10/22/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

These five tips for downsizing with pets can help make the moving experience safer, easier, and more comfortable for everyone.

Downsizing is stressful for everyone involved, and having pets only adds to it. One of the primary concerns of moving relates to pets and handling the transition to their new and smaller surroundings. After all, your four-legged family members tend to be creatures of habit, and it might be difficult for them to adapt to their new environment without some help.

Although your list of concerns about downsizing may be quite long, you can manage the move and ensure that your pet thrives in the new setting with a bit of preparation. Here are a few suggestions to ease the transition for you and your pet:

1. Try to keep their new area similar to the old one

As you are downsizing, keep your pet’s belongings in the same area if possible. Ensure they have the same amount of room to move around and access their toys, bed, food, water, and litter box. Create paths for them to roam, and in the case of cats, provide them with the same type of hiding place they had in their last home.

2. If possible, have them visit their new neighborhood

If you’re moving within driving distance, visit the new area with your pet so they can get familiar with it. If you don’t have access to the new home or apartment, walk them around the community, helping them get acquainted with the new smells and sights.

3. Start feeding your pet inside

Some pets are used to eating outside, so you will need to change that routine if you move to a townhouse or an apartment. Start putting their food and water dishes, along with treats and bones, inside to develop the new habit. Feed them in the same room you’ll be using (most likely the kitchen or bathroom) in your new home.

4. Spend time outside with your pet

One of the biggest adjustments for your pet will be getting used to being with you each time they go outside. This habit is especially important if they roam the property unattended at your current home. A couple of months before you move, join them in the yard each time you let them out.

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Make it fun for them by throwing a ball or going for a leashed walk. They will become accustomed to your presence (and the supervision), and they will also adjust to your schedule. Transition them over time by leaving them indoors when you run errands and during the night while you sleep. Keep adding to this indoor time until your pet is no longer spending unsupervised time outside.

The transition is often easier for dogs than cats. So, if your outdoor cat is used to roaming for hours each day, place their bed by a window that gets plenty of sun or buy them a heated mat to keep them warm as they nap.

5. Board your pet during the move

Moving is the most upsetting time for a pet. Pets don’t understand what’s happening, causing them lots of stress and fear. Cats and dogs will sometimes run away while doors are open, putting them in danger. Keeping them in a closed room during a move is equally traumatic with all the noise, strangers, and unfamiliar surroundings.

You can prevent this by boarding your pet or leaving it with a friend until the moving and unpacking is finished. And if you are planning on using a pet carrier when you move them to their new home, set it out days ahead of time so they have a chance to explore it. Adding some of their favorite treats and toys in the carrier will allow them to connect the carrier with positive feelings.

Pets are a lot like humans when it comes to moving. They need time to sort out the changes occurring in their lives. Following these tips for downsizing and moving with pets can help create a smooth transition to a new and smaller living space, for them and us.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff