When it’s time to move, that means the whole family—including your pets. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPA), an astounding 65% of U.S. homes have pets.
As moving may be stressful for you, it’s way more stressful for your pets. They have no idea what’s going on. Your dog doesn’t know there’s an awesome dog park awaiting his arrival and your cat has no idea about the new cat tree next to the big window waiting for bird viewing. All they know is their secure environment is being dismantled.
If you can board or kennel your pet on moving day, that might be the best solution for you both. If that’s not possible, below are a few tips for moving with a cat or dog.
Cats aren’t fond of change, so consider these points to smooth their transition to a new home:
- Feed your cat only a small amount at a time on the day of the move. This will help to reduce stomach upset resulting from anxiety, longer time in their carrier and the new environment.
- Before the movers arrive, have your cat secured in a small room with litter and an open cat carrier lined with a soft blanket. The cat can “hide” there until you’re ready to transport it to your new home. Do the same at your new house until all of the unloading activity is over.
- Set up your cat in a small room of your new house with litter and food. Often the bathroom off your bedroom is the best room to use. You can slowly acclimate them to their new home by allowing them access one room at a time. This will keep a cat from feeling scared and overwhelmed by a large, unfamiliar space.
- Put a litter box where you plan to keep it permanently. As your cat discovers the rest of the home, they’ll find it, and you can then remove the temporary box from its location.
Dogs find security in their social group, their routine and familiar surroundings, so…
- Make sure they have identification on their collar should they slip away through an open door during the commotion or if they become frightened. Better to keep your dog on a leash and ask a familiar person to be your dog’s companion for the day.
- If you’re on your own to manage the move and the dog, have their crate or a gate ready to secure the dog in one room at both ends of the move. If your dog is crate trained or sleeps in a crate, this is where they might feel most secure.
- In your new home, put their water bowl and bed in the places you want them permanently. Try to put them in similar locations to where they are in your current home. Put out the dog’s toys. Stick to their same feeding and sleeping schedule.
- Give the dog a good walk first and then allow them to explore every new corner and smell of their new home while still on a leash. Go with them to interrupt any thought of “marking their territory.”
- Spend time with your dog just hanging out watching TV or whatever you do to relax. Dogs can read body language very well, and it will help them see you doing what you’ve always done in a relaxed manner.
And remember, whether you have a cat or a dog, affection, playtime and treats go a long way towards creating a positive experience.