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The Best Of: Tips for Pet Owners

Here at MCLife, we love, love, LOVE pets!! In fact, most of our blogs have something to do with pets. So to make your life a little easier, we decided to compile all of our favorite pet tips and tricks for whenever you decide to get a pet, or need some help with your pet! Read on for more!

BEFORE YOU GET A PET:

Before you get a furry friend, make sure you ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have the time?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do your roommates want a pet, too?
  • Is your family a good fit?
  • Who will be the primary caretaker?
  • Are you allergic?
  • Does your lease allow pets? (Every MCLife property does FYI — no matter the weight, size or breed.)

Little Reminders: 

  • First Introductions: When your puppy arrives home, avoid getting on the floor to play. You need to establish dominance right away, so either sit on a chair and play or stand up and bend over. This won’t always be the way you have to interact with your puppy. This is just so they know who is the alpha. Be sure to introduce each member of the family, including the baby and any other pets to welcome them into the family. Express affection for the other family members and pets with physical contact so the puppy understands that they are part of the pack.
  • Size is Important: Avoid getting pets that are large or high energy! Smaller and more docile pets are best for apartment living.
  • Vaccines: Keeping your pet up to date on vaccinations is important no matter where you live. However, if you reside in an apartment, it’s even more important. Outdoor spaces are often shared with other pets and people. That shared space can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria for a pet. Keeping pets up to date on shots is better for everyone.

LIVING WITH PETS:

There’s plenty of things you should know about living with pets. Lucky for you, we’ve picked the most important and gathered them into a nice list below:

Schedules: Everyone knows that pets need some of your time. When you live in an apartment, this time needs to be used for exercise and play time. Make sure you set time aside for your pet every single day.

Neighbors: Being a kind neighbor is crucial in an apartment complex. When you have a pet, it’s even more important to be neighborly. Socialize your pet with other pets in the building as well as with other people. Approach introductions slowly to ensure the safety of everyone. Also, be aware that your pet may not like everyone and everything.

Dog Friendly Storage: When you have a dog, big or small, in the apartment it can be hard to store things in a way that they won’t get into. Make sure you keep tables, counters, and breakable items up and out of reach. You’d be surprised what one good tail wag can do to your vase of flowers! The best part is that this apartment hack doesn’t need any power tools. And when it comes to food: Use a new trash can or recycle bin in a cabinet or drawer to keep food accessible for you and out of reach for your dog!

ROOMIE DO’S AND DON’TS TO LIVING WITH A PET:  

  • Do: Define what you are responsible for
  • Do: Meet a pet before moving in
  • Don’t: Take on doggie discipline or training yourself
  • Do: Have an open conversation about pet problems

TRAINING YOUR FURRY FRIEND

Our favorite tips on training your pet! We broke it down for you so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

  • Many people can properly train and socialize their pets at home or with friends.
  • Seek professional training for your dog if you feel they are not responding to your own training methods.
  • Training can also help keep bored dogs busy, teach them which areas are theirs, what toys they can play with, and they’ll be able to have lots of fun while you are gone!
  • Depending on breed and your training habits, the training process may not be as long as you think. Dogs and puppies are creatures of habit and they easily form new ones. The trick is to form their habits before they have a chance to form bad ones. If you work with your puppy consistently, training should come faster.
  • Training your puppy actually begins before you even bring him home. Just as you would baby-proof the house for a new baby, you should set up your house ahead of time for a puppy. After that’s accomplished, your active puppy training will begin as soon as he comes through the door. The longer you wait to start training, you will have more bad habits to break.
  • Prep Your House for Training: Decide if you want to keep certain areas off-limits. If so install a baby gate or other obstacle so the puppy can’t go there. Over time, you’ll be able to take the gate down.
  • Set up the feeding area:  Ideally, this should be a mat (for spills), and two bowls. You’ll be able to direct your puppy to the eating area as soon as they come home.
  • Arrange the sleeping area: Think this through, because after the puppy sleeps there once, they’ll expect to be able to slumber there all the time.
  • Controlling the Chewing Habit: Just as babies explore the world with their mouths, so do puppies. Many dogs enjoy chewing rawhide well into adulthood. Chewing is good for a dog’s teeth, so you only need to control chewing on the wrong items. Whenever your puppy takes something inappropriate into its mouth, immediately correct him with your hand up and a firm “No” command while you simultaneously release the object.

House Training  vs. Potty Training: 

  • House: Living in an apartment with a pet means you may need to focus on house training. No one wants to travel multiple times a day to go outside for a potty break. House training will let you relax a bit more and not have to make the trips outside.
  • Potty: This is the most important training you can do to ensure a happy relationship with your new puppy. Lead them to the food bowl, allow them to eat, and then immediately bring them outside to the yard. Guide them to the area where you want them to evacuate. If you designate a specified area, it will help with training and cleanup afterward. Continue this behavior each time they eat or drink. Eventually, the puppy will grasp the concept.

OTHER TIPS AND TRICKS:

Here’s a whole bunch of other great tips and tricks that didn’t fit in any of the above categories! They include things like buying pet food, going to the dog park and other fun ways to entertain your pet!

  • Safe Plants:  You can check out a list of pet safe plants from the ASPCA. In order to set up a pet friendly living environment make sure that plants are securely planted in heavy bottom pots (add a brick or two) so that they can’t be knocked over easily when your pet gets excited!
  • Toys: Toys and other stimuli are important for keeping bored dogs busy. Just like a human brain, dogs need to be entertained. They need more sleep than humans but not so much more that they can stand to be alone without anything to do all day! Make sure you provide your pup with some interactive toys to keep them busy while you are away. Chew toys that do not have small pieces that can break off and cause choking are a good choice. Another option is to provide your dog with a stuffed Kong toy; they’ll get a little snack and retrieving it will keep them busy and free of boredom.
  • Healthcare: Dogs are like people, they need regular checkups and healthcare to live their best life. If you notice behavioral issues in your dog that are not corrected with exercise, socialization, or training, you might consider speaking with an experienced veterinarian. They can provide you with information on how to help your dog with major and minor help problems. 

Pet Food Hacks: 

  • Coupons: This is the easiest and probably most obvious way to save money on pet food and supplies. There are many online options now too! You can print, save, take a screen shot, even price matching is a great option at many retailers. I love using manufacturers coupons at my local Tractor Supply store. They carry my favorite brands of pet food and they always run sales and deals that I can combine with coupons from online, the newspaper, and even their own website. Many stores also offer price matching which is a great way to use a coupon AND get some extra off with the lowest price around on the same product.
  • Shop the Sales: Every store has sales at some point or another. Check the clearance section, wait for seasonal toys and treats to go on sale, etc. Shopping the sales can be an easy way to save money on pet food and supplies. Remember, pet food, like food for humans, has a shelf life; shelf life means that they can’t keep it stocked forever but it also means that it will go bad eventually. Shop the sales while still staying smart. Don’t stock up on something that is going to go bad before you can use it!
  • Auto Delivery | Online Shopping: Save money on pet food and supplies by shopping online. Things you use everyday can be set up for auto delivery from online retailers, not only do they have lower prices, they also offer convenience. No need to throw your back out buying 50 pounds of food for Fido! With the more expensive brands, online delivery and auto delivery can save you money. Try Amazon, or Chewy! They’re two great online auto ship options.

Dog Park Tips:

  • Know your dog’s health
  • Behavior watch: How does your dog do with other dogs?
  • Don’t bring an over excited dog to the park
  • Put your phone away
  • Leave toys and treats at home

All of our favorite pet tips and tricks for you to look at whenever you need some help! Let us know which are your favorites and if you have any you’d like to add!

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