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How To Take Care Of A Big Dog In An Apartment

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs can live happily in apartments as long as they receive enough exercise, attention, and love.
  • Check if your apartment allows dogs, as some have weight limits and breed restrictions.
  • Create a safe space for your dog in the apartment and keep harmful substances out of reach.
  • Provide your dog with a comfortable bed, food and water bowls, and necessary toys.
  • Give your dog plenty of affection and attention, and engage in outdoor activities together.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Highly educated researcher and DVM with extensive experience in Clinical VetMedicine, Veterinary Nano Medicine, and Preventive Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Saturday 11 November 2023
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
How To Take Care Of A Big Dog In An Apartment
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When you think of a dog’s ideal home, you probably envision a large house with a fenced yard. But what about living in an apartment? Many people would not want to bring a dog home to an apartment because it’s usually smaller and does need more space for dog walking. But your dog can live a happy and healthy life in an apartment! Continue reading to learn how to care for your dog in an apartment.

How to Take Good Care of Big Dogs in an Apartment

Many people might tell you keeping an active large breed in an apartment is wrong. But in reality, they are well-behaved when provided with enough exercise, attention, and love. How much and how well you spend time with your dog is much more important than how big your house or yard is. 

Big dogs can be good apartment pets if you know how to live with them. Here are some ways owners of big dogs can take care of them in an apartment:

Make Sure the Apartment Allows Dogs

A survey found 83% of renters had difficulty finding a pet-friendly apartment. Before you bring a big dog home, check your building’s rules on pets and ensure that your apartment is okay with large dogs. Many buildings that allow dogs have weight limits. Because of their weight, many great dogs with low energy levels can not enter certain buildings because of these rules.

Ensure Training and Routine

For example, you can take your dog out to the bathroom around the same time every day. By doing this, you can train your dog to expect to be taken out at that time. This will help reduce accidents in your home, which is good.

You can also set up routines for feeding, playtime, walks, and other things. Make a schedule that works with your responsibilities so you can stick to it long-term!

Make the Apartment Dog-safe

The average apartment contains items that could endanger a dog’s life. Medicines and essential oils, for example, can be harmful to dogs. Like many other foods humans consume, chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Small toys can also be a choking hazard for dogs.

That is why keeping everything that could harm your dog out of its reach is important. To keep your dog away from dangerous substances, consider using cabinet locks. Use baby gates to keep him out of areas you do not want him in while you are gone.

Following these simple steps can greatly reduce the chances of harm to your dog while living in an apartment. Accidents happen, so keep a first aid kit on hand for your dog so you can act quickly if necessary!

Prepare a Comfy Space

Just because you live in an apartment does not mean your large dog has to be cramped and uncomfortable. Create a welcoming environment for your dog in your apartment by including a dog bed or pillow, a food bowl, and a water bowl. These are just the essentials; you could also include blankets, extra pillows, and toys.

If you decide to put some toys in your dog’s designated space, keep an eye on him at all times. This will help prevent your dog from choking on a piece of the toy.

Provide Affection and Attention

While your large dog requires plenty of exercise outside your apartment, remember to pay attention to it at home. Dogs are social creatures who thrive when they feel connected to their human. You can help strengthen the bond between you and your dog by playing tug-of-war, cuddling on the couch, petting it, and giving it tasty treats. These small gestures can greatly impact your dog’s happiness, so pay attention to your dog whenever you can.

Do Some Outdoor Activities

When you add a dog to your family, be prepared to take them outside for walks and other physical activities. In an apartment, it is essential to get your dogs out in large outdoor areas where they can run freely.

So, how much exercise should a dog get? There is no definitive answer because a dog’s breed, age, and health all play a role. Aim for at least 30 minutes of outdoor physical activity for your indoor dogs daily, but consult with your vet about your dog’s specific needs.

A simple way to accomplish this is to go to an open field and play fetch. You can up your fetch game by using specially designed toys, such as the Nerf dog tennis ball blaster, which launches the ball 50 feet in the air.

Be Extra Patient With Your Dog

An unwanted scenario can happen even when you always take your dog for a walk. You might come home to an odorous puddle on the floor or find your pillows ripped.

Even though these situations can be stressful and upsetting, remain patient with your dog. It might be acting up because it does not get enough mental stimulation, or it could be one of those rare times when your dog acts up for no apparent reason.

Dogs can be hard to train, but they usually want to please their owner. It would help if you punished your dog when necessary and tried to figure out why it was acting up. Finding a good solution will likely be easier if you find the cause.

Keep Their Things in Order

A large dog necessitates many larger items, including dog beds, crates, toys, bowls, and more! You do not have to be a minimalist to be organized.

Keep big-dog clutter at bay by rotating your dog’s toys in and out of closet storage. Your dog will be thrilled with the “new” toys, and you will not be tripping over squeaky balls in the middle of the night. Invest in visually appealing beds and crates so your dog’s furniture will be a focal point in a small apartment.

Make Sure They Are Entertained

Keeping a dog entertained and content in a cramped apartment can be difficult, but having plenty of toys can help. This is especially helpful if you work from home and must keep your dog out of your way.

