Tiny Living with Pets

Tiny Living With Pets

When transitioning to a tiny lifestyle, one of the first questions to ask yourself is “What is important to me?”

In answering this question, you will discover what you need to incorporate in your design and what you can live without, thus making trade-offs if necessary. Fortunately, with well thought out spaces, little is left by the wayside while we strive to incorporate every need (and want) into your luxurious home.

One of the most important things to a pet owner, is of course, their lovable companion. Since space is limited in a tiny home this may at first seem like a hurdle, however, many have found that their smaller space is more than accommodating for humans and animals alike.

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In order to get an insight into tiny living with pets, we’ve spoken with our past clients and tiny home dwellers Andre and Rae Jurgensen and their two rescue dogs Skyla the Rottweiler who Andres claims, “runs the show with her assertive attitude” and Clyde the Boxer who “is a goofball who follows you everywhere you go.”  Each of the dogs weighs about 70 pounds so they take up a lot of floor space, however, the Jurgensen’s take advantage of their large piece of property and deck to create a bigger environment for their pets to lounge around. While they admit that their pups do have a pretty good amount of physical items such as dog beds, food, water dishes and toys they do not regret sharing their tiny home with their best friends. In fact, if they were to change anything about their tiny home they’d like to have more floor space in their loft so that they could all share a sleeping area and have a partial wall so it’s safer for their canines.

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With this in mind, it’s a good idea to consider how much of the space you want your pet to have access to. If you want your pet to be able to go wherever you go, like the Jurgensens, it may be important to consider stairs to your loft or a main floor sleeping area. For those who want their sleeping space to themselves, you may want to provide your animal friend a downstairs space to call their own – if you don’t, it’s like they will claim their favorite spot anyways! If your beloved companion is a cat, you have more options (catwalks, wider ladders) in order to allow your cat free-roam of the roost. If you have another species that you hold dear, albeit a bird, reptile or amphibian these most likely require a more dedicated space for their cages. The important thing is to make the space work for you and your pet.

One of the best ways to incorporate your animals ‘special space’ (whether that be a litter box, dog bed or aquarium) into a smaller space is through custom functional furniture pieces that blend into the room and also disguise a space that may otherwise be in the way or unsightly.  There are thousands of great ideas on Pinterest, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites in one board: https://www.pinterest.com/theirloom/tiny-living-with-pets/

Another animal specific item you’ll want to plan for is food. Most animal food can be bought in smaller sized amounts to fit the space, you still may want to incorporate a space where you can store your animals necessities. Another thing to take into consideration is to have an elevated pet food/water dish so you don’t have to worry about bumping into them and getting your socks wet (seriously the worst). Or, the Jurgensen’s suggest keeping the water bowl in the shower as a “splash zone”.

Another great (but sometimes forgotten) tip for living tiny with pets is to invest in a great vacuum. While you won’t need anything large in such a small space, choosing a vacuum specifically designed for pet hair that is also slim and storable is important to keep the pet hair at bay and gives you a quick way to clean up inevitable messes (both human and animal). Andre recommends his Dyson stick vacuum which charges automatically when it’s attached to the wall mount and takes up very little space. The Jurgensen’s clean about 1-2 times a week and it takes about 30 minutes for a quick clean up and about an hour for a thorough clean of their entire home. It has practically become standard both aesthetically and functionally for tiny homes to use hardwood floors which makes cleanup a breeze. However, even wooden floors can become victim to dirty paws, especially in the Winter months so you may also want to consider some sort of mop to keep your home tidy.

trail-timeExercise is important to keep in mind for any pet’s health but especially for tiny home pet dwellers. How much space and time devoted to your pet needs depends on your companion’s breed, size and demeanor. For an animal that’s used to a larger space to roam, this may mean putting aside more time for walks. Seasonally, it’s easier to do this in the Summer when you can just walk out the door, it becomes a bit more of a commitment when the weather turns foul.

Regular exercise will benefit more than just your pet and having an excuse for scheduled time outdoors away from computers and worries is probably one of the major reasons you’ve chosen the tiny lifestyle anyways. Andre seconds this by saying, “With dogs in particular, it’s all about giving them quality outside time and knowing their needs. It may not be fair to keep high energy dogs inside if you can’t make the commitment to get them out. We make it a point to hike our dogs a lot to keep their energy levels to a minimum when we’re at home. Generally, pets are very adaptable and just want to be near you and they rarely use the full space of a regular house if you aren’t nearby.”.

Hopefully this article has helped you agree on a few good ideas for your home and your furry (or scaled, or feathered) companion while also reassuring you that the decision to go tiny does not need to change if you have a pet or are wanting one in the future.

rae-and-skylaThe Jurgensen’s relate: “Our dogs are our family, we can’t imagine life without them. It’s plain to see that their lives revolve just as much around us as ours do around them. We feel that by going tiny, they now have better quality of life just by living in such an amazing area that they are free to enjoy. Any worries we had about how they would be affected by their new lifestyle went away as soon as we saw how much they felt at home. We are their home, no matter where we are.”

For more information on how we can customize a beautiful home for you and your pets, please select the ‘Take Action’ option to get more information from our Team at Tiny Heirloom. You can also follow our friends and their adventures with their lovable pups here @thesapphiretinyhouse on Instagram.

Comments 12

  1. Still working on where to put this next tiny living space but, i have to say my first one got me back to my roots with building myself ( Peachy , who was 12.5 needed stairs wider and with rough patches) he forced me to start reclaiming wood, making my mind work so i could make his and my life a bit more normal ( he was 110 lbs of wonderful Bull mastiff) and Ben my boundless energy , service GSD who in at 90 lbs will need access like this one day as well. My dogs are my kids now, Peachy passed on at xmas but he lived in my current 400 sq ft with me and Ben just fine.. You have to chose, whats really important? Ultimately, its the adventures, the hugs and maybe a few moments. As a former Marine the adage was: ” if it doesn’t fit in your sea bag you dont need it” really is true. I love small living and i would not want to go back to otherwise ever.. grand kids can come stay and have adventures with gma and the dogs now.. 🙂

  2. hi, i am curious, are you referring to a dyson stick vacuum, the ones that cost between $300-400? is there another comparable brand that isn’t as pricey? thanks. 🙂

    1. In my experience, no. I used to hate Dyson vacuums because I thought they charged an arm and a leg for a brand name and a cool look, but after a couple of years of fighting with a variety of vacuums that don’t cope with pet hair half as well as advertised, I caved and bought one of the $700 full-size upright models for my apartment. Have not regretted that decision once. My parents have a slightly different model that is nearly ten years old now and still going strong. It sounds expensive but will save you money in the long run.

    2. I purchased a Shark vacuum and LOVE IT!!! My Boxer/Mastiff mix sheds worse than any of the long haired dogs I’ve had and this vacuum cleans it up, lickity split and it was MUCH less expensive than the Dyson. I purchased mine online from their website and got all kinds of extra goodies with my order, including a floor steam cleaner that works great, as well!

  3. I am approaching retirement and am anxious to be where my family will settle in Colorado. I am anxious to see more homes that are single level, since it is just me and my small dog. I would hate to have a home where I was unable in the future to climb a stair to a loft. I enjoy all of your designs and all of the luxurious touches that enrich life.

  4. I’m considering buying a tiny home for my daughter. She needs to be able to live in it and work out of it she has a dog grooming business and would like to turn it into a mobile business. Can we get together and see what kind of plan you can come up with?

  5. I am interested. What size are your trailer platform dimension measurements? Can I please have a list of your product and materials options? I would want to be involved in visualing a functional aesthetic design that is totally off grid.

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