Downsizing is a stressful, often emotionally distressing experience – for both humans and pets. You’ll both be moving into an unfamiliar neighborhood in a brand-new home, which can take more than a little getting used to. There will be a million things to arrange and get right.
It is recommended that you start planning for the move as early as possible. Not only is downsizing a complicated process, but you’ll also need to make some special arrangements to keep your pet comfortable during the transition:
Find a pet-friendly home
Finding a house when you’re a pet owner can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re moving into a housing community or a small apartment. Not all housing communities or association boards allow pets. Make sure to take this into account when you search for a home.
Getting preapproved for a mortgage might be a good idea. It not only allows you to figure out the amount you can borrow in advance, but it also allows you to snap up a house instantly when you find a suitable one.
Prep your current home for sale
Selling a house can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Some of the things on your checklist should be finding a real estate agent, performing repairs around the house, getting the house inspected, staging the house for potential buyers, listing the house for sale, hosting showings, and negotiating and closing contracts.
Introduce your dog to the new home
Before you move into your perfect future home, it’s a good idea to introduce your pet dog to the house and nearby neighborhood. Take them for a walk in the surrounding area and allow them to gather impressions. Later, give them a tour of the home and let them sniff around a bit. By giving them an introduction, you won’t drop them into a completely strange, unfamiliar environment.
If you own a cat, introduce a cat carrier
Cats require a different treatment. Introduce a cat carrier in the weeks leading up to the move. Make sure it’s cozy and comfortable and load it up with treats, toys, and their favorite blanket. Allow your cat to enter and explore it. You’ll be transporting them in the carrier on moving day.
Pets tend to chew up moving supplies, boxes, and various odds and ends. Keep this in mind when you’re packing. If possible, keep all your boxes locked away in a separate room that your pets can’t get to. If your pets are anxiety-prone, introduce packing supplies slowly to your house over time.
Prepare an overnight bag
Before you move out, prepare an overnight bag for both you and your pet. Keep necessities in there, like some pet food, toys, poop bags, leash, litter, water bowls, and chew toys. You don’t want to root around countless boxes when you’re both tired and stressed after moving.
Make moving-day arrangements
Set aside a separate room for your pet to be in during the move. It’ll stop them from getting underfoot and also keep them calm. A walk beforehand can tire them out, and remember not to overfeed them. Sometimes sending your dog to a pet daycare for a couple of days while you get settled is the most stress-free arrangement for both you and your pet.
Keep them contained
Watch out for runaway pets! Losing your beloved cat or dog when you’re moving will be a disaster. Keep your pets contained while they travel and after, like keeping them in a crate, putting them in a room, and hiring someone to watch them. To be on the safe side, get them micro-chipped to track them if they’re lost. Including a tag with your name and phone number on their collar also works.
Your pet will need a few days to a few weeks to adjust to the new environment. Dogs have an easier time than cats. Make sure you provide them with structure and routine during and after the move – like access to their toys and beds and regular meals at stipulated times. It’ll give them a sense of familiarity and security, and keep their anxiety to a manageable level.