So you’ve decided it is time to find a new home and are getting ready for the big move. You have all of the usual items on your to-do list such as paying your rent or mortgage, turning utilities off at your old residence and on at your new home, packing, cleaning, organizing, etc. But what about your pet? How does he or she fit into the move?
Moving tops the list of stressful events in a person’s life and it can be stressful for pets, too. It may even be more stressful for some pets, because they don’t know why everything is changing. However, don’t fret! Here are seven things to do when moving to help make the transition as smooth as possible for your pet.
1. Consider Your Pet’s Needs When Choosing a Home
When deciding you are ready to move and looking for your next home, make a list of the things you need for your pet. For example, maybe you want a front and back yard, a park nearby, or a fence around the home. Show this list to your real estate agent so he or she can find homes that match your criteria. Ensuring your pet has the space they need will create a happier life for you and your pet.
Interestingly, according to a 2018 Realtor.com survey, 79% of millennial home-buying pet owners who bought property, said they would turn down an otherwise perfect home if it didn’t meet the needs of their pet(s).
2. Bring Your Pet to the New House Before Moving
Before you move, if it is reasonable to do so, bring the pet over to the new house. This is especially important for pets that roam the house, like dogs and cats. Doing so, you allow your pet to get familiar with the place so when you move them in for good, it is not a complete shock.
If have a dog, it can also be helpful to walk them around the neighborhood so they get acquainted with the sights and smells of their new territory.
3. Keep Up With Your Daily Routines
Pets are creatures of habit and when your routine completely changes, it can cause stress and confusion. While moving can be very time-consuming, try to stick to the same schedule during and immediately after a move with your pet. For example, feed them at the same time, take them for a walk at the usual time (if applicable), and spend time playing with them when you usually do.
It might be inconvenient when you have boxes everywhere that need to be unpacked, but doing so gives your pet a sense of stability and reassurance amid all of the change.
4. Create a Space for Your Pet in the New Home
When preparing to bring your pet over to the new house, make sure you have a space for them.
“My dog, Champ, had a corner in the living room where we kept his bed and all his toys. While he roamed around, that was always where he rested,” said dog owner, Ashley Milton. “When we moved, we set up all of his stuff in the living room in a similar way. Then, when we brought him over, he went straight to his comfort spot and was wagging his tail like crazy. He explored the whole home, but returned to that spot to relax.”
Like Champ, your pet will appreciate some familiarity and a spot they can call their own. Also, it helps to give them food and water shortly after arriving to show them right away that they will be taken care of in the new place. Your pet’s belongings should be the last thing you pack and the first thing you unpack.
5. Reduce Stress on Packing and Moving Days
If you are doing most of your packing in one or two days, it creates a lot of commotion that can unsettle your animal(s). Further, moving day, of course, is usually hectic and busy. To help keep your pet at ease, and to make the move easier for you, see if you can find a pet sitter for big packing and moving days. Then, your pet can relax in a peaceful environment until all of the work is done.
If you are moving a long distance, try to make the travel as comfortable as possible for your pet. This can mean doing things, like spending a little extra money on a direct flight, bringing along treats and toys, or making pit stops during a long drive. Learn about other pet relocation tips so that the move is as gentle on your pet as possible.
6. Try to Relax
Animals can pick up on your emotions so if you are very stressed, your pet may feel that, too. Plan ahead as much as you can and break down your to-do list so it is more spread out. Also, enlist the help of friends and family members or a third-party moving service to lighten your load.
Then, as it comes time for the actual move, you can just walk through the motions while remaining calm and cool! And don’t underestimate the power of squeezing in an impromptu yoga class. Also, plan to spend a few days at home in your new home, settling in with your pet.
7. Vet Transitions
If you are moving to a new area and will no longer be able to see the same veterinarian, you will need to find a new one. Before leaving your current vet, get copies of your pet’s medical records. Additionally, talk to your vet about the transition and what your new veterinarian needs to know.
Research veterinarians close to your new home; once you find the right fit, make an appointment to acquaint your pet with the new vet. It’s better for your pet to meet the vet during a checkup when they are healthy rather than when they’re feeling ill so that the association is a positive one.
Use these seven tips to make your move as easy as possible on your pet. Remember, all of the change can be unsettling, but they will look to you for comfort and guidance. Make the new house a home and help your pet get acquainted with it. You may notice they act out a little bit as it can take time to get into a new routine. Muster a little extra patience and in no time, you will all be into the groove of your new home!