Everyone is susceptible to the primary stressors of moving, from packing up belongings to acquainting yourself to a new neighborhood; one member of the family who may be extremely vulnerable is your pet(s). With heightened awareness of changes in their environment, your furry friends – or scaly ones – may struggle to make the change.
During the Moving Process
To help ease your pets into moving, introduce moving boxes and other materials into the space early, allowing them to become familiar with the sights and unfamiliar scents before the process becomes too hectic. If your pet is especially skittish, moving them to a familiar space that you plan on packing last is a good idea. By doing so, you surround them with a place that will remain unchanged for a while.
You want to minimize your pet's stress as much as possible, keeping them safe and calm, especially on moving day. With people, mostly unfamiliar, coming in and out and commotion, your pet can make an easy escape attempting to exit the situation. Arrange a place for them to decompress, away from the noise and movement, by leaving them in a room with the door closed or having a friend/family member dog-sit.
How to Make Settling In, Easier
Once in your new place, you may want to begin decorating and unpacking as soon as possible, but take it slow with your pet. Begin by introducing them to their new environment by sectioning off portions of the house and limiting access to some rooms. It may sound silly, but incorporate a tour of the house, similar to how you were introduced, so they don't feel overwhelmed.
One area that should be immediately set up is your pet's corner. Incorporate their favorite and recognizable toys, food and bed, all of the items that bring them comfort. During this time, it can be tempting to reward their good behavior with a new toy, but try to resist the temptation, you want them to be surrounded by familiar scents.
Speaking of familiarity, make the best attempt at maintaining a regular/normal routine, including your pet's consistent feeding, walking and sleeping schedule. If they are accustomed to walks on a trail or in a park, find your closest one. Their unchanged routine gives them stability and may help avoid unnecessary accidents with all the changes around them.
Extra Attention and Love
As a pet owner, your presence provides a sense of security, letting them know while their surroundings may look different, you are here to stay. In the initial months of your move, limit how frequently you leave the house; it can be easy for your pet to succumb to a feeling of abandonment. Try not to leave them secluded for more than a few minutes. It's also important to practice patience. As your pet is acclimating itself to its new surroundings, there is an increased likelihood of extra, uncommon accidents and excessive barking. Instead of disciplinary actions, understand that your pet is coping with anxiety and may benefit from belly rubs and quality time.