Caring for a pet can improve your life in many ways. Research has found that interacting with animals it can lower blood pressure, decrease feelings of loneliness, and improve your mood. However, when you live in a small space, having a pet can be difficult. Not only do you need to find space for all of your pet supplies, but you also want to make sure your pet is happy to live in a home with a minimum square footage. The good news: it can be done. Here, a vet in New York City, home to some famous tiny apartments, tells us what the best pets are for people who live in small spaces.
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Living in a small space does not disqualify you from having a dog. “While a good rule of thumb might be that a large dog equals a large space and a small dog equals a small space, dogs of all sizes can do wonderfully in a small space as long as they have the ability to get out all the time.” days,” he says Matthew McCarthyDVM, a veterinarian and founder from the Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York. “Your dog needs exercise, depending on his age and physical condition, and even old, wobbly dogs like to run up and down the block.”
By exercising regularly with your dog, you will deepen your bond, improve the quality of your sleep, and prevent inappropriate behaviors, such as chewing, that are caused by boredom. “Even if it has what would be considered a small space, it is certainly a more spacious and safer space than any shelter for these guys,” McCarthy says.
Cats can judge you on many things, but not on the size of your space. “For cats, it’s an enriched environment, which is an environment that allows for all the necessary cat behaviors of playing, hunting and climbing,” says McCarthy. “Because cats can move vertically, one can move in much less space compared to other species.” As long as they have plenty of perches, shelves, and cat trees, they will be happy. McCarthy also recommends food-dispensing toys, which will help with their hunting instincts and playtime with other humans and kitties. In an average studio apartment, you can usually accommodate two cats before they start to feel cramped.
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If your home has room for a small enclosure, then you’ll want to consider a rat as your next pet. These little guys are cuter than you think; MacCarthy notes that they love to cuddle up on your lap while you read or watch TV. One thing to consider? You will probably want to adopt more than one. “They are quite social and like to be with at least one or two of their siblings,” he says. “Same-sex pairs or groups are ideal as they will keep you out of the breeding business. Males generally get along with other males, especially if they are introduced at a young age or are littermates.” Fortunately, the space you need for two rats isn’t much bigger than the space you need for one.
These hardy pets can live up to 25 years if they are cared for properly. All they need is a small aquarium of about 15 gallons for an adult; You don’t even need to heat the tank if your home averages between 60 and 75 degrees. When you buy your new pet, “make sure it’s an eastern newt,” McCarthy suggests. “Many of the other, more exotic, western newts secrete a potent neurotoxin from their skin that you really don’t want to mess with.” You will have hours of fun watching your newt navigate in its enclosure suitable for small spaces.
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This nostalgic pet is easy to care for and fun to watch. And the best part? His cage doesn’t have to be much more than two feet long, one foot wide, and one foot tall. Syrian hamsters are quite solitary and you will want to house them alone. “Keep in mind that they are nocturnal creatures, so they normally sleep most of the day, so you may not see them at their most active,” says McCarthy. “That said, most hamsters will wake up in the evening hours and happily interact with their humans at that time.” Just wait until the first time you can see them race on their wheel.