There are some great pets out there like this rabbit that is perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

Top 10 Low Maintenance Pets for Apartments


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Looking for some of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments because your home is small but your animal-loving heart is big? If you’re living in a small space like an apartment it can be a challenge to find the perfect pet to fit your lifestyle. Not to worry though… There are some great pets out there like a green cheek conure, long neck turtle, pet fish, and even pet rats that are perfect for NZ apartment living!

1. Comical green-cheeked conure 🦜

Small in size but big in personality, green-cheeked conures are excellent exotic birds for apartment dwellers. These playful tweethearts have charisma by the bucket load and love to engage with their owners. Curious and gentle, these birds can even be trained to talk, as they have a wide range of vocalisations to chatter away!

Green-cheeked conures are native to the forests of South America and are known for their bright, vibrant colour mutations.

There are some great pets out there like this green cheek conure or a long neck turtle that are perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Keep their intelligent minds busy to avoid your feathery pal experiencing separation anxiety.
  • Give them proper tweetment with a spacious cage and plenty of toys and perches.
  • These birdies require a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • Always provide fresh water and change it every day. No excuses.
  • Repeat worming every three months with a broad-spectrum bird wormer.

Interesting fact: Green-cheeked conures are super playful and mischievous. They love swinging from toys, rolling on their backs and hanging upside down while playing. Pretty cute, huh?

2. Shy hermit crabone of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments🦀

A quirky and entertaining choice, hermit crabs are some of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments. Surprisingly, they can live for up to 15 years if you take care of them with care and all the love you have.

There are some great pets out there like this hermit crab or a long neck turtle that are perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Hermit crabs can eat a variety of foods but don’t skimp on quality, nutritionally balanced pellets.
  • These critters need an environment between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius (like a snug apartment).
  • Turn on a fluorescent or LED bulb in their tank for 8-12 hours a day to mimic natural light cycles.
  • They’re avid climbers and can escape easily (crab-e diem!) so check in on them often.
  • Give your crab friend enough sand to bury him or herself in to cover up when they need to safely moult.

Fun fact: Hermit crabs aren’t solitary creatures, despite their name. They live in groups of 100 or more in the wild.

3. Fabulous tropical pet fish 🐠

A gently bubbling aquarium full of colourful pet fish is a wonderful addition to any apartment, which is why they feature on our ‘lowest maintenance pets for apartments’ list. Tropical pet fish come in loads of shapes, sizes, and vibrant colours so you can create your own unique underwater world.

Some species of pet fish go better together than others, so do your research before combining varieties. For example, semi-aggressive species like Angel Fish and Tiger Barbs require more planning.

There are some great pets out there like this tropical pet fish or a long neck turtle that are perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Consider the type, quantity and eventual size of pet fish you’ll keep (stocking density).
  • Temperatures between 24-28 degrees are ideal for most tropical pet fish.
  • Specialised water heaters and filters are important in creating an optimum environment for finned friends.
  • Tropical tanks for pet fish require regular cleaning and equipment maintenance.
  • It’s best to keep tanks away from windows since sunlight can spike the water’s temperature throughout the day and cause algae to spread rapidly.

Fun fact: In spite of the fact that they don’t have vocal cords, pet fish can moan, grunt, or croak!

4. Long neck turtle aka ‘stinker’ 🐢

A long-neck turtle makes for a unique and fascinating pet that is a guaranteed talking point when your friends come over. The main species kept as pets are long-neck turtles.

There are some great pets out there like pet rats or this long-neck turtle that is perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Keep the tank clean (ideally every other day) to keep the water from fouling or algae building up.
  • Keep a calcium block in the aquarium. It’ll reduce the acidity of the water and help the shell stay healthy.
  • Provide water at least 15 cm deep and increase it as your long neck turtle grows.
  • It’s best to give long neck turtles some plant material daily, like water weeds or lettuce.
  • Turtles need a good quality filter and aquarium heater since water quality and temperature directly affect their health.

Fun fact: To defend themselves against predators, long neck turtles emit a foul smell from their glands that they can spray over three feet away. Guess that’s why they’ve been nicknamed ‘stinker’!

5. Super smart rat 🐀

Okay, so we know that the very word ‘rat’ might send a shiver up your spine but hear us out: rats can make wonderful pets for NZ apartment living!

Pet rats are intelligent and can be trained to do tricks just like a dog even in NZ apartments. Seriously. They’re gentle, rarely bite, and love to be patted and handled.

Despite the reputation of their pesky free-roaming counterparts, pet rats are clean animals that groom themselves much like a cat and will do so in your NZ apartment too. No worries!

There are some great pets out there like this pet rat that is perfect for New Zealand apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • You’ll need an enclosure with some climbing and playing equipment for your pet rat.
  • Spend at least half an hour a day interacting with your pet rat as they’re pretty sociable critters.
  • Pet rats are nocturnal so they’ll sleep the day away while you’re out and about in NZ.
  • Suitable substrates for pet rats include bedding, fleece fabric, recycled newspaper and shredded paper.
  • Rats are omnivores so they do well eating high-quality pellets with fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean animal meat like chicken.

Fun fact: Rats can hold their breath for three minutes and tread water for three days!

6. Popcorning guinea pigone of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments🐹

Guinea pigs are a great option as indoor pets, which is why they feature on our ‘lowest-maintenance pets for apartments’ list. They’re low maintenance, inexpensive and incredibly lovable.

They’re easy to care for and don’t need lots of space. With a small hutch or cage, they can live comfortably in an apartment. Did we mention they’re too cute!? Take a look:

There are some great pets out there like pet rats or this Guinea pig that is perfect for NZ apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Guinea pigs have sensitive respiratory tracts so cages should be well-ventilated to prevent respiratory disease.
  • The height of the cage isn’t as important but some guinea pigs like ramps and multiple levels.
  • Guinea pigs are messy and may even relieve themselves in food dishes so proper hygiene is a must.
  • It’s hard for guinea pigs to handle heat and humidity. The temperature should never go over 80 degrees and humidity should stay between 40 and 70%.
  • They have a pretty high metabolic rate and need to eat almost constantly. Also, their diet should never include animal protein since they’re strict herbivores.

Fun fact: Popcorning is the joyous little jump guinea pigs make when they’re happy.

7. Cuddly rabbit 🐰

Rabbits make great pets for people living in apartments as they are low maintenance and easy to care for. Rabbits don’t need a lot of space to live comfortably and they don’t require a lot of attention, making them an ideal pet for those who don’t have a lot of extra time on their hands.

There are some great pets out there like pet rats or this brown pet rabbit that is perfect for NZ apartment living!

5 quick tips:

  • Feed your rabbit a balanced diet consisting mainly of hay, fresh vegetables and a small portion of pellets.
  • Rabbits need regular exercise to stay healthy. Allow your rabbit supervised time outside of their enclosure to hop around and explore. You want to make sure the area is safe and there aren’t any hazards lying about.
  • Animals like rabbits need social interaction to thrive so pet, groom and play with them.
  • Keep your rabbit mentally stimulated by providing toys, tunnels and cardboard boxes for them to play with and explore. Keep things fresh by rotating toys to prevent boredom.
  • Rabbits can be litter trained, just like cats. Make sure your rabbit is using a litter box filled with rabbit-safe litter, like paper-based or aspen shavings. Regularly clean the litter box.

Fun fact: It’s true that rabbits can turn their ears 180 degrees. Using this rotation, they can pinpoint where a sound is coming from.

Crafting a DIY rabbit castle is a fun project that can provide hours of entertainment for your furry friend. Not only will it give your rabbit a place to explore and play but it will also provide them with some much-needed mental stimulation. Watch the tutorial below...

8. Prickly hedgehog 🦔

Are you looking for a pet to bring into your apartment but don’t want to deal with a lot of maintenance or mess? Consider a hedgehog! Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly popular as low maintenance pets for apartments. They’re quiet, clean and relatively easy to take care of.

Feed your hedgehog, like this one in a white mug, a balanced and nutritious diet.

5 quick tips:

  • Hedgehogs are sensitive to temperature so it’s crucial to maintain a warm and comfortable environment. Keep the temperature in their enclosure between 24-27 degrees Celsius.
  • Feed your hedgehog a balanced and nutritious diet. A good-quality commercial hedgehog food can serve as the base of their diet. Supplement their diet with a variety of insects (mealworms, crickets) and occasional fruits and vegetables (such as apples, carrots, and leafy greens).
  • Spend time handling and socialising with your hedgehog to build trust and create a bond. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration. Use gentle handling techniques and be mindful of their spines.
  • Provide a suitable enclosure for your hedgehog. A large, well-ventilated cage with a solid bottom is recommended.
  • Hedgehogs are active and require space to move around so choose a cage that allows for climbing, burrowing and exploration. Line the bottom of the cage with bedding materials such as paper-based or aspen shavings.

Fun fact: It’s not a good idea to leave milk out for hedgehogs because they’re lactose intolerant!

