Many people who live in small homes and apartments feel that having pets in that environment isn’t an option. They feel that they simply can’t keep pets due to lack space, lack of a garden and even lack of time. If you don’t have a garden or easy access to a grassy area it may not be ideal to keep a dog, however, there are many other options you might want to consider. It is possible to keep pets in small homes, it’s just a case of thinking outside the box.
Just remember, If you do live in an apartment make sure that your building allows animals.
So what pets can I keep in a small home?
There are plenty of options, indoor cats are one of the most popular pets that people can keep in apartments but if a cat isn’t what you want there are plenty of other options. It’s a case of doing your research and finding what pet will be right for you. There are pros and cons to all types of pets so make sure to think ahead before making a final decision.
Things to consider before bringing a pet into your home:
- Time – How much of my time does my pet require? Can they be left alone for long periods?
- Space – How much space does this animal require? Will they need room to exercise?
- Power – Some animals require specialist heating and lighting, this uses power so watch those electricity bills.
- Waste – If the animal you choose requires a change of bedding or litter make sure you have somewhere to bin it.
- Noise levels – Is the animal I want noisy?
- If living in an apartment - Does my building allow animals?
Small animals are ideal for people who enjoy the cute and cuddly element of pet ownership. There are so many species of small animal available nowadays that there is one to suit all kinds of people. Whether you fancy having a house rabbit or something exotic like a hedgehog there is a small animal out there for you.
For the most part, small animals can be kept in indoor/outdoor hutches or cages and let out for periods during the day should you choose to do so. Rabbits can be litter trained, like a cat, and be left to roam around the home at leisure once you are happy they are trained correctly.
When buying a small animal, keep in mind the needs of the animal you choose. Some small animals like guinea pigs tend to do better in pairs whereas others like hamsters are better living alone. All small animals need clean fresh water, a proper diet and a way of exercising. Your local pet care professional will advise you on all the requirements and habits of your pet. Keep in mind that some small animals are nocturnal and are at their most active at night time, so you may not see too much of your pet during the day.
Reptiles make fabulous pets, especially if you don’t have a great deal of time on your hands. As with small animals, there are so many different types, each species requiring different types of environment, heat, light, humidity and food. Some reptiles need feeding every day others do not.
If you haven’t kept reptiles before don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of “First-time” reptiles that your reptile expert can advise you on. Lizards like geckos and bearded dragons along with various breeds of snakes such as the corn and king snakes are wonderful starter reptiles. They have basic requirements and are easy to handle and care for. Other reptiles such as the larger lizards like monitors and tegus, large breeds of snakes and delicate lizards like water dragons require a more experienced reptile owner.
Keep in mind when buying a reptile that some have long lifespans, some breeds of snakes and lizards can live to be over 15 years old if kept properly. The tortoise has the longest life span of any animal on the planet and often outlives its owner with a life span of 30+ years. The oldest tortoise ever recorded was 188 years old!
Setting up a vivarium (Reptile enclosure) can be expensive in the beginning as there are various pieces of equipment you will need to have a happy and healthy pet. However other than the exception of light bulbs and bedding, which need to be changed, all the other necessary apparatus (Heat mats, the vivarium etc) will last you a long time.
Arachnids and insects:
Having an arachnid or insect as a pet doesn’t appeal to everyone, however, they make for very easy and interesting pets. Compared to a dog or cat their needs are minimal and they are inexpensive to keep. They don’t need constant attention or feeding, they are hypo-allergenic, harmless, they can be kept in very small vivariums are quiet, gentle and clean. The needs of Arachnids and insects are very modest and they are a wonderful first-time pet.
Some pet insects come in beautiful colors such as the orchid praying mantis, which disguises itself as part of the orchid plant. Many find the unique behavior and life cycles of these fascinating creatures to be very appealing. The stick insect emulates parts of trees and bushes and it's always an interesting party piece, having your guests try to find them in their enclosure.
Birds are great animals for small homes; they are kept in cages and can be let out during the day. Birds are delicate creatures who need a good amount of stimulation to be kept successfully, this stimulation can be provided by spending bonding time with plenty of handling as well as providing them with toys such as mirrors and bells. They require adequate housing and a balanced healthy diet. It is crucial that you keep the bird's cage clean at all times to prevent disease. When choosing a bird as a pet keep in mind that some i.e. large parrots often outlive their owners.
Some breeds of birds do better in pairs (Love birds) others can be kept alone. Keep in mind that birds can messy and although you may appreciate bird song you may not appreciate it in the early hours of the morning and so to prevent being woken up by incessant chirping you may need to cover your bird's cage with a towel or sheet.
As with reptiles, some breeds of bird are not suitable for first-time bird keepers. Parrots, although very attractive can require grooming and beak trimming. There are other types of birds like canaries, budgies and finches that make lovely first-time pets.
Fish and aquatics:
There are endless varieties of fish and aquatic animals available in your local pet shop these days that it can be hard to choose the right type of fish for your home. The great thing about fish is that you can make a real feature of the fish you choose in your home. Aquariums of all shapes and sizes are available these days. There are so many fish to choose from; colorful tropical fish, a simple goldfish or for the more advanced fish owner, marine aquatics.
Tanks come in all shapes and size and it’s up to you how you decorate them. Various types of gravel and sand are available in many colors, along with plants and ornaments.
Your local fish expert will be able to assist you in choosing your fish and setting up your tank. Keep in mind when changing the water in your fish tank always leave about a third of the original water in the tank, as this will help your fish to live longer. Fish create good bacteria in their water and so by taking all the water out when cleaning the tank you are taking away all that good bacteria the fish need.
And so you see there are plenty of options for you to choose from. All of the animals above make wonderful pets for small homes. The options are endless! It’s always a good idea to talk to your local pet professional before you buy an animal. They will advise you on all the needs of whatever pet you choose and will help you make the right decision. Always remember that an animal no matter what they are, are a commitment. All animals require love and attention and with the right care, your new pet will thrive.