Pets experience anxiety about a move, just like the other members of their family. While you can talk to young children to prepare them for an upcoming move, your favorite canine or feline simply can’t always understand your words. The good news is that you have many ways to help soothe your pet’s worries. Implementing these strategies as soon as you know you’re moving can ease your pet’s anxiety and help them acclimate to their new home faster.
1. Hire Professional Movers to Free Up Time for Your Pet
Similar to children, pets need more supervision during a move than you might be able to give if you are constantly shuffling boxes around. Hiring professional movers allows you to delegate major tasks that take up your attention. As the movers work, you can tend to your pet, which helps to alleviate their anxiety. Whether you play with your pet in the backyard while the movers do the packing or take them to a special part of the house while they load boxes, you’ll be able to keep your attention directed towards your favorite animal.
2. Try to Stick to Your Normal Routine
Your pet depends upon their routine to feel safe in the world, and nothing fuels anxiety like wondering when they will get their next meal. While it might be difficult, sticking to a routine during the move helps your pet feel secure. If necessary, recruit help with making sure your pet gets their daily walk or assign another family member to feed them on time when you’re signing paperwork for your new home.
3. Visit Your New Home Before the Big Move
Animals prefer familiar places, and you can bet that your pet will want to explore their new environment. If possible, take your pet to the new house before the main moving day. If you cannot go inside just yet, then you might still be able to let them sniff around the front yard and neighboring areas.
4. Keep Treats and Toys Accessible
Many pets are territorial regarding their toys, and seeing their favorite ball or chew toy get tossed into a box is upsetting for animals. Plus, having a ball to play fetch with is a great way to help your pet burn off any anxious energy they develop. Try to make sure that your pet’s favorite toys stay close by, and let your movers know that you prefer to keep them around until the move is complete. You might also opt to pack your pet a special box of new toys that you can bring out anytime they are especially anxious. Distraction is a wonderful method for keeping pets calm as new people work around the house.
5. Stay Close to Your Pet During Moving Day
On the big day, you’ll find that your pet is happier when you are able to stick by their side. You might decide to designate a special room where you and other family members can hang out with your pet while the movers work. Or, you could opt to take your pet to their favorite dog park while the bulk of loading up the truck is completed by professionals. Where you hang out with your pet is up to you but making them a priority helps to eliminate potentially challenging behaviors such as excessive barking or trying to run away.
6. Give Them a Safe Space While You Set Up
Once you get to your new home, you’ll want to establish a safe space in the area where they can rest and play while you unpack all your boxes. If your pet is crate trained, then you might put them in the same room where most of the action is happening. If they tend to roam more freely, then you can set up a pet gate to block off a safe area where your pet won’t be in the way of people carrying heavy boxes or furniture. Soon, you’ll be able to let them roam free and explore their new environment. Most pets quickly adjust to their new home once it’s set up, but you might still need to give your favorite animal a little extra love and care for the first few days.
Throughout your move, you might notice that your pet’s anxiety comes and goes. Taking the time to stay attuned to their mood can make it easier to know when to give them a little extra love and care. Once you’ve all settled into your new home, you’ll love watching as your pet begins to explore their new surroundings as they return your efforts to keep them calm with plenty of affection.
By: Katherine Robinson, a writer for Allied Van Lines