9. Affectionate Ragdoll cat 🐱

If you’re looking for an ideal pet for an apartment, you can’t go wrong with a Ragdoll cat. Ragdoll cats are known for their laid-back and easy-going personalities, making them a perfect fit for NZ apartment living (try to keep your pet rats away from them though!).

Find out whether pet insurance is worth it for your indoor cat.

There are some great fur kids out there like this calm and gentle Ragdoll cat.

5 quick tips:

  • With such lush long fur, Ragdoll cats look beautiful but need to be groomed. Brush their coat to keep it healthy and prevent it from getting matted as this can lead to hairball problems.
  • Ragdolls are known for their calm and gentle nature. They tend to be less active and more laid-back compared to some other cat breeds. So, this makes them well-suited for apartment living where space may be limited as they are content to spend most of their time indoors and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle.
  • Ragdoll cats can be prone to heart disease and gum disease so be sure to give them and you a safeguard with cat insurance.
  • While it’s important to provide adequate space and environmental enrichment for any cat, Ragdolls can adapt well to smaller living spaces such as apartments. If they have access to toys, scratching posts and vertical spaces to climb, they can happily thrive within the confines of an apartment.
  • Ragdolls are known for their affectionate and social personalities. They often enjoy being close to their human companions, seeking out attention and even following them around the apartment. Their desire for human interaction can make apartment living more enjoyable and provide companionship for their purrr-ents.

Fun fact: “Floppiness” is a unique trait of Ragdoll cats. When picked up or held, Ragdolls tend to go limp and relax their muscles, almost like a ragdoll or a floppy stuffed toy.

10. Shih Tzu dogone of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments🐶

Are you living in an apartment and looking for a pet to keep you company? Look no further than the Shih Tzu. This small, low maintenance dog is a great fit for apartment living. Or if you’re after another pint-sized pooch, read about more small dog breeds that are great for apartment living.

There are some great fur kids out there like this Shih Tzu dog that enjoys short walks and indoor play sessions.

5 quick tips:

  • Shih Tzus are small dogs, typically weighing between 4 to 7 kilograms. Their compact size makes them well suited for apartment living as they require less space compared to larger breeds. Basically, they can comfortably live in smaller apartments without feeling cramped.
  • Shih Tzus have relatively low exercise needs. While they still require regular walks and playtime, they don’t have the high energy levels or exercise demands of some other breeds. A couple of short walks and indoor play sessions each day can usually fulfil their exercise needs, which can be easily managed in an apartment setting.
  • You should bathe your Shih Tzu at least every three weeks and brush their coats every day (long fur), second day (medium length fur) or third day (short fur).
  • When it comes to health, this breed can be prone to respiratory, heart, eye, hair, skin and ear issues so be sure to choose the appropriate level of dog insurance cover.
  • Shih Tzus are not generally known to be excessive barkers. While they may alert you to visitors or noises, they’re not as prone to continuous barking. This can be beneficial in apartment living situations where noise levels need to be kept to a minimum.

Fun fact: Shih Tzu dogs were originally bred as companion dogs for Chinese royalty.

Safety for low maintenance pets in apartments

One of the most common pet poisons found in the home are household cleaners and detergents. Though they may not seem dangerous, they can be toxic to pets if ingested, leading to vomiting, diarrhoea and other intestinal issues.

To keep your pet rats, long neck turtles, cats, dogs and other creatures safe from harm, make sure to store all cleaners and detergents in secure, locked cabinets in your apartment and out of reach.

Watch this vlog for tips from Dr Cath Watson on pet poisons you mightn’t know are in your home:

More tips for choosing your ultimate pet

We hoped you enjoyed reading about lowest maintenance pets for apartments and it’s steering you in one direction. If you’re still undecided and want more top-notch info, these articles may help you choose your ultimate pet:

  1. More of the best pets for apartments 
  2. Tips for finding a family pet 
  3. Tips for bringing home an adopted dog
  4. Friendliest cats to welcome to your household
  5. Kindest dog breeds

Low maintenance pets with perks

Now that you know about several of the lowest maintenance pets for apartments, from the long neck turtle to pet fish, here’s something else worth knowing… If your apartment pet is a furry woof or meow, then they get perks at PD.

For example, you get one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy your cat or dog pet plan online. That means cover for non-routine vet visits and a broad range of diagnostics, treatments, hospital stayovers and prescription medicines. Plus, with our award winning pet insurance there are no lock-in contracts or cancellation fees.

Click below to start your quote today.

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