Big City, Little Pet - Pet Care in an Urban Environment

Big City, Little Pet - Pet Care in an Urban Environment

Life As A Pet Parent

It is possible to have a happy, healthy pet in the heart of the metropolis. Though some owners may believe their cat or dog would be happier in the wide-open spaces of a rural or semi-rural location, there are a surprising number of advantages to keeping a companion animal in a city. Whether you are looking to raise a new pet or move an old friend, read on for useful advice that addresses common misconceptions about keeping a pet in the city, and to hear helpful solutions that can help your pet overcome the challenges of life in a high-density population zone.

Misconception #1: Pets Prefer Wide Open Spaces

There’s no doubt that easy access to the outdoors is a huge bonus for many breeds of cat and dog, but not every animal requires access to open fields or even a large garden. Dog owners dream of letting their pet explore the pristine countryside free from restraints, but the fact is that many dogs would be just as happy exploring an urban park. Furthermore, open country spaces pose many real dangers and distractions to free-range pets, varying from wildlife and livestock to parasites. Toy breeds of dog especially benefit from being kept on the lead or close by their owners, as they are especially vulnerable to environmental threats. Tip: keep your dog happy by taking him to a dog-friendly park. If fully trained, you may even be able to let him off the lead so he can explore freely and safely. Cat owners may worry their cat will become stir-crazy if it is not allowed to roam. In fact, there are plenty of cats, especially those that are older or timid, who would much prefer to relax in a sunny spot near their home than go prowling around unknown territory. It’s a known fact that indoor cats on average live significantly longer lives than those allowed free run of their neighbourhood; and it’s also worth mentioning that free-range cats can cause damage to local wildlife populations and neighbouring properties. Conscientious owners should strongly consider keeping their cat close to home, in the town and country. Tip: a small, enclosed patio or urban garden provides a secure hangout for your cat, where he will be protected from cars and other potential sources of harm but can still enjoy fresh air.

Misconception #2: It’s very difficult to find pet-friendly housing in cities

There is a great deal of truth in this misconception, because there high demand for rental properties in most cities and property owners can afford to be choosy. Some landlords shun pet-owners as a matter of habit: they associate animals with mess, fleas, and noise disturbance. Others simply are simply forbidden to allow tenants to keep pets due to their own leasehold agreements. In the case of the latter, you will have to find alternative housing, but there are far more landlords than you might think who can be won over with a bit of convincing. Tip: brush up on your negotiation skills, as some landlords will be willing to consider a pet owner with stellar references and a willingness to put down a higher deposit. Spending more money on a flat in a high-rent area obviously isn’t ideal, but if you are responsible pet owner you should be able to recover the deposit in full at the end of your lease. Properties smack-dab in the middle of the city are less likely to be appropriate for keeping pets and may lead to more frequent landlord rejection – if at all possible, retreat to the roomier suburbs for bigger spaces and more flexible accommodation. Finally, always be upfront with your landlord or agent about the fact that your pet is non-negotiable. Never try to lie or sneak a pet if you are not permitted one in the lease as this can lead to the loss of your deposit in full and even eviction.

Misconception #3: Only small animals will be happy in urban accommodation

It’s easy to see why this idea has become so entrenched in the minds of many urbanites. For one, there just isn’t that much space to keep larger animals, and so small furries or fish may be the way to go for studio-dwellers. In most cases though, you’ll find that where there’s a will, there’s a way! If you’re looking to adopt your first cat or dog, know that there are many options to suit your pet’s individual needs and preferences. Tip: breed can make all the difference, so if choosing a purebred make sure you do your breed research. Of course, a Chihuahua is more likely to be happy with a 1-bedroom flat, whereas a Collie may not be impressed – but did you know that some larger dogs like Greyhounds are more than happy to get all their energy out in one go, then spend time indoors resting? And if you think cats are exempt, choosing an older, fully domesticated moggy may be a better idea than a Bengal kitten if you have a low number of square meters in your home.

Misconception #4: My pet will never forgive me if we downsize

Similar to misconception #3, this problem is more for pre-existing pets that are used to the country or a large suburban space. It can be heart wrenching and difficult to relocate an animal that has grown up in one type of environment or is accustomed to certain routines. However with a little care and love, you can help your pet adjust quickly. Tip: for owners stressing about their pet’s new lifestyle just remember that the most important factor in your pet’s happiness is you. If you set aside a certain amount of time to devote to reassuring and building new habits for your pet, he’s sure to adjust before you know it. Cities offer a myriad of options in terms of pet-sitting or walking services for dogs that cannot bear to be confined for long periods.

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