Moving with Pets
It’s easy to overlook things when moving into a new home. Sometimes it’s a small, fairly unimportant thing like hanging a painting that tackily clashes with the room color; other instances you forget something much bigger, such as helping your pets adjust to a new house. Moving is an equally tiresome and, in cases, traumatic experience for animals and humans alike. Household pets thrive on stable familiarity, and once that is uprooted, they can become confused and anxious. Here are a few ways to help your furry friends adjust to this sudden change.
Skittish dogs and cats aren’t big fans of change or new, strange environments and people. It’s best to keep them in a familiar, secluded room that you plan to pack up last. When packing things into the moving truck, try to keep your pets in a familiar room with the door closed, or at a friend’s—especially if you’re using a moving or junk-removal company. This will stop them from getting scared and trying to bolt away at the earliest chance.
If your new home is more than a few hours away, familiarizing your pets with their cages or crates is important. Cats are especially notorious for disliking car rides, and if left out of their cages might try to slip out an open window or crawl into a confined area, like under the brakes. The trouble is most pets are not used to being confined to cages, and might dislike that experience just as much as the car ride itself. But by gradually letting your pet get used to recognizing their cage as a comforting place, the process will be less of a headache for both of you.
The ASPCA recommends placing your pet’s food inside an open crate, and eventually having them eat their meals in the crate with the door shut. After they’re used to that, carrying your pets around the house or taking a short drive with them in the crate will help adjust them to the sensation of being confined while the world moves around them. Lastly, by associating playtime and treats after being stuck in the crate, your pets will develop that experience to be a positive association.
As a reminder, make sure not to leave your pets unattended during the car ride, and ensure they have access to plenty of clean water.
One of the biggest mistakes when adjusting a cat or dog to their new home is letting them explore it all at once, which can cause sensory overload. Instead, place all their familiar objects (toys, bedding, and water and food bowls) in one room, and then place them inside it while you’re there. Spend an hour in the room with your pet so that they can explore only that room with your comforting presence. After that, let them explore the entire house, one section at a time, and if they get overwhelmed they’ll head back to the familiar area you just established with them.
If you plan on letting your pets go outside, in a confined yard or otherwise, make sure you’re out there with them at first. Avoid letting cats go outside for the first week to two weeks, so they’re intimately familiar with their new surroundings. Make sure any dogs you let outside are in a spacious, but confined yard.
Finally, if you’ve moved to a different town, make sure to find a new veterinarian for your pet, and make sure you know of any nearby animal hospitals.
Today’s guest post is written by Jason Clinton. Photo courtesy of la corgi.