Moving to a new home is challenging – getting all your belongings into boxes, onto trucks and back out again is a stressful experience.
Now imagine all that chaos happening around you, and you’ve got no clue what’s going on! That’s what moving is like for your pets. Moving to a new house can be even more stressful for our furry friends than it is for us humans – but there are ways to make the experience more comfortable. Read on to find out how to make the move a smoother experience for your beloved pets.
Choosing a Place
When you’re out shopping for a new home, consider how your four-legged family members will fit into the new space. Check out the total square footage and accessible outdoor spaces that your new home offers – cats need more vertical space, while dogs will prefer horizontal footage where they can run around and play.
If you’re looking at a condo or a home with a tiny yard, take a walk around and see what kind of parks or animal-friendly areas your potential new neighborhood has to offer to keep your pet happy. The more they love their digs, the easier the transition to a new home will be.
Have you ever been packing your bags for a vacation, only to find your cat or dog hiding inside or on top of your suitcase? While they may not understand the situation 100%, cats and dogs do know that packing a bag means someone is leaving, so imagine the confusion that comes when you’re packing up an entire home!
Try to keep the packing process relaxed to help your pets stay calm. Bring in moving boxes early, pack slowly and without stressing, and keep talking to your pet to explain the changes to them. Make sure their favorite toys or bed stay out, so they have them for comfort, and try to keep their routine as normal as possible during the packing process.
When moving day finally comes, you have a few options. Truly skittish animals might do best at a familiar friend’s house until the move is complete; while emotionally needy animals might want to be packed into the car first, so they feel secure that they’re coming with you. Keep your animal away from the movers and the moving truck, so they don’t get scared, but close to your family members.
Making the Trip
Many big moves involve long distances, and the actual travel time between your old and new homes can be a stress in and of itself. If your pet rarely travels, they’re probably not used to spending time in transit. If you’re going to be moving a long distance, then it’s good to spend the weeks before the move getting them accustomed to their crate.
You might do this by putting their food inside of their open crate – they’ll eventually have to go inside to eat. Once your pets get acclimated to being inside of the open crate, try closing the crate while they eat so they’re comfortable inside of the closed crate.
Begin to take your pet with you on short drives around the neighborhood – in or out of the crate – so they’re used to being in the car. Give them treats on the trips to develop a positive association with travel, so that when the big move comes, they’re excited, rather than anxious, to travel.
Your New Home
Arriving at your new home doesn’t mean the adjustment period is over. Instead of letting your pet loose in an empty and unfamiliar space, introduce them to the house slowly, so they’re not overwhelmed.
Choose which room will be “theirs,” and fill it with their favorite toys, treats, food, and water. Keep some of the other rooms closed off, so they don’t begin marking territories. Once they’re comfortable in one room, begin to bring them into the other parts of the house, always accompanying them to make for a smooth transition.
Remember, moving can be more stressful on your pets than it is on you, so take some time and put in the extra effort to ensure that moving to a new home is a smooth experience for even your four-legged family members. With a bit of love and patience, they’ll be back to ruling the roost in no time.