Pet Dogs in Apartments


  A dog requires space to live.

What you should consider before owning one

A common perception in the western world is that dogs are warmly welcomed at swanky high-rise residences. But is that true for Malaysia as well? And is it healthy for our furry friends?

The laws on dog ownership in Malaysia vary from state to state, but generally someone living in an apartment of some sort is prohibited to keep a dog. Take for example the rules imposed by Kuala Lumpur’s City Hall (DBKL):

No one is allowed to keep, protect or maintain any kind of dog

a)      at a floor higher than the ground floor of any building;

b)      at the ground floor of a building that has a strata title; or

c)       at the ground floor of a building without a gated lawn.

The ugly truth is that laws imposed and laws enforced are two different things. There are still high-rise dwellers who manage to have a dog or two in their apartments.

The management of each and every apartment again, varies in terms of their stance on the matter. A general sentiment of Malaysians is that if the dogs do not make excessive noise or give out a foul odor, it is fine.

Then there is the religious concern of dogs around Muslims. Expatriates and foreigners to the country may find it hard to comprehend why dogs aren’t allowed at most places, including apartments. Muslims in general are forbidden to come in contact with dog saliva – among other laws – and thus, tend to keep their distance from dogs. A dog owner has to be considerate to his Muslim neighbors and their beliefs.

However, if your desire for a loving pet is transcends all these, then what dogs should you opt for? Small dogs are usually a preferred choice as they are easier to care for. The problem is these wee-sized creatures such as the Chihuahua, have very noisy yaps, to the point of irritating. And these sounds are amplified by the enclosed corridors of apartments.

Larger dogs on the other hand, don’t do very well in confined spaces as they need an active lifestyle and daily exercise. Some even see it as on the verge of cruelty to keep a large dog, such as a Labrador Retriever cooped up in a four-walled home on the 15th floor.

Indeed caring for man’s best friend while living in a 1,000 sq ft unit without a lawn is difficult. Compromise has to be made if you want one. This includes getting a suitable breed, disciplining your dog, making sure it gets enough exercise, ensuring its hygiene, or even listening empathically to your neighbors’ complaints.

Do that and you could just find yourself a new housemate in your apartment.