Can Dogs Live in Flats?

There’s a common misconception that dogs can’t and shouldn’t live in flats. Often this is assumed based on the idea that by living in an apartment you don’t have access to outdoor space so it’s unfair to have a dog. Of course, this isn’t strictly true. However, there are a few things you need to carefully consider before moving into a flat with your dog. Luckily, our colleague Hattie has lived in a flat with her two spaniels since 2020 (including all throughout the pandemic) and has also recently welcomed a new puppy into the crew. In this post she’ll be answering the ultimate question; can dogs live in flats?

Check Your Paperwork

Ultimately the answer to can dogs live in flats is never going to be black and white. It comes down to individual circumstances and experiences, like most aspects of dog ownership. In order to find out more specifically for your situation, you’ll need to dive into your paperwork. Whether that’s your building’s deeds, management company’s contract, rental contract with your landlord or your leasehold – you should be able to find information regarding pets somewhere!

Unfortunately if your building explicitly states that it’s not dog or pet friendly, you won’t be able to have animals in your apartment. Likewise if you live in a pet friendly complex but your landlord stipulates you can’t have them, unfortunately it’s likely a no. However, it’s worth remembering that in the UK, current rental laws are set to change, specifically in favour of tenants who have pets. Even if your building does welcome animals, you’ll need to double check the fine print for any details on types of pet (some won’t allow exotics for example) as well as any restrictions on the number of animals you can have.

Scope Out Your Local Outdoor Spaces

As we previously mentioned, outdoor space can come at a premium when you’re living the high rise life. If you’re planning to live in a flat with dogs, it’s important to properly scope out your local outdoor spaces to figure out where you can walk them. Ideally you’ll need to find somewhere walking distance where you can take them for regular toilet breaks throughout the day. You may even have access to a communal outdoor space, as part of your apartment complex. However you’ll need to double check whether pets are allowed in those areas, especially if they’re shared with families with young children!

It’s also good to find a few different walks on your doorstep. If your flat is based in a city, you’ll likely have parks to take advantage of. Being based in Plymouth, we’re lucky to also have the beach right on our doorstep. However, you can also check the rules with your local public transport companies and make the most of their network to access a wider variety of outdoor spaces for you and your dog. Fortunately buses and trains across the country are dog friendly, so long as they’re well behaved and taking public transport regularly provides plenty of stimulation and training opportunities for your pup.

Consider Any Extra Training Requirements

Consider any additional training they’ll need in order to thrive in apartment life. Things like getting them accustomed to lifts or stairs with gaps through the centre. If you have a balcony, you’ll need to spend time training your dog how to behave appropriately. The last thing you want is for them to accidentally jump off, or start reactively barking at dogs they spot on the street!

One of the benefits Hattie has found from living in a flat with dogs, is that there is no direct access to the front door at street level. Therefore, the dogs don’t bark whenever someone knocks. While there are other dogs in the building, they rarely see one another nor wind each other up. So there are plenty of benefits, as well as some drawbacks to dogs living in flats.

Find Space Saving Furniture

Once you move in to your new flat, it can be tempting to rush out and buy as much furniture as possible to fill it! From Hattie’s experience, this isn’t always the best option. Especially if you’re working with a tight floor plan. Storage options can also be limited in a flat. So you have to be strategic when it comes to curating your furniture and interiors. Choosing pieces that have multiple purposes will save you space – as well as money in the long run! Desks with integrated drawers or extending tables are great options when space is limited.

The same goes for your dog’s belongings too. Hattie uses her pups’ crate and food storage unit as side tables for her sofa, saving her from having to purchase and store additional items in the flat. This also frees up floor space, which is important to keep clear when you have dogs. After all, they need their own space to play and lounge in too!

Invest in Tools to Keep Your Space Clean

One of the downsides to living in a flat with dogs is that it’s trickier to keep it clean. Even more so after wet and muddy walks in winter! Whereas in a house you can utilise the garden while you wash your dogs, in a flat you don’t have the same luxury. Fortunately Hattie has found a range of tools and techniques to help make apartment life more efficient with her three pups.

Firstly, she recommends getting drying robes or fleece suits for your dogs. They mean you don’t need to worry about manually using a towel to dry your dogs after walks. They also have a portable shower in the back of the car, so Hattie can rinse the dogs down before they get home. Swapping to easy care/washable paint has also helped keep mud and nose prints off the walls (using darker statement colours also helps with this one!) Finally, a strong and reliable hoover is your best friend when you live with dogs. Regardless whether you’re in a flat or a house!


What do you think, can dogs live in flats? Have you ever lived with a dog in an apartment before?

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