As exciting as it can be, most people would agree that moving is stressful.
Packing, loading, cleaning, and more can cause stress in the most calmest of humans during this time. Our pets may not have the same causes of stress that we do, but everything is changing for them too.
Just as we know every inch of our former home, so do our pets. They know all the street sounds, the smells of their yard, their place in the home, and the routine of their family. This all changes when we relocate. Suddenly, without explanation (as they can’t understand), the home they’ve lived in is gone. This can create real anxiety in our pets no matter how easygoing they may be normally.
Some ways to help them adjust to their new home include:
- If traveling for a longer distance in a car with your pet, it’s a good idea to keep a leash on them at all times. Strange noises and places can cause a dog or cat to react differently than when taking a normal drive. A pet carrier or a crate would reduce the worry that a scared dog or cat will bolt.
- Keep up their normal routine. Take them for walks at their normal times (as much as possible considering some moves may change time zones).
- Set up their “place” in your new home as soon as possible and reward them for going there.
- Try not to introduce new people at the same time you are acquainting your pet with the home.
- Allow several days for your pet to resume a more normal manner. It may take a few weeks before your pet fully adjusts. Be patient.
- Using a crate or a carrier would also provide a secure environment for your pet in the home as furniture and boxes are moved in. This activity requires a lot of door openings and each one presents an opportunity for a frightened or anxious pet to get out in an unfamiliar place.
- Some pets would do better with confinement to a single room in the house with limited periods of exploring their new home. This also allows the owner to control where a pet could possibly hide. Cats are well known for their ability to “disappear” into a small space. A new home has unknown places for this to occur.
- Try to provide some extra physical exercise for your dog. Taking a few minutes to throw a ball or a frisbee in a secure location will do wonders for your pup (and for you!)
- Be patient. This really can’t be stressed enough. Your animal just had everything familiar removed from their life and there’s no way to explain what’s happening. An accident in the new home, or fearful behavior, or hiding is not uncommon and will get better with some time.
These simple steps can help during a stressful time for all family members and let you all enjoy your new home.