1st Feb 2020 @ 6:00 am

Sharing a small space with a pet is a pleasure for many of us, but it requires planning and a few sacrifices.

The ideal place for a dog or a cat to live is a large rural property with plenty of room for them to run free. Unfortunately, we don’t all live on big rural properties, and there are so many animals in desperate need of any home at all that we can’t afford to be fussy. So here’s how to share your smaller apartment with a furry friend.

Dogs can live in apartments, but generally, the larger the dog is, the more problematic it’s going to be. Large, active breeds found on Lanzarote such as Podencos and Presas Canarios need a lot of exercise and space, and a small apartment is not ideal for them. Having said that, more placid, low-energy breeds can find apartment life suitable.

Smaller breeds are better suited for apartment living, and perhaps the most important thing you can do for your pooch is to provide a strict routine, with at least two walkies a day and meals at fixed times. This will allow the dog to adapt its body clock, and save you from nasty surprises.

Apartments will also bring your dog into contact with other people and perhaps dogs. This can be positive or negative – dogs are friendly, social animals, but can also be territorial and noisy.

Cats are far more suited to apartment life, but it’s a good idea to keep them occupied, too. Install some places where they can jump up to heights; buy a scratching post – even a cardboard box can delight a cat.

If you live near traffic, then you may be worried about letting your cat out. Keeping a cat indoors is fine as long as you stick to it, and the cat isn’t already used to hunting or outdoor survival. That’s why rescued feral cats aren’t always ideal for this.

Also remember that cat and dog hair means your home is unlikely to ever be the sort of gleaming, tidy place you see in magazines. Animals moult less in the Canarian climate, but the more creatures live in your apartment, the more lived-in it’s going to look.

Whether it’s a dog or a cat, remember that the time you give to your pet is hugely valuable. These are social animals, and any time spent with them is quality time, for them and for you.