Living in a tiny house with a dog or cat, can it be done?

A tiny house is small while dogs and cats need their space. Is there a solution to this conundrum? Here are some tips on what to keep in mind with a dog or cat in a tiny house and how to make your lives in a tiny house more pleasant.

A dog or cat in a tiny house, can it be done?

Living in a tiny house with a dog or cat can be done, but it does depend on a couple of things. For example, the amount of space. Not all tiny houses are the same, some only have a single room while others offer a bit more space. Plus, the type of dog or cat is a decisive factor. Not just the size of the animal, but its character, energy needs and temperament as well. Another important factor is whether you inhabit the tiny house alone or with a family. The more people, the less room your dog or cat will have. Weigh all factors carefully before adding a furry companion to your tiny house.

Moving to a tiny house with a dog or cat

Of course, it is a different story if you’ve already got a dog or cat and are thinking about moving to a tiny house. When viewing potential tiny houses, take the needs and comfort of your dog or cat into account. The benefit is that you know what your dog or cat needs; whether it has a lot of energy and likes to be outside. Or enjoys a peaceful sleeping spot inside the house.

Designing a tiny house, what to keep in mind?

Taking your dog or cat into account is even easier when you are designing your own tiny house. For example, reserve a spot for your pet’s basket and a litterbox if you’ve got a cat. Consider installing a cat flap in the door. Your dog or cat will probably love spending time with you out on the porch. Plus, cats love to maintain the overview which is why they tend to seek an elevated spot. Make sure you provide your cat with an elevated lookout spot.

Keep an eye on the temperature during winter

The downside of tiny houses is that they usually don’t have central heating for sustainability reasons. This means your pet may not always have a dry and draught-free, warm spot available in winter. Include a sheltered and warm corner in your design or consider installing a pallet or gas stove in your tiny house. Contrary to a wood stove, these can be operated with a thermostat. Another option is to get your pet an electric mat; but (solar) electricity may not always be plenty in a tiny house during winter.

Not always clean

Since you are sharing a small space with your pet, it will likely get dirty more quickly than a larger house. Take this into account before buying a dog or cat. Animals always leave behind hair, dander and dust. If you can’t handle that, sharing a tiny house with a dog or cat may become a source of frustration. Avoid this by anticipating the situation in advance. The benefit of a small space is that it is quick to tidy and clean.

What dogs or cats are suitable for a tiny house?

It is very difficult to predict what dogs or cats are suitable for life in a tiny house; a small dog does not necessarily require less energy and space than a large dog. On the contrary, small dogs are often full of energy while a large dog may quietly lie down inside. With cats, it is difficult to predict what breeds are suitable. Cats tend to have unique characters which makes their behaviour unpredictable. Do keep in mind that every pup and kitten needs enough challenge and exercise; there has to be enough room to move around! A senior dog or cat will tend to be less active and sleep more. If you want more peace and quiet in your tiny house, adopting a senior cat or dog from a shelter seems like a good option. Do make sure to discuss the needs and character of the animal with the shelter.

Take your neighbours into account

Every animal needs the freedom to move around. Especially in the case of a tiny house, both you and your pet are much more dependent on your outdoor space. When in doubt, consult your neighbours before getting a pet. If you already have a pet, try to minimise the nuisance it causes to your neighbours. After all, it is your choice. It is great if your neighbours don’t mind. But this isn’t always the case: better safe than sorry!

If your tiny house is surrounded by nature, with the nearest neighbours living a couple of kilometres away, there is no need to worry and you can enjoy your freedom to the max together with your pet.

The benefit of a dog or cat in a tiny house is that your small space becomes even cosier. Enjoy it! But do consider in advance whether you, your house and your pet are suitable for the lifestyle.

Read more about sustainability:

• Wet food or kibble: what is more sustainable?
• A sustainable vacation with your pet
• How sustainable is my pet’s life and how can I contribute?
• Where does Yarrah source its beef?

Read more

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