HOW CAN I PREPARE MY ANIMALS FOR A MOVE? THE LOWDOWN ON ACQUAINTING YOUR FURRY FRIENDS AND THEIR NEW HOME
While you are hustling and bustling to get the house and your family ready for your big moving day, do not forget to ask yourself – how can I prepare my animals for a move? What may get lost in the craziness of planning a home relocation, could end up making all the difference in terms of comfort and ease of transition for your pets. Animals in many ways are so much like us. They crave routine, structure, and want to feel safe and secure in their home. They feed off of our energy and stress, and will definitely notice when boxes start encroaching in on their personal space! As you make your final checklists in anticipation of moving, devise a plan for your furry friends too. Not sure where to start or what your options might be? Look over our guideline below, to make sure no one gets lost in the mix and you have less to worry about when moving day comes around.
How Can I Minimize My Pet’s Stress While Packing?
As mentioned above, dogs and cats alike are creatures of habit and will absolutely take notice when objects start disappearing into boxes all around them. While you are packing or preparing your house to be packed, it can be helpful to keep the space around your dog’s comfort areas relatively free from change. This could be their crate, bed, eating area, etc. The same rule applies for cats and their litter boxes. Because there will inevitably be an energy shift in your house and routine in the days and weeks leading up to your move, it is optimal for your pets to feel that as minimally as possible. Furthermore, this is assuredly not the time to break any kind of routine that you already have established with your animal. Although your days may be filling up with more to do and take care of, make sure you are still making time to get their regular walks in and stick to their usual feeding schedule. This is a great practice to keep in motion as you gently prepare your animals to move.
Doggy Daycare Do!
As much as you consider your animals to be an extension of your family, or even if they are regarded as equal family members – you obviously cannot rationalize or talk them through things as they are happening in real time. If you have an extremely laid back animal, you might be in the clear here. However, keeping all furry friends out of harm’s way on moving day with movers, dollys, trucks, and furniture being shifted all over the place, is ultimately ideal. What this may look like is arranging ahead of time for your pet to be babysat on the day of. If you booked professional movers and did not need to guilt your friends into helping you into your new home, you are free to guilt them into pet sitting! In a new city without the ability to rely on friends and family? Doggy Daycare is a great option too. This can be like a vacation for your pet where they are walked, loved on and most importantly, kept safe. They will not be stressed out by new noises, smells or random people coming in and out of the home you are leaving. Making the effort to relieve them from any unfamiliar activity is a great way to get your pets ready for your move.
Should I Give My Dog A Tour Of Our New Home?
If you are planning on showing friends and family members around the new digs, you of course need to extend that courtesy to the animals that will be actually living in the home with you! It may seem silly in theory, but calmly and happily showing off every corner of your living space is a great way to introduce your pets to their new home. Dogs in particular are deeply sensitive to smell, and use this tool to become acclimated with their environment. Allowing your pet to sniff to his heart’s delight and thoroughly check out what this new house is about, will be a big step towards settling in. We suggest giving your dog the lead on this tour, and letting them go where they are naturally drawn. However, do not give them free reign. When nervous, some dogs may pee, while when wanting to mark new territory, the same behaviour can be displayed. Going with your animal on this tour is an opportunity for you to show them that the old rules still apply, the inside of your home is unquestionably not a bathroom! Again, your pets will not only pick up on your vibe, but also your body language too. Stay fun, firm, and fair. Be sure to include the backyard or whatever outdoor space you will be using for your dog’s bathroom breaks, on the tour as well.
Bring Some Of The Old In With The New
Although moving into a new home most likely inspired some purging and fun shopping on your end, this is probably not the ideal time to be replacing and/or upgrading all of your pet’s usual comforts. A few months in you can look at a pet bed glow up, but during the first few weeks of transition, having familiar items from your previous home can help your animal feel more at ease. You can also avoid washing their beds, blankets, houses and crates as soon as you move in, to help in this area too. Having items that smell, feel, and look like what they have previously been used to can aid in eliminating pet anxiety in a new space. A super sweet move for your furry loved ones is having all of their favourite comfort items already unpacked and set up, ready to go when you bring them on their new home tour (see above). This way, while they are seeing the new home for the very first time, they are also seeing their own familiar things in the home. They will know that they already have a designated spot to call their own. You can even make an extra special show when announcing their bed, so they can see and feel your genuine peace and excitement that this space is specifically for them. Minimal effort with a small gesture on your part, can go a long way with helping your animal feel good about your move.
In the spirit of a new home, new furniture, and new life, you may feel inclined to add to your animal brood, especially if you are now living in a larger, more accommodating space. Resist the temptation here, at least for the first few months. Integrating new animal relationships comes with its own unique challenges in the best of circumstances, let alone when your pet is still getting used to your new home. And do try to keep the time expectations for your animal settling in to a minimum. Some pets will walk into your new place like they own it and be completely comfortable immediately. Others may settle in after a few days, or even a few weeks. There is no set time frame and unfortunately, there is also no rhyme or reason to exactly what works and why. All you can do is be as prepared as possible. Take your animal’s stress levels and comfort into account with every decision you make, and remember that just as moving has had an immense impact on you and your everyday life, your pet is no different. If you are engaged and present, whether it is with your dog, cat, bird, turtle, or the whole farm, eventually your ‘new house’ will become home for all family members involved.