How to Help Your Pets Adjust to a New Home
If you dread moving, just imagine how much your pets do too. Having to relocate your entire home is stressful enough for humans but you may not be aware of how it affects your beloved dogs. Undeniably, moving with pets adds an extra layer of difficulty to an already harrowing process. Along with time management and somehow getting your entire house unpacked in a reasonable timeframe, you also have to think about the stress your move places on your furry friend. In fact, your new home is much more than a simply change of scenery for them.
Whether you have dogs or cats, they are all creatures of habit that thrive on routine. Many have a set pattern that they will follow daily and any disruption to their environment can cause reasonable anxiety. While we can’t necessarily explain to them what’s going on, in the same way we can tell our kids, there are steps you can take to maintain stability and reduce stress.
By following our tips outlined below you can make the moving process slightly less painful and help your pets quickly adjust to their new home.
Pets are like children, and moving with them requires extra attention during the planning stage. Here are some things you should do prior to your move to help you plan ahead and avoid any surprises:
- Get your pet microchipped. If your dog or cat isn’t microchipped already, this will help them be identified if they ever get lost. When moving, make sure that your address and phone number is up-to-date on their microchip.
- Make sure they have identification. It’s not uncommon for pets to become lost during a household move. To avoid the pain and stress that comes from having a lost pet, make sure that they have an ID tag on their collar that has your contact information.
- Find a new vet. Don’t wait until your pet becomes sick or gets injured to secure a veterinarian in your new area. Do your research and check if they’ll need any preventative medications or new vaccinations. For instance, does your new location make your pet vulnerable to heartworm, leptospirosis, or ticks?
- Consult the local laws. Although your landlord may allow your Pitbull, unfortunately, some neighborhood associations, insurance companies, and even local governments do not allow particular breeds. Check with the laws in your area for breed bans, know the leash regulations, and find out if you need a new license.
Try to Maintain a Routine
Even though it may be difficult, try your best to stick to a routine. Your pet likely eats and goes for a walk at the same times each day. While this may sound boring to you, it’s how they navigate and make sense of their day. Disparities are bound to happen, but your pet relies on a relatively set schedule
When it comes to adjusting to a new home, it is more important than ever to try to maintain a routine. Do your best to keep your dog on their schedule while moving, even if that means stopping in the middle of a task to take them for a walk. The closer you adhere to their usual routine while getting settled, the easier it will be for them to adjust to all of the changes that come with moving into a new home.
Pack an Essentials Bag
In addition to packing your own bag of essential items that you need easy access to during the first few days of your move, you’ll also want to pack a pet essentials bag. That way, you won’t have to go rummaging through boxes to find toys, treats, food and water bowls, and anything else pet-specific. You’ll be glad that you kept all of these items in one place, especially when it comes time to set up their space in your new home
Set Up Your Pet’s Space ASAP
As soon as your movers have unloaded the last box into your new home, set up your pet’s space. Find a corner that you can dedicate to them and place their toys, bed, blankets, and a bowl of fresh water. This allows your dog, or cat, to have a place full of familiar smells and items that they can find comforting. With these items, your pet will feel at home, regardless of where they are.
This space doesn’t have to be where you intend to keep their things permanently. It serves more as a temporary space that will go a long way toward keeping your pet comfortable and easing their move-induced anxiety. Additionally, make sure to leave your pet’s stuff alone for a couple weeks until they’re used to the new place. Resist your urge to buy him a new bed, toys, or water bowls.
Give Lots of Love
When you move, you unavoidably become overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done and a short amount of time. While you may never consider yourself someone who ignores your animals or skips a walk, the hectic and time-consuming nature of moving makes anything possible. It’s simply unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to give your pets as much attention as you do when you’re not moving.
However, do your best to ensure that they get some extra TLC to help them get through the relocation. Give them plenty of affection and try to squeeze some quality time in between tasks. Setting aside a few moments for belly rubs or to play fetch will help reassure your pets that everything is okay. Although you may be running around like a chicken with your head cut off, they are still your top priority.
Stay Home for the First Few Days
It can take some time for your pet to understand that this space is their new home. In the meantime, when possible, try to stay home for the first couple days. Even if you have to take a few days off of work or turn down plans with friends, sticking by your pet’s side will help them adjust faster. In an ideal world, you shouldn’t leave your pet alone for more than a few minutes during the first 3-4 day sin the new home. This gives them plenty of time to acclimate with their security blanket (you) right alongside them the whole way.
If you do need to leave, for whatever reason, try to take them with you or leave them with a trusted family member or friend. When the time does come to start leaving them alone in your new home, ease into it slowly. For instance, maybe start with just 10 minutes and then increase the time gradually.
By far, the best thing you can do to help your pets adjust to a new home is to practice patience. Understand that they are going through something especially tough, and try to go out of your way to be compassionate and make it as easy for them as you possibly can. If your pet does something out of the norm, like have an accident inside, recognize that this is a reaction caused by the stress and anxiety of the move. They are doing the best they can. Follow the tips outlined above and you should greatly reduce possible negative behaviors and help your pet get acclimated to your new home quickly.
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