Moving With Pets: Tips For Animal Lovers

MovingThere’s a lot to consider when you’re trying to choose a new home for your family. Is the kitchen big enough? Are there enough bedrooms? Is there plenty of room to store all my camping and sports equipment? Does the home have a bonus space that can be used for a game/playroom, office or guest bedroom? How does the neighborhood school rank? What’s the proximity to a grocery store, shopping and entertainment?

Your real estate agent has probably asked your preference on these questions and more, but one thing you may not have considered is what makes a good home for your four-legged friend. Your pet — or pets — is very much a part of your family, and whether you have kids and animals, or your only babies are “fur-babies”, there are some important factors to consider when you are looking for a home and moving with pets.

Is it pet-friendly? 

If you are moving to an apartment, condo or neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, be sure to find out rules and guidelines for pet ownership. Check city ordinances as well. There may be restrictions on breed, size, or number of animals, and even walking/leash rules that apply. Most cities require pets to be registered, so be sure to know the regulations before you make your move. If you’re a dog-owner and moving to the center of the city, be sure to choose a place with green space nearby where you can take your dog for play, exercise and socialization.

Does the home suit your pet’s needs? 

If you own a large dog, like a German Shepherd or Great Dane, be sure there is space large enough for your pet to roam. If the home itself is small, is there a large outdoor space or a dog park nearby? Will your pet have easy access to outdoor space, even a patio or balcony? Is the yard fenced and secure? Keeping both your pet’s safety and comfort in mind can make the transition easier for your four-legged friend, and help reduce problems when you’re away. Be sure your pet has their own “safe” space, whether it’s a crate or soft bed.

Once you’ve chosen your new home and prepare to move, taking time to prepare your pet for the transition can help eliminate anxiety that may result in accidents or bad behavior. A change of environment can be stressful for your pet. Here are some tips to help your pet adjust to new surroundings.

Reduce anxiety 

The packing and moving process can be a source of great excitement and stress for your pet. Take this into consideration before moving day arrives. Depending on your pet’s personality, it may be best to arrange for them to stay with a friend, family member or at a local doggy daycare on moving day. If your pet prefers to be close to you, move their crate to a quiet place, away from the chaos of moving.

Be consistent

As much as possible, keep the same schedule for feeding, walks, playtime and bedtime. If your old place had a pet door, be sure to set one up in your new home, if possible. Animals are a lot like kids in that they adapt to a routine and any shift in that routine can throw them off. For your pet’s well-being — and your sanity — be consistent.

Don’t forget the favorites

Whether it’s a toy, bed, crate or food and water bowls, your pet may be attached to their personal items and while you may be tempted to get all new ones for the new home, doing so may only increase anxiety for your friend. Rather than introduce new items, plan to bring the old to your new place and put them in similar places as they were in your previous home. This will help your pet feel comfortable and at home more quickly. Rather than packing these items away in a box before the move, pack them in a bag or other easily accessible carrier right before you head to your new home so they’ll be easy to find.

Keep them safe 

Seeing all the boxes and suitcases may be worrisome or frightening for your pet. One of the first things you can do in your new home to keep your pet safe is to set up a safe place where they can’t get lost or hurt. If you have a feline friend, help your cat adapt to the new place by keeping them secure in the location where their litter box and food bowls are located for a few days. This can help prevent your cat from having accidents in your new home while they become familiar with the new place. Don’t forget to update your contact information on your pet’s tags and be sure your veterinarian and microchip records are up-to-date.

It can take time for a pet to adjust to their new environment. Allow them time to explore and don’t stress if they hide for a while. You may notice some temporary behavioral changes, such as differences in eating and bathroom habits, barking more than usual and even aggressive behaviors. These should pass with time, but if they persist or you have concerns, talk to your veterinarian or a professional trainer.

A little extra love can go a long way in helping your pet feel at home in their new surroundings. If you’re committed to helping your pet make the transition, they are sure to live happily with you in your new home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *