While your pet doesn’t have to pack boxes or decide whether the rooster wallpaper in the new kitchen should be torn down or painted over, moving can still be stressful and exhausting.
Cats and dogs alike develop strong bonds with their homes. It’s a safe zone where they can consistently rely on food, shelter, and care. Changing that zone can give your pet rattled nerves, an upset stomach, or a poor appetite.
To make sure your pet transitions successfully to her new home, check out these eight steps below.
Talk about the New House
Your pet knows what’s up. You’re packing boxes, moving furniture, and allowing people to come into your home all willy nilly. You wouldn’t pull a fast one on your kids, so don’t move without telling your pet either. Talk to her about your decision.
No, seriously. As you pack your things and move about your house, talk out loud about all the fun possibilities of your new home. Your pet will pick up on your positive vibe and feel reassured as quick changes are happening around her.
Like with training, your happy voice is the primary tool.
Clean the New House
There’s no telling what went on behind the closed doors of your new home. What if there were five dogs, two cats, and a ferret throwing weekly rave parties?
Before you introduce your pet to the new house, give it a thorough clean. From baseboards and ceilings to nooks and crannies, clean up any questionable smells left behind from previous pets. This will help your pet establish the new place as her territory.
Explore Your Home Together
You visit the new home before moving in. Why shouldn’t your pet? After the house is clean and you’ve had a proper chat, go visit the new home and allow your pet to sniff around and check out the new place. Leave treats around the house to create a positive association.
Do this a few times, if possible, to help your pet establish this new area as safe and familiar.
Visit a Friend
Moving day can be stressful for your pet. So, instead of subjecting her to shifting boxes, breaking glass (you know it’ll happen), and strange people in the house, take her to a friend’s house. For my dog, his friend would be our local doggie daycare. Prep your pet to stay the night, and make sure it’s a place she’s familiar with—a new boarding kennel will only add to the stress of moving.
Create a Safe Space for Your Pet
When you move in, immediately set up a safe, quiet space for your pet to relax. This could be a kennel, bed, or cardboard box. You should place her favorite toys and treats here. Show your pet this area, so when she feels overwhelmed or insecure, she can escape to her safe place.
Keep a Consistent Routine
There’s nothing more comforting for a pet than knowing what to expect and when. Although your life will be hectic during the move, try to keep your pet’s routine consistent. Feed at the exact same time every day, go on scheduled walks, and spend a few minutes in the evening just cuddling with your furry friend.
Take Your Dog for a Walk
For a dog, it’s important that she gets a sense of her new neighborhood. Go on short walks each day, slowly expanding your distance away from the new house. This will help her become familiar with her surroundings, the new sights, and who’s who on the street.
Invite Friends and Family to Visit Your New Home
Once your pet seems more at ease with her new home, invite your friends and family members over for a visit—the ones your pet likes, of course. A friendly face will help your pet feel comforted and encourage her to enjoy the excitement of the move.
Each of these steps is easy to execute but critical to making sure your pet moves to her new home stress and care-free. The key is to go slow and steady with the transition. And throw a few treats into the mix.