It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across the country or across town, a move from one home to another is stressful for pets for a number of reasons. Not only are they being placed into a strange environment, but there will also be new sights, new smells, new sounds…and all of that can cause anxiety, fear, and even depression for our animals.
But don’t worry! If you take the proper precautions to look out for your dog or cat’s best interest, you can significantly reduce the amount of stress they feel during and after your move.
Your Pet Shouldn’t be an Afterthought when Moving
You’ve found a new place. You’ve hired movers. You’ve started to pack. You’ve notified utility companies, found a new gym, changed your address with the post office…but wait. You may have missed one thing. How will you prepare your pet for the move?
This is something that few people think about, and it’s understandable. There are so many other things happening when getting ready to move. But in truth, a move can be unnerving for our pets. No one can explain to them what’s happening, and they will certainly feel the stress.
You can greatly reduce that stress by taking the following measures:
#1: Acclimate them to the Carrier
If you’ll be using a carrier in the car or the on the plane, it’s never too early to familiarize your pet with that carrier. Make it fun by putting treats and toys inside and let them explore it on their terms. And when your dog or cat goes inside that carrier, reward them to make it an overall positive experience.
#2: Practice the Transport
If you’ll be driving your pet to your new home and they’re not accustomed to riding in the car, it’s important to start practicing that now. Make car rides a regular occurrence with lots of rewards and positive reinforcement so there won’t be added stress on the day of the move.
#3: Avoid Dangers During Packing
When you’re packing for a move, items will be out of cabinets and closets—and some of those things could be toxic or dangerous should your pet chew on them or ingest them. Be mindful of what you leave lying around or secure your pet away from packing areas.
#4: Give Your Pet a Calm Space During Packing
If you’re having a big packing day, with lots of items being moved around, it might be best to secure your dog or cat in a safe space, away from the commotion. Not only will this help to prevent injury (as covered in #3), but it will also help to reduce your pet’s anxiety.
#5: Consult with a Veterinarian
Have a veterinarian check your pet’s overall health before the move. They can look for any underlying conditions that could contribute to the stress your pet feels, make sure they’re healthy enough to handle that stress, and even prescribe medication to help alleviate anxiety.
#6: Secure Your Pet During the Move
Dogs and cats can get hurt if they’re underfoot during the move. They can also slip out open doors and run into traffic or get lost.
#7: Keep Things “As Usual” During Transport
Follow the same routine for crating, restraining, and transporting when making the actual move as you did when training your pet for the day. This should feel like just another ride in the car for them.
#8: Secure Your Pet in the New Home
Just as you had to make sure your dog or cat was safe when exiting your old place, you’ll have to protect them from getting underfoot, chewing on random objects, ingesting harmful substances, and running out open doors when moving in and unpacking.
#9: Recreate Your Pet’s Safe Space
As soon as you arrive at your new house or apartment, place your pet’s things (bed, crate, toys, etc.) in a relatively quiet area and allow them to become acclimated to that room. Once your dog or cat is calm there, you can show them the rest of the place, one room at a time.
#10: Keep Your Pet’s Routine Intact
Dogs and cats are comforted by routine. When their daily agenda is disrupted, it can be a source of anxiety and feelings of uncertainty…which can lead to excess stress and even separation issues. Keep feeding, walks, and bedtime the same as they always were.
#11: Stay at Home for a Few Days if Possible
Your best friend sees you as a source of normalcy and reassurance. Leaving them alone in a strange place for extended periods of time can lead to the development of nervousness and behavioral issues. If you’re able, take a few days off work right after the move to help them settle.
#12: Hire a Professional Pet Transporter
If you’re driving cross-country, or your pet is too large to fly in-cabin with you, you might want to consider a professional pet transportation company. Also known as “pet shippers,” these people know how to deal with an animal’s stress and are experts at getting pets from Point A to Point B as painlessly and as quickly as possible. Of course, do your research and choose one with a great reputation.
Let’s not Forget Exercise After the Move
It’s easy to abandon routine in the wake of a move, and your dog’s walks can fall by the wayside. Those walks are important for keeping your dog happy, healthy, and the exercise will help to relieve anxiety.
Even if you don’t have the time after your move to walk your dog, you can have it done for you by proven professionals like those at Majestic Pets. If you’re moving to the Chicago area, look into our services, including dog walking, cat sitting, and overnight stays. We want the absolute best for your pet, and we’re ready to book a meet-and-greet as soon as you are.