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Moving with a Pet? Here’s How to Help with Their Anxiety


Moving with a pet can add an extra layer of anxiety to the complicated process of moving. But you’re not the only one who might be feeling anxiety about all of the changes: Pets often struggle to adjust to changes in their environments. The transition process is rough on a pet, whether they go by car or by other means. If you can make your pet more comfortable with the move, it’ll be easier on you also. Here are some ways you can help with your pet’s anxiety and make your move more smoothly.

Introduce the Move in Phases

Many dogs and cats are territorial and do not like changes in their home environment. You may be able to reduce your pet’s anxiety by introducing moving materials gradually. Bring in a few boxes at a time. If you are able, you could also move in stages. By sending some of the household items ahead and setting them up, when you move your pet it will feel more familiar to them. As much as possible, try to maintain your pet’s normal routine. Keeping the same feeding time and walk schedule will feel reassuring to them.

Professional Movers and Your Pet

You may have opted to hire professional movers to help you pack and get to your destination. That means that strangers will be going into and out of your home repeatedly – something that may make pets very nervous. Nervous, anxious pets can become aggressive with strangers. Help your pet and the movers by giving the movers special treats that your pet loves. This can help your pet to recognize the movers as friendly.

The treat trick may not work for every pet, however. You may need to move your pet to a room where they are out of the way and alone. You can set up their food, water, and toys in the room while movers work in other parts of the home. This solution works well if you have already cleared out furniture and other items from the room previously. The pet will likely still be anxious and aware of the movers, so extra petting and treats couldn’t hurt.

On the Road with a Pet

Some pets are familiar with and love car rides, and some have never been in a car or truck before the move. You can practice bringing your pet in the car by taking progressively longer rides around town. Cats especially struggle with car rides and crates, so planning ahead is key to success. For your safety and your pet’s, you should practice car rides with a crate and use the crate when you drive to your new home.

Your pet is more likely to suffer an injury in an accident if it is not in a crate. Also, if you stop along the way and open the car door, the pet could get loose and run away. Finally, driving with an uncrated pet is dangerous for you. The pet could be very anxious and get in the way, impairing your driving.

At Your New Home

All pets will need an adjustment period. The new home is full of new smells, and the location of things is all different from the old home. If you manage to move a few things ahead of the pet, you’ve already introduced familiar smells and items to your new space, which can be helpful. Otherwise, unpacking and getting into a normal routine as soon as possible will help alleviate moving anxiety.

Remember to keep dogs on a leash every time you go for a walk, even if you didn’t leash at the old home. You want to be sure your pet won’t bolt in an unfamiliar place. Ensure your pet’s microchip and collar tag information is up to date as well. In the confusion of moving boxes and with strangers coming and going, pets can escape. Finally, give your new home a critical look for anything unsafe for a pet. Watch for loose wires, toxic plants, and pest poison. Anxious pets may chew more often and can locate items like this very quickly.

A Better Settling In

Try letting movers give your pet treats again during the move-in since you’ll likely have new pro movers your pet doesn’t know. Confinement can make many pets feel more secure. Crate-trained dogs will feel safer if you set their crate up for them in a room away from the main move-in action. You can do something similar for your cat. Instead of keeping it in a crate, place the cat’s litter box, food and water, and a favorite toy or scratching post in a “safe room.”

Successfully Moving with Your Pet

Moving can be stressful for everyone involved. If you are feeling some anxiety, chances are your pet is, too. You can make things a little easier for them with a few simple steps. By helping your pet to feel less anxious, you’ll also feel a little better about the changes of moving. Before you know it, you and your pet will settle into your new home and make new memories!

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