We recently moved Willie, a rambunctious Bichon Friese, along with his “dad” from their 3200 two-story home to a 2 bedroom apartment at Solea in Cedar Park Texas. Although he has adjusted well to his new community, it took a bit of advanced planning and patience. Moving can be stressful on everyone, but it can be even more stressful for your pets, especially when reducing the size of their living space. Here are some tips to make a downsize move easier for your four-legged family members:
1. During the declutter and sorting phase of downsizing, make sure your pet’s belongings stay in the same spot if at all possible. Maintain plenty of room for them to move about and get to their food, water, litter box, bed and toys.
2. If you are using a pet carrier to transport your pet, set it out days in advance of the move for them to explore. Put familiar items, including their favorite treats, in the carrier to help them connect it with positive feelings.
3. When creating a floor plan for your new space, include plenty of room for your dog or cat’s bed and toys. Think about roaming paths, and for cat’s, comforting hiding places that they may have had in their previous home.
4. If you’re just moving across town, plan a few visits with your dog to get them familiar with the new space. If you can’t get entry to the home or apartment, walk them around the community to help them get to know the new smells and sights.
5. During the move, board your pet or have a friend keep them during move day and initial unpacking. This is the most stressful, and potentially dangerous time for a pet. They don’t know what’s going on, and this can cause many a cat or dog to run away while doors are being propped open. Even if they are kept in a closed room in the house during a move, the noise and additional people will be more traumatic for them.
6. Prepare an overnight bag for your pet with their food, toys, treats, litter, and any medications they take to get them through the first few days of the move transition. We also recommend this for their humans, too!
In fact, our pets are not that different from us when it comes to moving. They need time to process the change taking place in their lives. Our job as move managers is to create a smoother transition to a new (usually smaller) living space for our clients and their favorite belongings, and that includes adorable dogs named Willie!