Downsizing is a relatively simple concept – it involves simplifying your possessions, decreasing space, changing your lifestyle. There are many benefits that drive the growing popularity of this lifestyle, but for many pet-owners and animal lovers, an important question comes to mind: how do you downsize with dogs?
If interior space is a concern for you and you’re not sure if it will be big enough for your furry friend, there’s an easy way to find out. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, here is how to calculate the minimum floor space required for your canine:
- Measure your dog from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail while it is in a normal standing position – do not follow the contour of the dog’s body. Measure straight across.
- To this number, add 6 inches.
- After adding 6 inches to your number, square the total. This is the absolute minimum required floor space for your dog.
What you’ll likely find is that your dog requires much less space than you’d expect, and a tiny home will still give them plenty. Though, with a smaller home, it is still essential to keep your pet at ease during the move and help them adjust to the new space. Here are some tips for downsizing with your pup:
Talk with your veterinarian before the move
If your dog experiences anxiety or has a nervous personality, it’s a good idea to mention your upcoming move to your vet. They can prescribe temporary medication to ease their anxiety and give valuable advice on how to support your pet during this time.
Introduce your dog to the area first
Our pets rely on their familiarity with us to feel safe – so when we move our animals suddenly, they may feel less secure in a new home. If you’re moving relatively close by, it’s a great idea to walk your dog around the area where you’ll be living. Doing this before the move will begin the process of familiarizing your pet to the new area, which will be much less stressful for them than moving to someplace they have never seen before.
Set up a comfortable space for your pet right away
If you’re not able to introduce your dog to the space before your move, make sure you have all of their things set up right away. This means putting out their bed, favorite toys, and maybe even a shirt or blanket with your scent to get them comfortable. As mentioned, dogs feel safe through familiarity – it helps having a safe area with all of their things already set up and good to go in the new house when they arrive.
Keep your pet mentally stimulated
Because your pet won’t have as much room as before, they may not be able to run or play inside as they once used to. If this is the case, it’s a great idea to not only take your pup for frequent walks and dog park outings, but to also provide some mental stimulation for them at home. Here are a few enriching activities you can set up for your dog:
DIY Treat towel
Here is an easy toy you can make for your dog: roll up a small towel or dishcloth with layers of treats and tie it closed, pushing treats into the knots for your pet to find. You can also tie multiple towels of treats together for bigger dogs. This will not only encourage them to sniff, bite, chew, and problem solve, but also help them release any nervous energy.
Did you know that dogs use licking to self-soothe? For dogs, licking releases endorphins in their brain, causing a pleasurable feeling that can comfort the animal in high-stress situations. Using lick mats daily also provides great mental stimulation for dogs.
Here are some soft, dog-safe foods you can use on a lick mat:
- Xylitol-free peanut butter
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Wet dog food
- Pure pumpkin puree
- Mashed banana
These foods are great because you can squish them into the mat with a spoon, which requires your pet to work for the treat through licking. You can also freeze the lick mat to give your pup a more engaging licking experience!
Spend time with them
Whether it’s playtime, going on a walk, or even just snuggling together while you watch tv, it’s essential to actively spend more time with your animal after a move. You are their anchor, and your presence will help them feel safe and re-assured. If you want to go the extra mile, give your dog a massage! Just like humans, doggie massages can help ease stress and anxiety, improve blood circulation, reduce pain, and best of all, show your pet how much you love them. Here are some beginner-friendly dog massage techniques you can try with your dog at home:
- Canine massage | American Animal Hospital Association
- How to give your dog a relaxation massage | Canine Pain Relief
We love pets at Simple Life – that is why we include dog parks in our communities and poop stations at every intersection. In all our communities, we require each pet to have a full vaccination record, rabies shots, and an adorable photo to be submitted with your Pet Approval form. We invite you to visit Simple Life to meet some of our happy residents, both human and animal!