Moving to a new home can be stressful for everyone! While your two-legged family is feeling the stress of new jobs, new schools for the kids, and a whole new neighborhood of strangers to meet, remember that Fido & Bella are feeling pressures too!
Animals dread seeing your suitcases come out, even if your trips are short. Imagine what they think when all of your belongings (and theirs) are packed into boxes and carried away, and the home they love gets emptied. To them, the house sounds different, smells different, looks different, and they probably don’t understand what’s happening. They may even be terrified of being abandoned, especially if they’ve ever been rescued from a troubled past.
Here are 5 Ways to Ensure Your Pets’ Safety and Comfort During Your Next Move:
Packing Up Your Home
Animals—especially cats—are not fond of change. You can help your furry friends adjust to their move by keeping them in a quiet, familiar space with the door shut, or by bringing your empty boxes into the house for a few days before you start packing them. This way, they’ll have a chance to familiarize themselves with the new scents, and they won’t become overwhelmed by everything happening at once.
Choosing Your New Home
Make sure to keep your pet’s needs in mind when choosing your new home. Is there room in the house to install a doggy door? Dogs will need access to a yard, so a condo could prove problematic. There are condo-friendly porch potties available, but not every dog will embrace the go on a tiny square.
Cats, on the other hand, need vertical space to climb. Does your prospective new home have an area to put a climbing tree? Space for a litter box? Is it safe for them to go outdoors to play and explore?
Traveling with Pets
If your animals are not crate-trained, help them adjust by allowing them to familiarize themselves with their new crate—and get comfortable with it—before you start your move. You can begin by putting their food bowls inside the crate while leaving the door open. As they acclimate, try short periods of time with the door closed. Give them a treat and a snuggle when they come out to reinforce their good behavior.
Once you’ve made it this far, you’re on a roll! Next, try a short drive around the block with pet and crate. Repeat daily. After a couple of weeks, your pets will begin to adjust, and the whole move will feel less threatening to them (and you).
Making Your New Home Safe for Your Pets
It’s exciting to move into a new home! The first things you’ll want to do are explore and start putting your personal touches on each room. But, in your excitement, don’t forget to look out for potential dangers to your animals. They’ll be very curious and possibly quite scared. Make sure there is no way they can sneak out of the house and get lost! Look carefully at the areas they can reach: cover electrical cords that look fun to chomp, and block tight areas where they may get stuck. Carefully inspect the garage, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and backyard for any rodent traps or poisoned bait. Also, make sure there are no poisonous plants within reach.
Home Sweet Home
When you get to your new house, do the same thing you did when you were packing: put Bella and Fido in a quiet, safe spot where they can relax and acclimate to the strange sounds of their new home. Once the truck is unloaded and all the home’s doors are closed, you can slowly let your pets explore one room at a time.
For the first few days, keep fresh food and water in or near their crate (plus a litter box for the cat), but also add a second feeding station to a permanent location so pets will go to that area at mealtime once you put the crates away. Do the same thing for kitty’s litter box so she doesn’t get confused and mess up the floor where her temporary litter box and crate used to be.
Once they’re comfortable, you can gradually introduce your pets to the rest of the house, and put away their crates.
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