There is no doubt that moving can be stressful. The half packed rooms, mountains of boxes and exhaustion from carrying boxes is enough to make anyone a little on edge. Now imagine how your pets feel! Animals are very intuitive and sense your range of emotions-including stress. Seeing you rush around to pack up your home will likely leave them in a state of confusion, anxiety and excitement. Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare for your big move to keep everyone's stress levels in check.
1. Move Pets First If Possible: If you are able, board your animals, or ask a trusted friend to watch them, while you finish packing and transport your things to your new home. Removing your pet from the situation completely will save them a great deal of anxiety and allow you to be productive without worrying about their safety and well being.
2. Transport With Care: It isn't safe to let your pets ride loosely while your vehicle is filled (likely to maximum capacity) with boxes. Keep your animals crated while in the car for their own safety. Line the crate with their bed if possible, throw in a favorite toy and a treat or two to make them feel secure. Not only will they have their own safe haven but they will be protected if boxes happen to shift or tumble during the ride.
3. Be Cautious with Sedatives: Before deciding to sedate your pet before a move, make sure you consult your veterinarian. If your animal tends to experience extreme stress during times of change, or is uncomfortable during car rides, this may be beneficial. ALWAYS make sure to follow instructions thoroughly and with caution.
4. Prepare a Safe Space: When you arrive at your new home and begin to unload and unpack, be sure to keep windows and doors closed at all times to prevent anxious pets from escaping. The best thing you can do is set up a safe place for your pets (a spare bedroom is ideal) with their bed, toys, food and water. They will appreciate having a quiet space to themselves and will be safely tucked away while you set up. Once the front door is closed and unpacking has begun, let your pets explore the home with you. Be cautious for the first few days as they will be disoriented; cats are likely to hide somewhere they feel safe while dogs may bolt out the door if given the opportunity. Be patient and remember that they are confused. A little reassurance and positive attention will go a long way.
5. Take Time to Adjust: For the first week or two at your new home your routine will likely be different. Were your dogs allowed to run free at your old home but now need to be leashed? Prevent accidents and encourage plenty of outdoor time. Is your independent cat anxious to explore outside? Make sure you adjust slowly and deliberately to keep everyone safe and happy. Cats can be especially willful and likely to run off; keep your indoor/outdoor pet inside until they are comfortable before allowing them to transition into the outdoors. Remember that providing extra positive attention and support to your pets during a move is the best thing you can do for their well being.