How to get pets over the stress of moving to a new home (Part II of series on moving with pets)
Moving is considered one of the three most stressful events to deal with in a lifetime. If you are stressed, imagine what your fur kids are feeling. Your home or apartment is turned upside down getting ready for the move, routines may be off, and then there’s moving day when by now everyone’s nerves are frayed.
Of course the stress doesn’t stop when the moving truck pulls away with all your belongings. A world of change awaits you when you enter your new home. Considering that pets are most comfortable when they are in familiar surroundings; the change can put your dogs and cats into a tailspin. And of course, the change is even more dramatic and stressful if the move involves relocating hundreds of miles away.
There are lots of good tips online for reducing your pets’ stress while moving. Here are a few of them:
Maintain your regular routine: Pets need a sense of stability. The longer you can maintain their regular routine throughout the move, the better. Keep to your regular schedule for as long as you can when it comes to walks, feedings, playing, bedtime, grooming and even cuddling.
Keep pets in a quiet space during move: You’ll want to keep your pets away from the chaos as much as possible. Find the quietest room in your current home and place a sign on the door so the movers know the room should remain closed as they are moving boxes and furniture.
Familiarize pets with travel kennel: While cats may be used to the kennel as they go to and from the vet, dogs may not be. If you are moving a long distance and it involves plane travel in particular, get your dog used to the crate before the journey. Give your dog rewards for spending time in the crate and sit with them when they are in it so they feel calm.
Long distance travel: Have a bag of supplies ready for the travel if it’s a long distance. Include medications, vet paperwork, food and treats, leashes, and clean-up bags.
Gradual introduction to new home: Let your pets adjust to one room at a time in your new home. Outfit the room with their favorite toys, treats, water and food. When they seem comfortable, gradually allow them into other rooms but still keep some rooms off limits for a few days. Over time, relocate the cat litter box from the initial room it's in to its permanent location.
Get back into routine quickly: Get your pets back into their normal routine as soon as possible. Also relative to moves that involve a time change, if breakfast feeding is 8 am, for example, feed your pets at 8 even if there is a time difference. Your pets soon will adjust to the time difference.
Keep a close eye on your pet’s behavior: If possible, take time off work – even a few days – to be with your pets during the initial adjustment to help them get over anxiety being in an unfamiliar place.
Above all, try to stay as calm as possible during this very trying time. Your pets will feel your anxiety. The less stress you display, the less your pets will feel anxious.