Living with pets in a tiny home is a concern many families may have when they’re considering a transition to a tiny home. It’s a very reasonable thing to be concerned about. It’s a serious issue that must be carefully evaluated before deciding to downsize.We currently live in 220 sq.ft with both of our dogs. One is a 90lb weimeraner and the other is a 25lb cocker spaniel. There are definitely some negatives, but not bringing them with us was never an option. They are our fur babies. When we made the decision to downsize, the topic barely came up. Without a doubt, they would be living with us, but we did have to put some thought into how to make such a small space comfortable for 4 bodies. Here are some things to consider…
Materials And Decor
We kept the dogs in mind during the remodel. Part of the reason we built the bay window seat with storage was to house their supplies, food and collars. I wanted to have it accessible, but still out of sight. We went with Infinity vinyl flooring because we knew that it would take a heavy beating. Like any ‘regular-sized’ home, only a few areas receive 99% of the foot/paw traffic like the kitchen, front door area and living space. If you’re remodeling your tiny home or trailer and plan on housing dogs or pets, be sure to think through what specific needs they have or if special materials or spaces need to be included.
Lay Down The Law
Designating specific areas they are ‘allowed’…- Ok, we suck at this. We try, but our dogs are the most stubborn pups ever. Mostly the big one, he’s a baby and when he’s scared he insists on sleeping with us, crawling on top of us or pawing us. We don’t currently have a door on the bedroom and that’s the biggest problem we have right now. He has claimed our bed as his bed during the day. If you can, decide on ‘off limit areas’ and train them to stay within their boundaries.
Embrace The Outdoors
Our dogs are getting older and lazier, but moving in the trailer has actually helped us all become more active because it forces us to get outside more and stretch our legs (ahem…I mean paws.) We love going for quick walks around the block and spending more time out on the patio. This also alleviates any feelings of cabin fever especially when the weather isn’t so great.
Keep It Clean
This could entirely be a personal preference, but maybe not because I’ve never met another dog owner who’s like, “omg, I just love all this dog hair on my clothes. Seriously, I mean…I just love always having them with me you know?” No. Nope. I can’t stand dog hair. And I have two dogs that shed like beasts. So while we clean the trailer almost daily, it really isn’t that much time or work. It’s still a fraction of what we used to have to do. We also have a Roomba that we run daily and that thing is a freaking lifesaver. I seriously love him so much. This is the one we have and I can’t imagine living in this place without it. Since we have to be conscious of our power consumption and running a regular vacuum is a huge pain, the Roomba is clutch. He lives in the bay window storage. But not having clutter or mess helps keep everyone sane.
We’re also really lucky in a way that neither of our dogs like toys. So having toys laying around is a non issue. But this is obviously the exception to the rule. I would suggest getting a small, attractive basket for toys or downsizing their toy collection just as you’re doing. We all gotta make sacrifices right?
Make Them Comfortable
So our one dog could be comfortable anywhere and the other is a bit of a princess. She also likes to keep watch on things. In our old apartment she would always sleep on the back of the couch so we ended up just putting Chloe’s bed up on the bay window since she was always climbing up there. She adores it up there and spends most of her day watching the world go by from her little throne. Slater loves to cuddle with us on the couch (when he’s not on our bed) and he gets a special dog blanket too. Bottom line: make them comfortable, you’ll be comfortable.
Overall sharing such a small space with three other bodies hasn’t been that difficult. For the most part they sleep. Sure, when we’re eating meals or cooking we trip over each other a bit, but that was happening in our 1,000 sq.ft apartment as well. We treat our dogs like our children so whatever our living situation we will make it work. My number one suggestion before transitioning to tiny living is make sure it’s the best decision not only for you, but your pets as well.
*while I titled this post ‘living with pets’ I only refer specifically to dogs because I’m sharing my experience. With that said, I feel these insights can be applied to any/most animals and/or pets.