Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Pets & Tiny Living

Here at La Casita a surprise was in store for Cedric this holiday season. A young Corgi pup named Asher Bear was my gift DSCN3844to Cedric for Christmas and now we are adapting to tiny house living with an adorably fluffy, tiny being! It’s quite the learning experience, both enriching and challenging and well worth the extra effort! So far, we’ve found the transition from two to three quite smooth and La Casita is proving to be just as nurturing a space as a big home can be.

People have asked us about having pets in a tiny house and many seem skeptical of the possibility.  I believe many things you can do in a larger home you can creatively accomplish in a tiny house. For me, this means tweaking my lifestyle and asking for help. Over the summer a friend of ours house sat La Casita and he owns a 50 pound dog. Rather large for the size of our house but with a little help from our community it worked out beautifully. We put Zach in touch with a friend and neighbor who had just lost her dog a few months back and was more than happy to dog sit during the day while he was at work. That way, Ani-dog was able to have a larger space to spend the day and both human and pooch had much desired company. It was a great compromise that worked for everyone and is one example of how you can make having a pet in a small space work for your tiny lifestyle.

Ani dogAs with any pet purchase,  it’s important to seriously consider what creature best fits personal lifestyle and, for dwellers of tiny houses, the animal’s adaptability to living in a small space. Cedric and I thought long and hard about a dog.  We’d been looking at breeds and talking about potentially have a pup for over 2 years. We selected a breed for size and personality as well as a breed whom we’ve lived with in the past. We always knew a small to medium sized dog with plenty of energy would best suit our lifestyle. We are active people who enjoy biking to the park, kayaking the marshes and going on walks after dinner. We wanted a pet who could enjoy these activities along side us. We knew Corgis need lots of outdoor time so we felt that we’d be able to meet the breed’s need for activity and in terms of size it wouldn’t outgrow a tiny space as s/he moved in to adulthood. So far,  La Casita has proven a great environment for Asher  since it pushes us daily out of our home and into our community.  It allows us to assist in his socialization but there’s still enough space in our home to invite over friends for puppy parties which are great fun.

DSCN3851We’ve made little adjustments to our home space with the exception of a few dog toys scattered about, shoes stored off the floor and a kennel that fits snugly under our built-in seating in the bump-out. We found a kennel that not only fit perfectly in our home but that fits our dog nicely as well. It’s right by the door, so easy access for pup and us as we stumble outside during housebreaking sessions at 3:30 in the morning! If we are leaving the house and can not bring him with us, we keep him kenneled but only for a couple of hours at a time. Although the house is tiny and there really is not much to get in to, we don’t want to run the risk of him getting in to trouble and for a curious pup like Asher, that’s easy enough to do!

Our tiny home allows us the financial means to afford a pet as well as the quality time to give a new puppy.  Since we have minimal rent that includes utilities, we are able to budget for a pet. We are also able to split our time in order to meet Asher’s social and physical needs. Cedric works seasonally and while not on bike tours he works from home so he has ample time over the winter and summer to care for a pup. As a substitute teacher I often work 8 to 5 but have time off, such as 2 weeks at Christmas, to spend quality time with Asher. Thanks to LaCa it’s possible for Cedric to keep the schedule he keeps and allows me to work full-time, part of the time. It’s a great schedule for a young dog who needs lots of attention and we love the flexibility the tiny lifestyle affords us.

DSCN3849There are certainly drawbacks to owning animals in tiny dwellings. One is pretty much our pet limit. La Casita will not hold any more living beings comfortably so unless we place our home on a farm, we won’t be able to accommodate any more pets. Although, a tiny house atop lots of land is looking more and more appealing to us. City dwelling and puppy raising is much more of a challenge than having lots of space immediately out the front door to frolic in! All in all, it is proving a doable task that brings more play and fun into our daily life and living environment here in La Casita.

Your Turn!

  • Do you think pets are doable in a tiny house?
  1. after one look at that sweet little face—-well, he melts my heart as well. I don’t know how people abuse animals. I have 3 dogs and 5 cats, a bird and a BIG tank with fish, in under 700 cu.ft. of space. we just make do for “one more?” Love all animals and stand toe to toe in an abusers face if need be. Love to Asher and of course hugs galore! May he thrive in your tiny home.

