This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Most pets require some form of housing.

Pets require housing for one of four reasons :

  • To protect them from adverse environmental conditions which occur in their natural geographical location - eg seasonal variations such as extremes of heat or cold in summer and winter.
  • To maintain artificial environmental conditions which they need - eg animals from tropical countries being kept artificially in non-tropical countries
  • To confine them to prevent escape
  • To provide privacy for sleeping, breeding

Different pets of course have different housing requirements but the following is a list of possible requirements :

Construction Materials

  • For health reasons the housing should be easy to clean and disinfect
  • The interior of the housing should be easy to access by the owner - to get at the pet and to clean the accommodation
  • The housing should be hard wearing, and not easily destroyed by the pet
  • The walls of housing should be strong enough to withstand escape attempts by the animal

 To satisfy most of these criteria the most commonly used and best materials are metal, plastic, and glass. Less satisfactory are wood, cardboard and other porous products.


  • The housing should be big enough to accommodate the pet. Animals should have enough space to run around, stretch, stand and , for smaller pets, exercise.
  • The housing should not be too big for some pets. Snakes for example can suffer stress if they are kept in large vivaria without places to hide away
  • Size is very important for some pets eg fish, which will grow in proportion to the surface area of water in which they live. Small tanks will restrict the growth of large fish.


  • The housing should be designed to protect the animal from the elements - eg be draught free and water proof
  • The design of the housing should take into consideration the pets specific requirements 
    • Inquisitive animals , such as small rodents, should have areas to explore
    • Birds need unobstructed flight paths
  • The design should ensure that the housing is escape-proof. The public often do not appreciate how many animals (eg hamsters, snakes) can squeeze through extremely small gaps !
  • Although glass is a popular material to use in the design and construction of housing for pets - remember that some pets get very nervous if they cannot hide away out of site, and there should be "private" areas screened off from the viewer. This can be provided in various forms such as nest box areas, rocks, branches, partitioned sections.
  • Some pets like to perch or climb above the ground - eg birds and reptiles, so the height of the housing should accommodate for this . 


For most pets it is important that the housing should be located somewhere that is protected from :

  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Extremes of heat
  • Extremes of cold 
  • Noxious fumes (eg near boiler ventilation pipes)
  • Loud noises




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