All About Pets

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Tips for city dwellers looking for the perfect pooch

Cats are considered great pets for city dwellers. Unlike dogs, cats don't bark, meaning apartment dwellers won't have to worry about upsetting their neighbors when cats want to grab their attention. Cats also can live indoors without needing to get any exercise in the backyards that many city residents simply don't have.

But some city dwellers, whether they're allergic to cats or simply people who prefer the company of dogs, insist on canines over felines. That's perfectly understandable, but city dwellers looking to add man's best friend to their living arrangements should consider a host of factors before bringing a dog home.

Size

City dwellers typically live in apartments or townhouses, and such living spaces are rarely as large as the private single-family homes found in the suburbs. Smaller living spaces can begin to feel cramped if a large dog is added to the equation, and large dogs may suffer both mentally and physically if they are not afforded lots of room to roam. Before bringing a dog home, men and women living in cities should consider how much space they have available for dogs, recognizing that the less space they have, the better off everyone, Fido included, might be with a smaller dog.

Demeanor

A dog's demeanor also must be a consideration for city dwellers thinking of bringing a dog into their homes. Cities are more crowded, so dogs that live in the city will be exposed to strangers and other dogs more often than dogs living in more remote and less crowded places. In addition, many city dwellers take their dogs to dog parks, where dogs will inevitably interact with other dogs. City dwellers should avoid dogs that are not comfortable around strangers or other dogs so they can reduce the risk of confrontation or other incidents.

Attention

City dwellers tend to spend less time at home than men and women who live in the suburbs, as one of the draws of city living is the accessibility of local culture, restaurants and attractions. So city dwellers looking for dogs should look for dogs that don't need excessive amounts of attention. But it's important that men and women who live in cities recognize that even the most independent dogs need daily attention. Men and women who can't give that attention should consider pets that require less of a time commitment.

So which dogs thrive in cities? Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to dogs and cities. Still, the following are a handful of breeds that might make great pets for city dwellers.

• Chihuahua: Chihuahuas sometimes have more fight in them than city dwellers would prefer, but socialization issues can typically be overcome early in the dog's life if its owners commit to helping the animal get along with other dogs. Chihuahuas tend to be laid back dogs that can happily handle apartment life, as their small stature does not require much space.

• Dachsund: Dachsunds are playful dogs that can easily adapt to small living spaces. Dachsunds can pack on the pounds rather quickly, so city dwellers who want dachsunds should be ready to take them for daily walks and monitor their eating habits.

• French bulldog: Small in stature, French bulldogs boast laid back temperaments, making them ideal for city dwellers looking for a dog to relax with at the end of the day as opposed to a dog who wants to play frisbee in the park. French bulldogs also tend to be affectionate, meaning they are unlikely to encounter problems on walks through the neighborhood.

• Pug: Pugs are affectionate dogs that like attention from their owners. They enjoy going on walks, but they also don't mind spending time indoors with their owners. Their size makes them ideal for apartments, as they don't take up much space. Apartment dwellers considering pugs should know that pugs are short-nosed dogs and can suffer from impaired breathing on hot days. That situation is easily remedied with air conditioning, which is a must for city-dwelling pug owners.

Dog loving city dwellers don't have to abandon their attempts at owning dogs just because their apartments are small and their neighbors are nearby. But it behooves both owner and dog for potential dog owners to do their homework before bringing dogs into their lives.