Moving to a new home can be stressful for every member of the family, including the beloved family pets. Don’t forget about their wants and needs during this hectic time, it can be rough on them too.
Transitioning to new surroundings is difficult for many pets. The stress and worry can cause out of character behavior, as well as lowered immune responses. Here are a few suggestions to help keep them happy and healthy!
- Keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. Be consistent with feedings, walks, playtime, and bedtime. Keep accommodations consistent; if your dog is used to using a doggy door, install one in your new home right away. If your cat likes outdoor time, arrange for it, using a leash initially for safety and to prevent him from running away.
- If you will be traveling long distances with your pet, plan on making frequent stops so they can stretch, eat, and for bathroom breaks. Confirm that hotels you will be staying in allow pets. Make sure they are secured safely in your vehicle using either crates or restraining harnesses. Practice on short trips, before moving day, to help them become familiar with traveling in the car if they aren’t accustomed to it. For fish or smaller pets, visit a local pet store for suggestions on transporting them.
- Bring along favorites; this is not a good time to introduce new items. Bring your pet’s favorite bed, toys, food and water dishes, treats, and other familiar items. Put them in places that are similar to your previous home. This helps your pet feel more in control and at home more quickly.
- If you are moving out of the area, visit your Vet to make sure your pet is current with all vaccines and treatments, to refill prescriptions, and maybe even consider micro-chipping your pet. Moving is a common time for pets to get lost. Obtain an updated copy of your pet’s medical records as well. Since your Vet is familiar with your pet, ask for their advice on making this move easier.
- Get a new pet ID tag as soon as you know your new address and phone number. This improves your pet’s chances of getting back home if they take off. Do this before traveling should they decide to wander off at a rest stop. Having a recent photo of your pet is also a good idea.
- Be patient while your pet sniffs around their new digs. Let them explore. If they decide to hide for a little while, this is ok, as long as they know where the litter box or doggy door is located. Their behavior may change for a little while, including eating, barking, pacing, or being protective. They will need time to adjust, just as you do. If bad behavior persists, talk to a professional.
- Find a dog park, local veterinarian, and other pet resources in your new hometown to aid in the transition.
Be sure you give your pet the attention they are used to and maybe even a little extra during this tough time!
Moving in to or out of Maryland or Pennsylvania? Take a look at our online relocation guides.