You know how stressful moving can be for you – but did you know that it’s also very stressful for your pets? The chaos of packing and unpacking, the hassle of movers coming in and out, and the sudden change from a familiar, comfortable place to somewhere new and strange are all just as difficult for your dog or cat as they are for you. Here are some ways you can help your furry friends adjust as quickly as possible.
Choose a home with your pet in mind
Before you decide on a new home, make sure your pet will be happy there, too.
If you can, take a walk around the neighborhood and see if it seems safe and welcoming for your pets. Do you see aggressive or unattended dogs? Does the area seem like a good place to take your dog for nice, long walks?
Also, consider the square footage of the home you’re considering and the needs of your unique pet. For example, if you have a cat, you may want to be able to add vertical space in the form of shelving or kitty blocks. If you have a dog, however, their needs will differ. For example, puppies and older dogs will need to go outside more often; this may prove difficult in a house with no yard or an apartment building with lots of stairs.
Keep packing calm
To avoid stressing your pets, bring your moving boxes in early and give them plenty of time to adjust - don’t wait until the last minute and pack everything in a furious whirlwind. When it’s time to move, keep your pets in a closed room or at a friend’s house so that they don’t get frightened at the commotion and try to escape. Do everything you can to keep your pet’s routine normal throughout the packing and moving process, including regular mealtimes, walks, and cuddles.
Stay safe on the road
Many pets haven’t spent a lot of time in cars or crates. If yours hasn’t, you can help them prepare by gradually introducing them to their crates. Try placing their food inside the crate and working up to having them eat meals inside the crate with the door closed. Carry your pet around inside the crate and even go for a few short drives to help them acclimate. When you’re done with crate time, provide treats and praise to give your pet something to enjoy and anticipate.
Settle in slowly
A whole house to explore can be overwhelming to many dogs and cats. Start by placing your pet in one room with the door shut and providing all their treats, toys, food, and water (and litter box, for cats) in this room. Make sure they seem comfortable before gradually introducing them to the rest of the house, one room at a time. Provide plenty of reassurance and companionship during the transition. You may find that your pet adjusts quickly with no problems, but with these tips, even the most skittish kitty or pup will be acting like they own the place in no time.