If you think moving to a new home is stressful for you, try looking at it from the point of view of your pet. They see you packing boxes and suitcases and immediately they know something is getting ready to happen. Since they can’t ask you what’s going on, it’s your job to make them feel at ease throughout the process.
Check out the new neighborhood: You’ll want to make sure your new place is comfortable for your pets too. For dogs, walk the neighborhood with him, taking note of homes with aggressive animals or those left unattended. Dogs also love backyards to run in, so a fenced-in yard is ideal for them. A neighborhood park works too. For cats, they need places they can climb, especially if they’re going to be indoors. Indoor cats will benefit from rooms with sunny spots and creating places where they can climb either on a tower or on the newer wall-mounted steps made just for them.
When you’re packing: It’s a good idea to keep nervous critters in a familiar room that you can pack up last to avoid making them more nervous. It also helps to begin the packing well in advance of the move. That way, they get used to seeing boxes around the house and will feel less threatened by something new.
Moving day: Keeping them at a friend’s house or in one room with the door shut is your best option. You wouldn’t want your dog or cat to get nervous and accidentally run out an open door in all the chaos.
Road trips: If your move involves more than a short drive, you’ll want to get your pet used to being in their crate or carrier. Do this several weeks before the actual trip, taking them on short drives first, and gradually increasing the time. For cats, who are known to resist change, leave the carrier out where they can see it, maybe putting a favorite toy or treat inside it. This should ease their tension and help them make the connection that not all car rides end at the vet’s office.
Settling in: Once your reach your destination, be it nearby or far away, your pet will have lots of nervous energy. It’s best to secure them into one room of the new home as the unloading is done, and slowly introduce them to more of the house over the first few days. Set up things that are familiar to them, such as their food and water bowls, toys, beds and litter boxes.
The lay of the new land: Just as you would want to check out the amenities your new surroundings have for you, this is also important for your pets. Find a good veterinarian, locate the best dog parks and take your dog out to meet your new neighbors.
Stay calm: Our pets take their cues from our emotions. If moving has turned you into a nervous wreck, take a deep breath and remember they’re there to help us in their own ways. Nothing de-stresses you like a wagging tale or a soft purr, so step back and spend some time with them. A peaceful home is a happy home…even when it’s in transition.