When it comes to choosing the best emotional support animal for small spaces, size does matter. Not having the luxury of a big backyard or an expansive home for your ESA to run around means that you’ll have to reasonably think about what type of emotional support animal you can – and can’t – own.
The key to choosing the type of emotional support animal that is best suited to your situation is to think practically. Ask yourself, how big a pet could your home reasonably accommodate? How much energy will your ESA need to expend every day? Will your pet make too much noise and bother close neighbors? By answering these questions, you can create an idea in your head of what type of ESA you can comfortably keep in a small living space.
When it comes to the perfect apartment dwelling ESA, cats reign supreme. Cats don’t need to be walked or exercised like dogs do, so having them confined to a small living space is no problem. They also sleep for about 15 hours a day, meaning you don’t have to worry about them not being able to get up and explore when you’re gone to work as they’ll most likely be catching some Z’s on the comfiest available surface.
Another thing that make cats perfect for living in a small space is that they uniquely make great use of vertical space, be that perched on windowsills or bookshelves or teetering on the top of your furniture. This means that even the teeniest apartment is exponentially larger for your feline friend.
If you have your heart set on an emotional support dog, fear not! There are plenty of dog breeds that are more than happy to live in small spaces. While it is possible to have a large dog breed in a small home, it’s advisable that you stick to smaller fluffs.
If you’re leaning towards a dog as you decide on the best emotional support animal for your small space, you’re absolutely spoiled with choices. Our top picks would be French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frises, or King Charles Spaniels. Not only are all these breeds an appropriate size – as well as being seriously adorable – they also have the ideal temperaments to make them perfect ESAs. If you absolutely must have a large breed dog, Great Danes weirdly make great small home dwellers, as they are notorious couch potatoes.
Rabbits are often overlooked as emotional support animals, and that’s a real shame. These long-eared cuties are just as emotionally aware as their canine counterparts, but come with the extra added bonus of being significantly more independent. A dangerous misconception about rabbits is that they must be kept outside in a hutch. In fact, keeping a bunny outside leaves it exposed to numerous dangers like extreme weather, diseases and predators, and it’s likely to half its lifespan.
Instead, it’s advised to keep your furry friend indoors and out of harm’s way. While you can get a small purpose built cage – or a bunny abode – for your rabbit, a lot of ESA owners have instead opted for the simpler route of ‘bunny proofing’ their home. This only takes a few minutes to do and means your rabbit will have the whole run of your home to bounce around.
Think guinea pigs, hamster, gerbils, mice or for the braver ESA owners among us – rats! These domesticated rodents make ideal ESAs for living in small spaces, as their cages are teeny tiny. Unlike rabbits, it’s not advised that you allow your rodent to have free reign of your home, as they could get lost or injured.
Instead, have an hour of supervised playtime on your living room floor with them each day. This will give them the exercise they need while also solidifying your bond with them.
Other ESA Options and Those to Avoid
There are plenty of other emotional support animals that would make perfect small space ESAs. As there are no restrictions on what can and can’t be an ESA, you can be as creative as you want when picking your pint-sized pal. How about an emotional support snake? Or an emotional support parrot? Or even an emotional support bearded dragon?!
It should go without saying that there are some ESAs that should not be kept in a small living environment. We’d advise that you don’t keep any type of large breed dog cooped up in a small living space unless you have been advised that it is safe to do so. Not only could this negatively affect their development, but it’s also likely that they would tear your home apart in your absence due to all the pent-up energy they have from not having enough space to roam around.
Now that you have an idea of what type of emotional support animal you should get for your small living space, it’s prudent that you make sure you get your emotional support animal letter. This ESA letter will protect you from discrimination based on your disability and will enable you and your emotional support animal to live harmoniously together.