The increasing height of many Australian cities and towns is just one indication of how Australian lifestyles are changing.
In 2007, figures from the Housing Industry Association showed that the number of apartments, flats and units in Australia was expected to increase by 4% per annum in the coming years, ahead of a projected 2% increase in houses over the same period.
“Australians are increasingly choosing to downsize to high-rise apartments and townhouses over the traditional house on a larger block. And it is not just people approaching retirement who are downsizing, it is people of all ages and lifestyles,” says Ms Virginia Jackson, town planning consultant.
“Many of the people choosing to live the high life in an apartment are downsizing in space but not at all in their lifestyle expectations. They are looking for high quality, low maintenance apartments with the lifestyle of a traditional home – and this includes
having four-legged friends with them,” says Ms Jackson.
“Companion Animals in the City – guidelines to assist home owners in including pets in their new home are readily available on line and many of the newer developments see a ‘pet friendly’ policy as a selling point.
“There is a common misconception that people living in apartments should only have small dogs, but this is not the case,” says Dr Katrina Warren spokesperson for the Petcare Information and Advisory Service.
“If you are planning a move to an apartment or townhouse and have a dog already, it is important to get it used to a new routine as soon as possible. This might involve restricting outdoor activity to the times when you will be able to walk your dog from the new home, and establishing a routine for feeding times.
“If you are thinking of getting a dog for your new apartment, the most important consideration is their energy and noise levels. It is true that some smaller dogs, such as the Pekingese, were bred specifically to be pampered indoor pets but many small breeds have endless energy and need a lot of attention and exercise.
“Some dogs - such as Jack Russell Terriers and Chihuahuas – can also be quite vocal and are not well suited to apartment living.
“My top tips for dogs that are suited to apartments or townhouses include Whippets, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Italian Greyhounds and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
“These breeds provide all the benefits of dog ownership, such as an incentive to exercise each day and socialise with other dog owners in the area, while being well suited to people with busy schedules and smaller living spaces.
“Cats are also well suited to indoor living. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is double that of one that spends time outdoors, where all sorts of accidents can happen.
“Naturally clean, adaptable and with a great propensity to “catnap” most of the time, a cat makes an ideal indoor pet, happy and contented for many years so long as they have toys to play with and a window to look out from,” says Dr Warren.