If you’ve ever uprooted an older cat from their happy home, you’re all too familiar with the anxiety pets can experience when they experience a drastic change in their environment. Of course, there are many situations in which such changes are unavoidable, and moving to a new home is one of them. That said, there are some ways you can prepare your pet for the move and reduce the stress of moving for both you and your pet.
Bring Favorite Items to Ease the Transition
Dogs and cats have a sophisticated sense of smell, and they often rely on this sense more than others when it comes to making sense of their environment. That’s why dogs tend to exhaustively sniff every square inch of new objects (and people) that suddenly appear in their space. You can take advantage of the smell-oriented nature of your pets to help ease the transition to your new home.
Instead of tossing out that old ratty blanket your dog sleeps on every night, consider taking it with you. Having a familiar object heavily scented with the smell of home and themselves will help your pet feel more at home even in a new environment. The same goes for their food and water bowls, beds, crates, and toys. The more familiar the items they’re surrounded by, the more relaxed your pets will be.
Hire a Pet Sitter for a Few Days
If moving will take place over several days with many trips back and forth, hiring a pet sitter to care for your pets for a few days can ease the anxiety associated with the move for both you and your pet. If your pet is in the care of a loving, qualified pet sitter or boarder, you don’t have to worry about them making an escape in all the commotion of furniture moving and propped-open doors.
Know the Warning Signs of Anxiety and Aggression
It’s possible that your pets will be exposed to strange people during or after a move. While this is a perfectly acceptable situation for many pets, others get anxious and fearful in the presence of people they don’t know. If your pets will be around young children they’re not used to, for instance, you’ll want to be aware of potential warning signs that may be a precursor to aggression.
Look for signs such as lip licking, folded-back ears, frozen posture, or spiked-up hair along the spine when your pet is interacting with strangers. If you notice any indications that your pet is anxious or uncomfortable, take action immediately to remove your pet from the situation until a better introduction can be made. The last thing you want to deal with while trying to move to a new home is an injury to a friend or child caused by your dog who was lashing out in fear.
Set Up a Safe Room
If possible, set up a room dedicated to your pets in your new home before you move your pets. Fill the space with comforting, familiar objects such as your pet’s favorite toys, blanket, and crate (or kennel). Familiar scents in the room will make your pet feel at ease, plus you can contain your pet in this smaller space while you get your belongings organized without exposing them to the hustle and bustle of unpacking.
You should also plan to move your pets last so that they can remain in the home they already know as long as possible. When you do bring them to your new home, it will already be filled with the furniture and other belongings that are familiar to them, which can help to reduce the shock of being uprooted from their home.
As exciting as it can be to move to a new home, it’s anything but fun for many pets. With a few precautions and a bit of planning, you can make the transition to your new home as easy and stress-free as possible, even for an anxious pet.