How Will Downsizing Affect My Furry Family Members?
Just like your human routines will need to change, so will your pet’s. With a little research and planning, you can turn a stressful situation into a fun adventure. It’s time to test that adage about old dogs learning new tricks. We’re talking about you, too, humans!
Before re-homing, pause a moment
If you have a large, active dog who's used to a yard, moving into a smaller space might not be the best option for anyone’s happiness. Plus, many condos and apartments have size restrictions on dogs. If finding your dog a new family is out of the question, you may need to be more flexible. Try finding a dog-friendly condo with a park or apartment communities that allow pets.
This is usually not a problem with cats, who are used to cozy spaces and can adapt more easily.
Pet-friendly realtors are an excellent option. There are many out there who know all the ins and outs of what to do when looking for a new property to suit every family member. The Animal Human Society (AHS) gives tons of tips on what to do when moving with a pet.
Is the neighborhood pet-friendly?
Research pet-friendly play areas, veterinarians, grooming, pet sitting and walking services before taking the leap. Moving to Florida? Summer weather may be uncomfortable if your pet has a heavy coat. If your cat is indoor-outdoor, investigate if predators live in the outside area. Do your homework on traffic patterns and busy streets, too.
Pet agreements and fees
Before moving to an apartment or condo, read the lease or association rules very carefully. Highlight all the clauses that relate to pets. For example, size restrictions are a common clause as well as breed restrictions. Some landlords charge fees for pets. You may also want to join the association to monitor changes to rules related to pets and have a say about chemicals used for building and grounds maintenance.
Puppy penthouse or first floor?
Is your pet able to walk the distances required to exit a high-rise building? Or, would your pet be more comfortable with a door that opens directly onto a grassy area. If your dog is a barker, views from ground-level windows might trigger persistent barking. In such cases, a higher floor might be desirable. Just keep in mind that higher floors with balconies are serious safety hazards for pets.
Bring the kitty couch or doggy divan
Bringing furniture from your old home is comforting. But it’s likely they’ll seek out new spaces for sun and views. Remember to bring their favorite comfort foods or some extra treats when moving and have new toys to keep them happy while you unpack.
There’s no need to leave your dog or cat behind when downsizing. Our furbabies bring benefits at every age, whether as exercise companions, by providing security and protection for your home, or simply for the cuddles.