10 Ways To Help Your Pets Adjust To Moving
Your human family members are not the only ones who must deal with the stresses of moving.
Your fur babies (and even your scaly and feathered ones) also experience stress.
1. Recognize that a shift in behavior may indicate that your pet is picking up on increased stress levels in your home.
When the dog who never has an accident in the house becomes unable to control itself… When the cat that leaves the curtains and furniture alone in favor of using its scratching post shreds your favorite comforter… When the well-adjusted hamster begins to nip everyone that picks it up… These are all signs that your pet is picking up on the stress in your home—even if you’re not feeling it. A little patience and understanding can go a long way.
2. Keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible for as long as possible.
We thrive on routine—and so do our pets. It’s tempting to adjust that routine dramatically when preparing for a move. But your pets will notice if you don’t feed them at the same time each day, don’t spend as much time playing with them, or become harsh and impatient when the pressure of the move gets to be too much. If you can keep their routine as normal as possible, it will benefit them. Plus, it may relief some of your stress as well.
3. Consider easing up on “the rules,” especially for your fur babies.
When we witness behavioral changes in our partner or children, we may immediately realize the stress of all the upcoming changes may be getting to them. We may adjust our expectations of them accordingly. But what about our pets? If you find they’re “acting out,” they may require a little extra attention. Is it such a bad thing to let the cat hide from the kids when they want to play? Does it really do any harm to allow the dog to lie at your feet under the table during mealtime? Would it be truly problematic to move the rabbit hutch to your child’s bedroom where you can shut the door and remove the busyness of all the puttering around and packing up in their regular living space.
4. As much as possible, don’t neglect your pet.
This is the time to keep in mind that most pets have emotional needs as well as physical ones. If you focus solely on their physical needs, you’ll be neglecting their emotional needs. Over a long enough period, emotional stress may manifest in physical problems, as is the case in humans as well. Think of the last time you were anxious—and your stomach was tied up in knots for no other reason.
5. Schedule time to pay undivided attention to your pet.
It’s so easy to fill every “extra” moment with preparations for the move. Go for a long walk with the dog rather than just letting them out to do their business? Who has time for that? Sitting on the couch, watching a show on Netflix while petting the cat, who came and curled up beside you? Be serious! Snuggling your guinea pig or rat every day like usual? Does it really make a difference? For your pet’s sake—and for yours—taking a little time to chill and enjoy your non-human family members may be just what the two of you need.
6. Don’t pack away your pet’s favorite toys.
While it may be time to purge your child’s playroom of toys they no longer play with rather than box them up and ship them to the new place, now is probably not the best time to toss that dirty, torn chew toy with the wheezing squeaker. Tempting though it might be. Of course, this is truer of dogs and cats than other pets.
7. Now is not the time to purchase a new pet bed or habitat.
When it comes time to move, it may seem like the perfect time to get rid of that stained doggie bed or too-small reptile terrarium, but it’s probably better to wait until they’ve settled into their new surroundings. While it may not make that big a difference to your tropical fish or budgie, your fur babies have a remarkable sense of smell, and everything with a familiar scent has the potential of making them feel more secure with all the new scents they’ll have to get used to.
8. Consider enlisting the help of an animal-loving friend or family member.
Your lizard, bird, or fish will likely be fine staying with a friend or family member while you pack up and move. Plus, this will take their care and feeding off your lengthy To-Do List. Win. Win. Plus, it may provide a great trial run for a young person trying to convince their parents that they’re responsible enough to get their own pet. In that case … Win. Win. Win.
9. Introduce your pet to their new surroundings ahead of time when possible.
If you’re moving across the country, it isn’t always possible to expose your pet to their new home ahead of time, but if you’re just moving across town, it’s likely you’ll be able to do so. While your snake or goldfish may not care, this could help your pooch adjust when moving day comes.
10. Make it a priority to help your pet adjust in their new home before you complete all the unpacking.
There are people who want to settle into their new home as quickly as possible. They’ll stay up late from Day 1 on until all the boxes are unpacked, all the pictures are hung, and all the home décor items are on display. To make the transition easier on your pet, you may want to give yourself permission to take a little longer to completely personalize your surroundings—or leave your pet with friends until you’re completely settled.
Remember, it’s not just your new home. It’s your pet’s as well.