Moving is stressful for everyone. Boxes and packing tape everywhere, you can’t find your toothbrush…it can be a little chaotic. So now imagine being your dog or cat or whatever furry friend you have and not understanding why your toys and bed were put in a box and carried out of the house. And, not being able to communicate that you’re scared, confused, stressed, etc. is even worse! It really makes you feel bad for the little guys. Moving completely disrupts their routine, but there are some tips and tricks you can use to make the transition a little easier on them.
Explain the Situation
Okay, you might think I’ve lost it with this one but here it is- you need to explain to your pet that you’re moving. Tell them where you’re going, that the family will be right there with them, but that it might be stressful in the meantime while they get settled. My mom knows a lady who is an expert on pet animal emotional health and psychology. Before we moved she recommended we tell our dogs we were moving and what that meant and would look like for them. If anything even provides a little comfort and ease for your fur babies it’s worth a go!
Don’t Let Your Pet Run Loose
While you’re packing and unpackaging, don’t let your pets roam around if people will be coming in and out of the house. The last thing you want is for Felix to catch a whiff of barbeque and to head out the door down the street. If things are going to be chaos consider setting them up in “pet” cave. Put them in a large closed room with all of their favourite toys, bed, water and food bowl, maybe turn on some calm music and let them relax while you do the hard work. Pack this room up last so you can make an easy transition out the door for the last time with your pets.
Survive the Drive
If you’re moving a road trip distance away or even if your pets aren’t familiar with riding in the car, try familiarizing them beforehand. Take small drives with them and acclimate them to their crate by:
The point is you want to create a positive (or at least non-stressful) association between your pet and their crate. This will make a big difference on moving day.
Pack An Overnight Bag
The first night in a new house is weird. You’re eating Chinese take out on the floor and typically have no clue where your pjs are. You might not mind doing this but disruptions to routine can be stressful to your pets. So, be prepared and have a little overnight bag packed for your furry friends with enough food, treats, kitty litter, toys, and any other comfort items to last you the first few days while you settle in.
Introduce Your Pet
When you arrive at your new home you’re likely tempted to just let the pets loose. But the new space can be overwhelming to skittish pets. Instead, allow them to adjust one room at a time. Set up a “home base” where you keep their water, food, favourite toys and bed, but then introduce them to new rooms over time. It will be helpful to keep some doors closed while you are in this adjustment period.
One trick my parents used when they moved is by allowing the dogs to “visit” the new house. My parents would stop by their new house once they had the keys and would let the dogs roam around. When the time came for them to fully move in, it was a pretty easy transition because the dogs were already quite familiar with the space.
Keep Your Stress Levels Down
Pets are very intuitive creatures and if they see you stressed, there’s no doubt they will take on some of that stress. Of course moving isn’t going to be the easiest process in the world and asking you to not be stressed is a pretty tall order. But really make the effort to stay calm for your own good and your pet’s well being.
Pamper Your Pet
Ahhh a long massage is the perfect way to decompress for both you and your pet! Try to give your pet some extra attention during this time with back rubs and plenty of exercise to help them relax. A walk will also help to dispel some of that excess energy which means a long restful sleep for Junior.
If your pet is particularly nervous then a sleepover may be in order. Ask a friend or family member who your pet is comfortable with to look after your furry friend for the first night or two of the move. Once there’s a little more normalcy, welcome your pet to their new home!
Whether you have a dog, cat or bird, our pets are part of our family and we want them to feel as comfortable as possible during this moving period. Do you have any tips for other Brantford home owners moving with your pet? Let us know what tips and tricks you find work best for making your furry friends comfortable during the transition!