Treat-hiding toys or hide-and-seek reward toys are two examples of interactive toys that can help keep your dog occupied and out of mischief if you need to.

Know your Lifestyle Before Getting a Dog

It is important to consider your lifestyle before getting a dog, no matter how big your home is. Do you like to have drinks with friends after work? Do you binge-watch the latest TV show all weekend, or do you prefer to go out and go shopping? Choose a dog whose energy level fits with how you live. 

All dogs need to be trained, paid attention to, and get both physical and mental exercise. If you are not home often, save money for doggie daycare or dog walkers, or consider whether now is the right time to get a dog.

Not every big dog should live in an apartment, but there are times when they can also do well. It is all about finding the right dog and having the time to give it a good life inside and outside the apartment.

What Dog Breeds to Get When You Live in an Apartment? 

Although it is commonly thought that large dogs would benefit from daily walks and a sizable yard, some giant breeds are actually couch potatoes. Here are some large dog breeds that make good apartment pets:

Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is known as the “King of Dogs” because they act like royalty but can also be silly clowns. It is a big breed of dog that may look cold and distant, but they are loving, sensitive, and loyal. Most of the time, they are calm dogs that like to play. This makes them perfect pets for an apartment.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Though they may look frightening initially, these dogs are loyal, affectionate, and good-natured. They are easy to train, but discipline needs consistency because they are smart. It would be best if you were both firm and kind when training. These dogs are small enough to live in an apartment or city home but need a lot of exercises.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain dog is known for being smart, sensitive, friendly, and gentle. Training must be done calmly but firmly, like any other big dog breed. It should also be socialized well from an early age so it can grow up to get along with other animals and humans. However, they can be hard to move around in small spaces because of their size. But you can still consider living with them in an apartment because of their attitude.


The Boxer can be quite calm in some situations and very energetic in others. Still, the Boxer could be a good choice if you want a short-coated companion with a good size and weight compromise. They are highly intelligent dog breeds but sometimes have difficulty adapting to new environments. Boxers can live comfortably in a small apartment with the right physical and mental activity.


The Bullmastiff is a very gentle and loving dog breed. Like other Mastiffs, these dogs are unsuitable for those who enjoy calm and peaceful walks twice or thrice daily. Bullmastiffs prefer to relax and unwind at home. They can be great apartment dogs if they do not bark much and get daily walks.

English Mastiff

Because the English Mastiff is one of the heaviest dog breeds, their exercise requirements are manageable. However, you must still provide them with exercise through long walks and mental stimulation. They make excellent family dogs and can live in an apartment if you have the space.

Great Dane

The Great Dane is a large, noble dog called a “gentle giant.” The breed does well in urban environments because they are low-energy, trustworthy, and friendly. Undoubtedly, the Great Dane is one of the best large dogs for small spaces.


Even though Greyhounds are known for racing, they make excellent apartment dogs because they are quiet and independent. They love to move around more than they need to, but they also enjoy long naps and cuddling up with you on the couch. However, it would help if you did not let them sit around all day doing nothing; their exercise needs can be met with a few short walks.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are a breed of dog that is friendly, calm, and gentle. They love to be with their families and are very patient with kids. These dogs require a moderate amount of exercise every day. However, they need to work out often to avoid boredom. Although they are big dogs, they do well in apartments if given the necessary time, training, and exercise.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a popular choice for families across the United States and worldwide. If you are willing to train your dog and spend time exercising him, the Goldie is a great choice if you live in one of the busier areas.

How To Take Care Of A Big Dog In An Apartment: FAQs 

If you have questions about how to care for a large dog in an apartment, see our Frequently Asked Questions section. If you are considering what breeds are best for apartment living, ask your friends or other dog owners about their experiences.

Is it OK to have a large dog in an apartment?

Large dogs with a lot of energy are not suitable for apartment living. Mellowness is one sign that a large dog will do well in an apartment. Dog breeds that are naturally loud will probably not do well in an apartment, or you will receive a lot of flak for your dog.

How can I exercise my big dog in my apartment?

While your large dog requires plenty of exercise outside the apartment, remember to pay attention to it while you are also at home. Play tug-o-war or wrestle with it on the couch; cuddle up with your pet and give it some tasty treats.

Can a big dog live in a small apartment?

Living with a large dog in a small apartment can be hard, but it is possible and might even be good for the dog and his people. If trained and cared for properly, big dogs can be great companions in small spaces like apartments.

What is the maximum weight for a dog in an apartment?

Aside from being aware of which dog breeds are commonly prohibited in apartment buildings, another wall is weight restrictions. Typically, renters are restricted to a weight range of 20 to 50 pounds.

How long can a big dog stay home alone?

Adult dogs over 18 months can be left alone at home for up to 8 hours. They are likely used to being alone at home and will lie down and sleep until you return.

Large dogs and small apartments don’t have to be an “either-or” situation. It’s about what you can give your dog regarding physical space, mental stimulation, and love and ensuring that your choices allow you to do this. Dogs are adaptable, and our guardians are responsible for learning how to best adapt with them.

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