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Downsizing Safely and Comfortably When You’re a Pet Owner

Brie Stephens

Brie has always been a devoted enthusiast of the Lake Life lifestyle, with an unwavering passion for New Hampshire and its charming Lakes Region...

Brie has always been a devoted enthusiast of the Lake Life lifestyle, with an unwavering passion for New Hampshire and its charming Lakes Region...

Jan 4 5 minutes read

Downsizing Safely and Comfortably When You're a Pet Owner

Written by Medina James

Downsizing can be incredibly stressful for your furry best friends. They’re shifting to a new environment for a reason they don’t understand, with massive disruptions to their routine. It can cause fear, pain, and confusion, reports The Nest. You can make packing and moving easier on them by planning and catering to their needs. Lake Life Realty explains how in this mini-guide:

Get organized with a to-do list

Getting organized will make the downsizing process smoother and less stressful for both you and your best friend. You’ll be able to take care of everything important ahead of time and avoid forgetting important tasks or details. Some suggestions to include on your to-do list are taking stock of your finances, prepping your house for sale, vet visits, hiring pet sitters, and making moving-day arrangements.

Prepping your current home for sale before you downsize is a long-drawn-out, complex process and deserves its own to-do list. Some common tasks you may need to take care of include cleaning and repairing your house, house staging, having the house inspected, listing the house for sale, and negotiating sales terms. 

Pack slowly over time to downsize efficiently

Some pets respond poorly to the chaos of packing and moving. They may act out or develop anxiety. To prevent this with your pet, you can slowly pack over time instead of all at once. This will keep the disturbances down to a minimum. You could designate a packing room that you can keep under lock and key to stop your pets from getting underfoot. HGTV offers excellent downsizing tips.

Make mortgage arrangements early

If you’re applying for a mortgage for your new home, you should thoroughly research and familiarize yourself with available mortgage rates and types (VHA, FA, traditional, and similar). This can help you secure the best details, not to mention avoid complications down the road – not all mortgages are equal or suitable for everyone. Furthermore, knowing what you can borrow will make your search for a home easier.

Find pet-friendly housing in a pet-friendly locale  

Not all homes and neighborhoods allow pets. The ones that do aren’t necessarily pet-friendly. Pet-friendly homes are hazard-free, away from loud noises, and offer some room for play. Look for a suitable home, preferably with parks or fields for your pet to gambol in. The presence of vets nearby is a bonus.

Prepare your pet for the move in advance

By preparing your pet, you can make downsizing easier on them. First, if you own a dog, we recommend introducing them to the house and neighborhood they’re going to be moving to a few days in advance. Allow them to sniff, explore, and familiarize themselves with the area.

Second, you may want to introduce a pet carrier (more applicable to cats) a couple of weeks in advance. Fill it up with their favorite toys, blankets, and food. Encourage them to get comfortable with it. When moving day comes, they won’t resist getting in 

Keep them safe and comfortable on moving day

Last, but not least, you have several arrangements to make on moving day. Consider hiring a pet sitter, if possible, to take charge of your pet for the day – this is arguably the best way to keep safe and comfortable. If that’s not an option, contain them somewhere to stop them from running away or getting in the way of the movers. Consider getting a GPS tracker to keep better tabs on them.

If you’re traveling by car, be sure to take breaks and let your pet out of the car (on a leash). This allows them to release steam and be calmer. When you unpack, keep your pet contained again. Loose objects, debris, and packaging can hurt your pet. If your pet is anxious, distract them with play or toys and consider CBD oil. Finally, get an overnight bag along with essentials for your pet like toys, food, and medicine.  


Keep in mind that pets require time to adjust to a new environment. It’s harder for cats than it is for dogs. You may need to pet them more and offer extra reassurances after moving. Don’t hesitate to take them to a pet if they develop separation anxiety, which is rare but can happen. For the best results, reintroduce their usual routine to help them settle in better.

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