Our dog eating her dinner on the front porch of the cabin.
There’s a lot that goes into moving to a rural cabin. Your move will be more than just a change of address - usually it’s an entire lifestyle change as well.
And there’s someone who’s very important to consider in the process: your pet. Pets thrive on having a routine and feeling comfortable in their space. Moving to a rural cabin will be a big upheaval in their world. And because you’ll be plenty busy during your move, a little preparation will go a long way. From my own experience - when we moved to our rural cabin - our dog loved her new environment. She went from living in an apartment complex to roaming the wide open countryside at our cabin. But there were a few challenges along the way, and we learned some crucial lessons that I’ll share below!
Here's what you need to know before, during, and after your move to keep your pets happy and safe:
Our pup in her favorite spot in the cabin - cozied up on the sofa!
1. Before You Move
Before your moving date, think through the logistics of your move. Make sure your pet will have a safe space (a crate or otherwise) during your move and also when you arrive at the cabin. Moving day will be hectic enough - have a plan in place for your pet! Our pup loves running in our yard, but it’s been a process to teach her to stay close by!
2. Moving Day
When moving day arrives, set aside the items that your pet will need (food, leash, collar, travel crate, etc.) in a place that’s easily accessible. The last thing you want is to accidentally pack something that your pet needs and have to open a bunch of boxes in order to find it! Next, when you arrive at your cabin, take time to show your pet around. This may have to wait until you unpack, but dedicate time to making sure that your pet feels comfortable. With dogs: make it a point to show them where their food, bed, and outdoor areas are. If your dog is like ours and has never been outside of the city before, then you may want to stay close to her at first. When your dog goes outside, set consistent boundaries of where your dog can and can’t go. With a rural cabin, there can be opportunities for a dog to explore too far, so setting boundaries will make you both feel more comfortable.
With cats: make sure you cat’s food and water are in an obvious place. If you can, designate a quiet space for your cat; this is likely where they will hide out for a while until they feel comfortable to investigate the rest of the house.
Our cabin is next to open ranch land, so we are extra careful to let our dog not stray too far!
3. First Days in The Cabin
The first days in your new cabin are an exciting, busy time. For your pet, work to establish a daily routine. Knowing when they get fed, go to the bathroom, etc. will help them adjust to their new environment. If you can, continue parts from your routine at your old home in your new cabin. For example, the time of day that you feed your pet or let your pet outside. Any consistency you create will be positive for your furry roommate. Keep in mind that these first days at the cabin are a time when your pet will be looking to you for direction. It’s a time to help them understand their new space and routines. And it’s a great opportunity to establish the boundaries and behavior that you want long-term in your cabin.
Overall, moving to a rural cabin is a big life-change -- for us and for our pets! Just as you will settle into cabin life, so will they. Cabins can make wonderful homes for our pets, especially as they thrive on having new places to explore. And with a little preparation, your pet will have a smooth moving experience and enjoy their new home as much as you do.
Megan lives with her husband and son in an 800-square-foot log cabin in Jackson Hole, WY. In search of a simpler pace of life, Megan and her husband took a leap of faith to pursue their own cabin dreams: they quit their jobs, sold what they own, and moved across the country from downtown Austin, TX to their mountainside cabin in Jackson Hole, WY.
Megan runs her blog The Cabin Diary (www.thecabindiary.com), and can be found sharing day-to-day cabin life through social media (@thecabindiary).