Moving to a new home is an exciting change for your family that isn’t without its challenges. Coordinating moving days and rentals while packing and updating all of your personal accounts takes a lot of time and planning. In the excitement, you may forget to plan for your furry friends.
Moving homes is a big change for your pet and they’ll notice when you begin stacking boxes around the house. While you can’t explain the move to your pets, you can prepare a plan to help them move safely and reduce their stress throughout the process.
Before Your Move
The pet preparations should begin before you start packing to make sure your new home is ready for your best friend. Check out the neighbourhood, greet the neighbours, and pet-proof your house and yard.
Greet Your Neighbours
Take time to walk around your new neighborhood by yourself and with your dog. Get to know the area and what other pets are living there to plan your daily walks and let your pup sniff around.
Your dog’s sense of smell is one of their primary means of communication and exploring the world. Let your pooch stop and smell the neighborhood roses to help them learn the area. When you do move, they’ll be familiar with the block and can better navigate should they get lost during the move.
If you get the chance, it’s also a good idea to introduce yourself and your dog to the neighbors. This way you and your dog can meet potential new friends and you can learn more about the other animals in the neighborhood. You’ll have the head’s up if off-leash or stray dogs are common and can prepare as necessary.
Pet-Proof Your Home and Garden
Just as you want to learn more about your neighborhood safety, take some time to walk through your new home and yard to identify potential problems.
Check your yard for loose fencing, dangerous plants, or bad bugs like fleas and ticks. It’s a good idea to treat your yard and re-enforce your fence so it’s ready to go when the new home zoomies hit.
Similarly, check your home for loose wires, slippery floors, and other repairs you’ll want to make before your family moves in. Decide where your pet’s bed, food and water, and other accessories will be placed now instead of after you start unpacking. Try to keep everything in a similar location to reduce the changes for your pet.
Update Your Vet Information
If you’re moving cities it’s a good idea to set up a new vet appointment before you move to get to know the office and staff. If you’re keeping your current vet, give the office a call to update your address before the move.
You’ll also want to know where the nearest animal hospital is in case of an emergency. Know how long it takes to travel to your regular office and emergency vet so you’re prepared to make quick decisions if you need to.
Moving Day Tips
Make moving day a breeze with these pro tips to keep your pet stress-free and comfortable.
Prepare an Overnight Bag
Create an overnight bag for your pets with their essentials, including:
- Food and water dishes
- Food for two meals
- A few types of toys
- Collars, harnesses, and leashes
- Litter boxes or waste bags
- Daily medicine
With a separate bag, you don’t have to worry about digging your pet’s things out of boxes so they can have their evening dinner and a walk. Everything is ready to go so you can move them in and separate them from moving day madness to relax.
Move Your Pets in Last
All of the movement and commotion that comes with moving day may already be stressful for your pet, and being in a new environment won’t help. Let your pet relax at home until most of the move is done. This way their first introduction to the new home is calm since most of the shuffling will be wrapped up.
Keep Your Pet Crated
Crating your pet keeps them away from the commotion and prevents them from getting hurt or escaping as you move heavy boxes and furniture in and out of the home. If your pet isn’t crate trained, dedicate a room for them to relax in until the moving is done.
Play Before Your Move
Your pet will pick up on the situation and likely has a lot of built-up energy after a full day of moving. Before you load them in the car, spend some time playing with them to help them relax and release some energy. This will help reduce stress and frustration while setting your pet up to succeed in a new environment.
Continue Training When You Move
Your first few weeks in the new house are a chance to build your pet’s confidence until they’re comfortable. Be sure to spend plenty of time with them and take transitions slowly.
Stick to a Schedule
Pets thrive on a routine and that shouldn’t be too disrupted with a move. Keep your daily playtime, feeding time, and other habits as similar as possible so the move isn’t changing everything about your pet’s daily life.
Introduce the Home Slowly
Some pets will be eager to explore their new home while others will be most comfortable lounging in a bedroom. Let your pet lead the way and don’t rush them to explore every part of your new city if they’re not ready.
Similarly, you don’t want to start scheduling puppy playdates with your new neighbors just yet. An outgoing dog may be excited to make friends, but the same experience could overwhelm others. There’s plenty of time to meet and greet once your pet is fully confident in their new space.
Reward Positive Behaviour
In a new environment, some pets may pick up less desirable behaviors, like barking at your new neighbors. Prepare by practicing your basic obedience before you move so you and your dog are confident with re-directions.
Continue to reward positive behavior as you settle in your home. Lying calmly as a package delivered or sitting to greet neighbors politely are all worthy of a treat!
When everyone settles in your new house will feel like home. Take time to train and soothe your pet to prevent as much stress as possible. You and your pet will be happier, and you may prevent some home accidents, too.