    • Thanks for the love to Asher! I’ll make sure to pass along the hugs! We named him Asher because it means “happy” and “abundance” and it certainly suits him! I love that you have found the space in your small home to share the love you have for your animals. Thank you again for the kind words!

  2. I share a 120 sqf tiny house with an 85 lb German Shepherd dog. It works very well.

    • Hi ET! It’s good to hear from another tiny houser and pet owner living happily with a dog, especially one the size of yours! I really want folks to realize the adaptability that is possible in a small space. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for writing about this, and I’m grateful for ET’s response as well. I really, really want to build a tiny house. After years alone raising children in a 1700 sq ft house, the kids are grown and the parents are independent. I don’t need the space and want the opportunity to move around every few months to be close to family I haven’t spent much time with in the past years. I have hated the chains binding me to working so dang hard to stay afloat, I’m so glad to know that Asher is adapting to a tiny life with you. I have 2 dogs and it has been a concern. We stay in a pretty small area of the house, basically just my bedroom unless we’re outside, so I think they’ll adapt. Once again I appreciate you writing about your experience. It relieves many fears as I mentally prepare for this project, to hear of how things are going for those who have already made the big transition to small space. I’m aware I won’t be able to accumulate the number of pets I’ve had at one time living in my “abode” on a larger scale and with a larger income, but that’s a good thing, because GSD or peek-a-poo, they’re never full time outside dogs. I’m a sap for my babies, but I think I’ll actually be able to sleep dogless for the first time in YEARS with a loft. 😉

    • PS my house doesn’t have a loft and I sleep on a mattress I roll out each night so sleeping close to my dog is the only option.

      • To be honest, when my GS started having hip problems, I replaced my tall antique bed with a platform bed so it would be easier for her. I’ve already played with some plans to make storage stairs to the loft since I’m getting older. If I can do them, so will the dogs. 😉

    • Hello Jo! I’m so glad the post was able to help relieve your fears. It’s not easy adapting to a smaller space but it is completely doable and I’m sure you and your dogs will find your own unique balance. Thanks you for your comments!

  4. Yes we are out here, Dog owners in small spaces. I have a 400 sq. ft. Condo I share with 2 large dogs. It seems counter intuitive, but large dogs usually spend most of the time sleeping. So we have a very active outdoor lifestyle which makes our cozy home all the more cozy!

  5. So, I have been living in a 144 square foot tiny home for a bit over a year now. My space is shared with a 4 year old shih tzu named Riley. I have found that since I have started living in a small space with my dog, we are a lot more active outdoors.

    He shares my bed (and he’s a surprising bed hog for his size) and has adapted to the small space really well. When I am gone for long hours, he hangs out in the main house with their dog Jada. Which helps give him company and some room to play.

    If you’re thinking of tiny living and are concerned because you have a pet, don’t let that worry you. I’ve actually considered getting a second dog.

    • Thanks Kera for the encouraging words! I’m so happy to hear of other people making it work in tiny houses with their pets!

  6. My girlfriend and I live in a 400sf house on a 4.66ac property with 3 dogs & 3 cats for the past year. We had a 2nd greyhound for the first 6mo but she passed away suddenly in July due to a swift acting cancer. We have 2 lofts where the cats have free reign (and a catwalk to connect the lofts so they can stay up & away from the canines if preferred. We consider it very doable but you certainly will want to design your space with the animals in mind as we did. Litter boxes are up in the larger loft and the cats have adopted fine to the place-they did have some time in the house before the dogs came in tho.

    We don’t consider it in the least as crowded and everyone has a space they can regularly claim as their own, just not necessarily the same location 100% of the day. 🙂

    • Realizing I should have double-checked what I wrote before submitting, I want to clarify that we *had* 4 dogs last year-2 greyhounds, a cock-a-poo, and a rat terrier-chihuahua mix. We lost one of the hounds last year…

  7. I was saddened to hear you refer to relationships with dogs as owned, of yourself as the “owner” and shudder that you purchased a puppy with so many suffering in shelters. There are alternatives to purchasing. My corgis have come from corgi rescue (patience is a virtue & a corgi is well worth waiting to find) I completely understand the desire for a specific breed. Especially the corgi. But still I say don’t buy & perpetuate more breeding. Adopt an animal that is already in need. It isn’t the breed that matters, it’s the dog. There is no excuse to buy.

    This seems so out of the little house movement ethics.

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