Words by Margarita Buenaventura / Photos by Ina Jacobe
As cute as dogs are, owning one in a condo isn’t all petting and playtime. More so for puppies that need to be cared for 24/7; much like babies, there will be tears and pee everywhere. A smaller living space, building rules, and the lack of easy outside access make it a challenge to raise your four-footed friend.
But for the sheer happiness on a dog’s face when it welcomes you home, it’s all worth it. And with a little patience and a whole lot of lovin’, you can turn your 53 Benitez space into a happy puppy’s home. To quell any new parenting fears, THE START gets puppy parenting pointers from Dr. Fara Policarpio of Beterinaryo sa Fort Animal Clinic. Dr. Fara gives us the lowdown, from potty training and house-breaking to the dog breeds that most agree with condo living (you’d be surprised).
1. Know what kinds of dogs agree with your home and lifestyle. “Of course, when you think of a dog in a condo, you consider its size, so you would want to get smaller dogs like chihuahuas,” says Dr. Fara. “You can also get shih tzus—they’re very ideal for condo living. But you can also consider the lifestyle of the breed. Bulldogs are very lazy dogs. Great danes are extra-large breeds, but they’re very lazy. So these breeds can be domesticated into living in condos.”
2. Get your puppy gear ready. “Before you bring home your puppy, make sure you have the basic things already,” Dr. Fara says. She lists down the proper bedding for a pup, food, bathing supplies, and of course, cleaning paraphernalia for any pee and poo accidents. While Halloween costumes aren’t deemed necessary, she adds that it also helps to have the right clothing, if necessary, to keep your pup comfortable in changing temperatures.
3. Make sure that your pup thinks of your home as a safe and happy place. “Think of it as being adopted into a new home,” says Dr. Fara. She says that puppies are highly stressed when they’re introduced to new environments, so it’s important to show them that their new homes are safe places. “Dogs are very sensitive to smells. Let them explore and gradually show them the places where they will sleep, eat, and poo.”
4. Potty train as soon as you can. It’s only natural for your pup to poo and pee in the most inconvenient places, but training them to do so is not impossible. “Dogs typically poo or pee 15 to 20 minutes after eating, so it’s easier for you to take them to the right place,” says Dr. Fara. “So if you want your puppy to keep pooing or peeing in a certain place, you can actually wait for them to do it where you want, and keep rewarding them for doing so.”
5. Puppies need exercise, but not too much. “Of course, you want to keep playing with your puppy, but remember, they’re still babies,” reminds Dr. Fara. “You can play with them for 15 minutes to one hour per day as exercise, then let them rest. Puppies should sleep for about 12 to 16 hours a day.” Dr. Fara adds that too much exercise for puppies can lead to joint and muscle pains in the future, so best to limit it as early as their infancy.
6. Vaccines need to be complete before puppies can be let out of the house. Ideally, the best time to take puppies out for a walk or to socialize with other dogs is after their vaccination programs have been completed. “A vet might also recommend additional vaccines, depending on the lifestyle of the dog and the owner,” adds Dr. Fara. “So it’s best that you discuss that first with the vet before letting your puppy out of the house.”
7. Make sure you have people who can help you out. Puppies are extremely dependent on their caretakers, so leaving them alone would not be ideal. “Dogs aren’t like cats,” explains Dr. Fara. “Cats can ration their food and basically take care of themselves. So if you have to leave your puppy, try to find people who can help you. Ask your housemates or neighbors if they can feed the puppy while you’re away, because they need to eat about four to six times in a day.”
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Beterinaryo sa Fort Animal Clinic can be found at the Ground Floor, Kensington Place, 1st Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 1634, Philippines.