If you think that multiple pets and a small-ish space are never, ever a good combination, think again! Yes, it’s true that it is a challenge and that it can make you think you`ll go crazy, but with the right attitude and a sensible strategy, not only can it be done, but it can even become a rewarding experience. To make it happen, here's what you need to remember.
Choose the Right Pets
In case you are in the process of choosing pets for your small-ish space, keep in mind that there are certain restrictions you will probably have to face. Some animals don`t mind and even thrive on living in small spaces, while others may not benefit from it at all. Generally, all cats, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, and turtles do well in smaller spaces.
When it comes to dogs, of course they can all live in a small space if need be, but the truth is that keeping certain breeds, typically high-energy types, indoors, in too confined of a space may not be the best decision, as they will require more frequent walks and opportunities to run around. Large dogs will particularly struggle in smaller spaces.
Luckily, there are breeds that are more suited to small-space living, either because of their own size, or more importantly, the fact that they are laid back, energy-wise. Breeds such as Dachshunds, Bishons and Pugs are just a few examples of happy small space dwellers.
Also make sure that you pair the right animals. While breed will matter to a certain extent, temperament will be more important. Whether you prefer cats or dogs, know that you can have both, as long as both animals are sociable and calm.
Provide Enough Exercise
All pets, from hamsters and guinea pigs to cats and dogs, need regular exercise, because physical activity greatly influences their overall health, both mental and physical. Not providing them with enough opportunity to move lead to various health problems such as obesity, improper muscular development, and so on. It can also lead them to let out their energy in other, probably undesirable ways (dogs will start chewing on the furniture, for instance, while cats can start to meow at inappropriate times).
Certain pets are low maintenance in this respect as they won`t require much space to exert their energy in order to stay healthy. Cats tend to exercise themselves, while birds should be given enough space in their cage. Hamsters and guinea pigs should be given a wheel or an exercise ball that will motivate them to be active.
Dogs typically need a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and on top of their game. Since small spaces don't offer much room for them to run around, taking them outside is a must. Make sure to walk them at least twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once in the evening, which will do just fine for lower-energy dogs.
Provide Enough 1-on-1 Time
Playtime is definitely one of the best ways to spend some one-on-one time with your pets. Besides being enjoyable, it proves to be a perfect bonding experience that contributes to your pets` overall happiness and health, so make sure to give them a lot of positive attention. Pet them, cuddle with them, make good use of their toys. Whatever you choose to do, just be present, in the moment and make them feel loved and cared for.
Give Them Their Own Space
Small spaces typically tend to be cramped and already stretched to their limit, so even the thought of giving extra space to each and every pet might sound daunting. However, this doesn't have to involve a lot of square footage.
The idea is to create a tiny haven for each of them, a pillow, a pet bed, or even a plus-size basket that could be just theirs and off-limits to everyone else, filled with their favorite toys or things they are attached to. It will make them feel more secure and more comfortable knowing that they have a safe retreat.
Get Them Toys
One of the perks of living in the modern world is the abundance of pretty much everything. The variety of pet toys is incredible nowadays, so it makes sense to take advantage and find the perfect items for your pets. Besides, it is not only about making them happy, it's also about keeping them busy and occupied while they are on their own.
Naturally, scratching posts as well as string and some fluffy balls are a must for cats, while most dogs enjoy chew toys. Smaller pets such as hamsters, for instance, will benefit from a wheel or a similar item. Whatever you choose, it isn't a bad idea to switch the toys (their favorite toys excluded) for new ones every once in a while, to keep things interesting.
Don`t Forget the Love!
Unless we are talking about pets that cannot physically fit into a small space, all others, provided that their basic needs are met, will live perfectly happy lives if they feel loved and cherished. Fortunately, love has nothing to do with small space living, so make sure that there is plenty of it in your home.