Moving to a new home can be a fun and exciting time for a family, but for animals it can be quite stressful. Here are some simple tips to make your move much more comfortable for your four-legged friends!
1. Stick to their normal routine.
If you normally walk your dog at 7, be sure to take a break from packing at that time to do that. Sticking to their schedule will keep pets calm and give you a break as well.
2. Keep them occupied.
The act of packing, moving furniture, and others such "changes" can be a cause of stress for many animals. Find something to keep them occupied and stop them from focusing on these changes. Keep cats in a quiet room with their food and water. For anxious dogs, try filling a hollow toy or bone with peanut butter.
3. Set up a safe place.
If possible, go to your new home early and set up a space for your pet in a quiet, out of the way area. Be sure to include their bed, blanket or crate, some toys, and of course plenty of water. On moving day bring your pet to their safe place BEFORE you begin moving your belongings. Doing this not only shelters your pet from undue stress, but also prevents them from getting in the way, getting stepped on, or getting outside.
4. Prevent runaways.
It's very common for a frightened animal to run away, and in a new neighborhood they can get lost quite easily. Before letting your dog out, check the fence in your new backyard for any loose boards or spaces they may be able to slip through. Keep outdoor cats inside until they're comfortable in their new environment. If your cat is hiding, acting aggressive, or displaying any behaviors not usual for them, they are not ready to go outside.
5. Give them their space.
It may take your pet awhile to get used to their new home, give them all the time they need. Cats especially may need more "alone time" than usual. If you have children be sure to explain this to them. Don't take your pet's unusual behavior personally, they'll come around!
6. Assign a family member to pet duty.
If possible, assign one family member the responsibility of following these steps and keeping the pet safe and comfortable. It will be their duty to set up the safe place, make sure the pet's schedule is followed, and keep them out of harms way during the move. This is a great job to give a responsible older child or a family member who may not be able to help with the physical aspect of moving.
Remember, we all need time to adjust to new situations, even pets! By following these simple steps you can make moving a fun and enjoyable time for the entire family.