general ideas:

  • Small dog – Get an exercise pen with plenty of space for a comfy pet bed and your dog’s food and water bowls. That way, they don’t have to be confined to a small crate.
  • Cat – Get a cat house/bed for your cat to rest in, and consider putting a cat tree nearby if your cat is playful/active.
  • Large dog – Get a large pet bed/cushion your dog can rest comfortably on. If you must, get a large crate for your dog. But if you can, house-train your large dog so it can roam freely when you’re away from home and avoid being confined to a crate for long periods of time.

Even a simple pet bed can go a long way in making your dog feel like family. And a dog who feels like family is going to be a lot happier in the long run!

3.     Stick to a routine 

Don’t worry – you don’t need to create a super strict schedule and adhere to it no matter what. But it is a good idea to create regular schedules for certain tasks like:

  • Feeding your pets
  • Walking your pets
  • Exercising with your pets

By creating routines, you can teach your pets when to expect certain events to happen. This can be especially important with dogs – there’s a good chance they’ll feel stressed and anxious less frequently if they have a consistent routine. 

4.     Train your pets

You may not have the time or desire to train your pets to the point where they know tons of tricks. And that level of training may not even be necessary.

But you can certainly train your dog to sit, stay, go to the bathroom outside, and walk next to you. And you can train your cat to use their litter box.

Not only will this basic training help you build a stronger relationship with your pet – it’ll help you keep your pet safe and healthy.

Plus, potty training your pet will help you avoid dealing with frequent accidents, which is always a good thing. Because let’s face it – no one wants to live in a smelly apartment!

5.     Socialize your dog 

A dog that has not been socialized is far more likely to be fearful, cause problems during vet visits, and experience other problems.

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to socialize your dog – it can take some time to pull off, but it’s time well-spent because it keeps your dog happy and encourages healthy interactions with humans and other dogs.

Here are some tips for socializing your dog:

  • Take your dog to a dog park.
  • Take your dog on long walks.
  • Take your dog to the pet store.

In each of these situations, your dog will likely be exposed to other humans as well as other dogs. And when your dog has a positive experience meeting other humans/dogs, it’ll be one step closer to being completely socialized. 

6.     Pet-proof your apartment

Household pets are often curious creatures, and it only takes a couple seconds of unsupervised play for them to get into something that could harm their health.

Since it’s unrealistic to watch your pet every second of every day, take steps to pet-proof your apartment, including:

  • Get rid of plants that are toxic to your pets (hyacinth, philodendron, etc.)
  • Keep harmful household items out of reach (potpourri oils, coffee grounds, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, etc.)
  • Keep the toilet lid closed
  • Use childproof latches to keep pets out of medicine cabinets and away from any other harmful substances
  • Place any dangling wires out of reach
  • Make sure all knickknacks that could cause your pets to choke (like small children’s toys) are kept out of reach
  • Secure your TV and other large items so they don’t fall on your pet if knocked off a shelf 

Research to determine which substances could harm your pet, and get rid of (or lock away) anything that falls on that list.

Also, make sure you look out for any symptoms of poisoning in case your pet ingests something that is harmful. That way, you can rush them to the vet if you need to. And always keep an emergency phone number for the vet handy so you can act fast!

Speaking of the vet…

7.     Take your pets to the vet regularly

This seems like a no-brainer, but really stop and ask yourself this question:

When is the last time I took my pet to the vet?

As life gets busy, taking your pet to the vet can easily become one of those tasks you have on your to-do list but forget to actually take care of.

Send yourself a reminder or add regular vet visits to your calendar – whatever you need to do to ensure you pet gets regular visits.

As far as frequency of vet visits required, that depends on the type of pet you have and the pet’s age.

Your vet will be able to tell you how often you need to bring your pet in for a check-up or vaccinations. Follow the vet’s recommended schedule and keep your pet up-to-date on any necessary vaccinations.

Also, make sure you’re well-prepared for each visit. For example, if you have an anxious pet, you may need to walk them before their vet visit so they can release some of their nervous energy. And you should definitely put all cats in a carrier and all dogs on a leash. 

8.     Make time for your pets every day

Your pets may just be one part of your life, but you are a huge part of your pet’s life. This is especially true with dogs because they often require a significant amount of love and affection from humans to grow up happy and healthy.

So, try to make time for your pets every single day. Even on busy days, chances are, you can afford to spend a few minutes playing fetch or hanging out on the couch with your pet.

And that applies to cat owners too, because even grumpy cats appreciate quality time with their favorite human on occasion!

9.     Be patient!

Let’s face it – no matter how well-trained your pet is, accidents will happen. Your pet will do things that upset you on occasion, and in those moments, it’s best to practice patience and remember that things will get easier.

Because as long as you take care of your pet and make an effort to train it, its behavior is sure to improve over time.