Making a Move? How to Prepare Your Pets for a New Home
Moving to a new home is a stressful process for humans, but for pets, it can be devastating. You can’t communicate with your pet verbally to prepare them for an upheaval, but there are some things you can do to ease the stress and anxiety – for both you and your pet – associated with a move to a new home.
Get Updated Collars and ID Tags
Your pet will feel uneasy and possibly scared in a new environment, making it more likely that they will slip their collar or escape out an open door or window. Fit your pet with an updated collar and identification tag with your name and phone number.
If your pet does not have a microchip, consider having this done before you move. With microchips being pretty well-known today, many people will take a found pet to a veterinarian or animal shelter to have the animal scanned for a chip in an effort to locate the pet’s family.
Talk to Your Veterinarian About Medications
You know your pet’s personality better than anyone. Does your pet get anxious easily in new situations? If so, you might want to talk to your veterinarian about anxiety medications that could help ease the stress of the first few days or weeks in a new place.
If you have a long car ride in store and your pet tends to get car sick, there are also some medications your vet can prescribe to ease the upset tummy issues that plague some pets on the road.
Make Proper Introductions
Some dogs don’t cope well with small children or rambunctious toddlers. Others don’t tend to take to new people well at all until they’ve had an opportunity to get to know them and establish trust. If you’ll be staying with friends or family during the transition (or moving to a new home where young children or ‘strangers’ already reside), some prep work is in order.
First, you should always introduce your pet to new family members in neutral territory. Follow established best practices for introducing dogs to new people, particularly children, and know the warning signs of aggression, such as frozen posture, lip licking, yawning, and others that require immediate intervention to avoid disaster.
Make Sure Your Dog Gets Ample Exercise
A tired dog is a happy dog, and a stressful time such as a moving transition is no time to neglect your dog’s needs. Take your dog for a walk daily, possibly increasing the frequency of walks to distract your pet from the anxiety of a new environment.
When your dog is exhausted, they’ll be less likely to tear your new couch to shreds while you’re away at work or taking care of other moving-associated loose ends. Plus, walks and other activities like playing fetch are exciting for your dog, and associating all these fun activities with the new home may make your pet more amenable to your new digs more quickly.
Make the Crate or Carrier Their Safe Place
If your dog or cat already has a carrier or crate (a portable dog kennel), make sure they’re well acclimated to it before moving day. Your pet’s personal traveling “den” can actually serve as a safe harbor when your beloved four-legged friend is feeling stressed out.
Get your carrier or crate out of storage several weeks in advance if you don’t use it regularly, and allow your pet to explore. Place some familiar smelling blankets or items of clothing inside so that your pet associates the crate with comfort. When moving day comes, your pet has their own space that they feel comfortable in that will come right along with them, easing the transition to a totally new and unfamiliar environment.
Moving is a stressful time for all involved, but by taking a few precautionary measures, you can be confident that the move will be as seamless and stress-free as possible for your pet. When you know that your pet is happy and comfortable, you can concentrate on the many other tasks on your moving to-do list rather than worry about your pet’s well-being.