Whether relocating to a new state or just down the block within your local community, moving can be a stressful time for pets in the family. You may recall that early 90’s movie “Homeward Bound” where the two dogs and cat venture away from their vacation residence and travel through the California wilderness to return home… well, your pet might not be quite as daring, but you may want to consider these tips to help your pet adjust to your new house.
Dogs and cats are the most common 4-leged family members and can experience emotional upheaval when placed in a new location. Cats, especially, love familiarity and routine and can act out in different ways when stressed. Some affectionate cats may withdraw or vice versa. Others may mark their territory or exhibit destructive behavior. Dogs may also mark or be destructive, or can have stress-related behavior such as panting or aggression.
The best way to prevent these problems is to prepare the animals in advance. Place your pet’s carrier or car-restraint device out in the area where the animal spends lots of time so they can explore it and get used to its scent. If your pet associates the carrier only with trips to the vet, try making some fun outings to a park. Then, when it is moving day, your pet will be more likely to be relaxed while travelling.
Some pets get anxious when they see people packing, so see if a neighbor can watch your pet while the movers are boxing things up and loading the truck. Then, put your animal in your vehicle after it is packed up as well. Cats may benefit from having a light blanket placed over their carrier while in a moving car to help keep them calm.
If your move will require overnight stays, plan ahead to make sure the hotel will allow pets. Check for any hazards or hiding places before letting your pets roam free in the room. Keep a close eye on them, as they might be tempted to run out the door in this unfamiliar setting.
When you arrive at your new home, keep your pet contained until all of your belongings have been unpacked, as best as possible. Set up your new home in a similar arrangement as your former, if you can, to help familiarize your pet to the new surroundings with reminders of how things used to be.
Keep to your pet’s usual feeding and activity time and try to avoid any other major changes for the first few weeks or months. And remember, pets can sense your mood, so if you are calm and happy about the move, then chances are your pet will be too!