Downsizing your home could be the big upgrade your family needs. But when one of your treasured family members is a not-so-tiny pup, you may start second-guessing your decision to move.
But with the right considerations, tiny house living can be a great fit for a big dog. Whether you’re dreaming of moving into a 500 square foot home or creating your own gypsy wagon, your pet may just need a proper transition to thrive.
In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to keep you and your furry friend happy and healthy in your new space.
A Benefit You and Your Dog Can Agree On
It’s easy to see the benefits of tiny house living for humans. Moving into a smaller place means fewer utility costs, easier maintenance, and often no or low mortgage payments thanks to the affordability. But one perk that may benefit both you and your dog could be the increased accessibility to the outdoors.
The best tiny houses for big dogs are those that come with plenty of land for your pup to play on or even those that are closer in proximity to hiking trails. When your dog can exercise and interact with more stimuli throughout the day, they may feel freer and less bored than they would in a normal-sized house.
Having a larger outdoor space also helps your dog get their energy out before and throughout your workday. If you work from home — which is ideal for big dogs, who can become particularly destructive when bored and confined — they won’t constantly beg for attention while you’re busy.
Of course, you don’t want to leave your dog alone outside all day while you work indoors. Setting up an outdoor office equipped with a comfortable table, an outlet, and sun protection can help you reconnect with nature and breathe in the fresh air while you work. All the while, you can keep an eye on your playful pup to keep them out of harm’s way.
Keeping Furry Friends Safe Outdoors
Keeping your dog safe should be a priority as you spend more time outdoors.
Prevent your dog from getting lost by investing in advanced dog training, which ensures your pup always comes back when they’re called. But ideally, your dog should be both well-trained and kept within a gated area whenever they’re playing. If a gate isn’t possible, consider buying a long leash (some can be 50 ft. or longer) that still gives your dog the freedom to run, while preventing a lost dog situation.
It’s also crucial to understand the health concerns that can occur outdoors.
Some breeds may be susceptible to environmental allergies, which may require topical hydrocortisone or allergy shots, as prescribed by your vet, to tackle.
In many outdoor areas, ticks and fleas can be a concern, especially during the spring and summer. Read up on the preventative measures you can take, like consistently checking for fleas or investing in regular flea and tick treatments for your dog.
Making the Indoors Work
The outdoors will keep you and your big dog happy, but well before the end of the day, you need to head inside. So how do you make sure the indoors keep you both just as satisfied?
Choosing the right tiny house layout is crucial for big dog ownership to work. Again, big dogs need lots of stimuli, especially when you’re out of the house or the weather doesn’t allow for much exercise. Try opting for a tiny house with plenty of windows and as much floor space as possible.
Keep in mind that big dogs can shed a lot — and it’ll be even more noticeable when they’re roaming around a much smaller space. Make it easier to vacuum up fur by opting for hard flooring instead of carpet.
Dedicating a space for all your dog supplies can help you stay organized and reduce clutter in your tiny home.
Routine is Key
Especially during the transition phase, keeping a set routine is key. When you maintain a familiar schedule — for example, waking up, eating, and going outside at the same times each day — your dog will feel much less anxiety about transitioning to a brand new (and much smaller) space.
Once your dog is already comfortable, sticking to a routine can even help your dog stay well-behaved. Instead of begging for more food, they’ll know when it’s coming. And they’ll also understand that you’re in charge of the schedule.
Start Tiny House Living with Your Not-So-Tiny Pup
Tiny house living isn’t fit for every single dog. You know your dog best and should trust your intuition. But don’t let your dog’s size be the only thing holding you back. A tiny home often enables you and your dog to spend more time outdoors, which is healthy for both of you. With the right outdoor precautions, routines, and indoor home layout, this could be the perfect lifestyle for your family (including the four-legged members).
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