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A Full House: Pets in a Shared Living Space

A Full House: Pets in a Shared Living Space

Having a pet in the household can bring joy, laughter, companionship, and comfort. But it also requires open communication, compromise, and an understanding to create and keep a positive living situation for everyone involved. For good or bad, once you add a pet into your home, the dynamic changes. In this blog, we will talk about tips for pet owners and for their roommate(s).  


Pet Owner 

Pets are family, and we all want our family to be safe and happy. To do this, make sure your animal is comfortable being around others. If you have an anxious or reactive animal, prioritize training. Especially when sharing a living space, you want your roommates to have a positive relationship with your pet, and vice versa. Prioritizing training your pet, use up their extra energy, strengthen your bond with them, increase their confidence, and minimize potential damage to property.  

Just as we protect our human family members, we should be protecting our animal family members. When living with others, make sure that you trust your roommate(s) to be alone with your pet. Our animals can’t speak for themselves, so we must be their advocate. If you see your roommates handling/treating your pet wrong, say something. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your animal.  

On the topic of roommates, never assume that your roommate(s) will help with caring for your pet. This may leave your roommate feeling bitter towards you or your animal. If you know you’re going out of town and don’t want to bring your pet, make a plan. It’s okay to ask your household for help, but it’s not okay to expect it. To make sure your household doesn’t feel pressure to help with your animal, let them know you already have a backup plan before you ask.  

This is also important when it comes to cleaning up after your pet. You don’t want your roommate to feel exploited by having to clean up after your pet all the time. If a roommate decides to clean up after your animal, you shouldn't expect it every time.  


Pet Roommate 

Before deciding to live with somebody who has a pet, make sure you’re on the same page. Let them know if you’re comfortable accepting some responsibility for the animal. If your roommate goes on vacation and doesn’t want to take their pet, are you comfortable helping out? Make sure to clarify and enforce your personal boundaries to avoid annoyance or resentment towards your roommate.    

If you don’t like/care about animals then make sure your roommate knows. Set boundaries that make sense for you. On the other spectrum, if you love the idea of having a pet in the house, let them know! Just as you want your roommate and their pet to respect your boundaries, you must also respect theirs. If the pet owner doesn't want you helping or having the animal in your room, respect that. With having a pet in the home, it’s easy for shared spaces to become the central hub for the animal. Keep in mind that you have every right to say that the food/water bowl, toys, leash, etc., should be kept in the owner's room. 

Lastly, be prepared to separate. When you're living with an animal, it can be very easy to get attached. Don’t forget that you and your roommate may not live together forever, thus neither will the animal.  

Now if you and your roommate(s) are thinking of getting a pet together, that’s a whole different story for a different time.  

Overall, living with a pet is an amazing experience that will bring both you and your roommate(s) joy and laughter. Just make sure to communicate clearly and effectively to ensure the best life for the entire household. Visit a recent Lab to learn about the Most Pet Friendly Cities!