Personal Space

Just like people, pets deserve and oftentimes need their own personal space. Dogs and cats are prone to sleepiness, irritably, and personal boundary violations, just like you and me.

It is important that they have a space to go when they feel these emotions. It’s best for owners to give pets their own area rather than allow their pets to take out their frustration on other people or animals.

The size of their area depends on the size of both your home and your furry friend. But no matter the size of the space, it reassures pets that they have somewhere that is entirely theirs.

The Animal Welfare Act requires that pets must have enough space to move around, lie down, sit, and stand comfortably. To ensure that your pet has adequate space, follow these steps:

  1.  Measure (in a straight line) from the tip of their nose to the base of the tail.
  2.  Add six inches to the number in step one.
  3. Square the number (ex. 34 times 34) to get the minimum required amount of floor space in square inches.
  4. Divide the number from step three by 144 to get the minimum required amount of floor space in square feet.
  5. For this example, the original measurement would be 28. Adding six to 28 equals 34. Squaring 34 equals 1,156 square inches. Dividing 1,156 by 144 equals 8.028 square feet.

Additionally, if pets are in a crate or low room, pets should have 6 inches above their head. This will ensure they remain comfortable.

How do you know which space is the best spot for your pet?

If you’ve seen them continuously relaxing in a certain part of the house, that could be where they would be the most comfortable. If you choose the spot, make sure you stick to it. It could be jarring for pets to keep adjusting to new parts of the house.

When choosing a location, here are some tips we recommend:

  • Choose an area that is uncarpeted. These spots are easier to clean up in case of any food and water spills, if they shed often, or if your pet gets sick.
  • Find a quiet area. If your pet needs some down time, they shouldn’t have to worry about being interrupted, especially by non-family members.
  • Keep the temperature consistent. You want to make sure that your pet isn’t too hot or too cold, especially if they are home alone during the day. If it is unseasonably warm or cool, try to adjust the temperature close to what they are used to.
  • Stay away from direct sunlight. If your pet is unable to escape the glare, they may be uncomfortable and will probably be unable to rest.
  • Some pets prefer areas that they can back up into. If your pet does, find a nice corner or wall to set them up in.

Once you pick a spot, it’s time to personalize it.

Add some of their favorite things, including a cozy blanket, a dog bed, and any toys that they enjoy. You should also make sure your pet has a water dish and a food dish near or in their spot.

Now, don’t mess with their area by moving their toys or bedding.

You can also show your pet that it is their space by blocking it off from guests and kids. Your pet should not feel uncomfortable in their area, so avoid going there too often. Encourage your pet to come into other parts of the house when they want time with the rest of the family or other pets, but if your pet is in their spot, do not try to get them to come out.

Remember: as long as your pet feels emotionally safe and physically comfortable you’ve done your job as a pet owner and provided them a space all their own.