With a new year fast approaching, there may be some changes you plan on making regarding your living situation. While moving is a time that can be exciting as you focus on positive changes, it can also be a period of great stress and frustration. But it doesn’t have to mean a time of high stress for your pets.
1. Keep yourself calm. Animals can sense our moods and feelings, especially a pet who knows you well. If you are in a period of high stress or anxiety, chances are excellent that your cat or dog may begin getting anxious as well. And of course, when a cat or dog becomes anxious, they may act out which, in turn, causes you more anxiety as well. The last thing you want to have to deal with while trying to move is a cat peeing into your moving boxes, a dog biting your friends or family that are helping, or both. Obviously, you are going to be dealing with more stress than you are normally used to; just don’t let it get carried away. Using a calm voice and moving about efficiently but not ridiculously fast will help keep kids and animals more relaxed.
2. Give them a little time. You’ve got lots to do: packing, donating items, making arrangements to transfer services, and maybe even finding new jobs and schools. You may not feel like you have any extra time but it’s important to consider the time you spend with your pet and as required and not optional. Maybe you won’t have as much time to spend cuddling with your favorite pooch, but you can find some time each day to spend a little one on one attention on each of your pets which will go a long way to cords keeping them relaxed as well.
3. Buy them off. Seriously. Thankfully, pets are typically cheaper to buy off than children since a good toy or treat might just do the trick. Of course your dog or cat isn’t going to understand that you are buying them off; what you are doing is giving them something to focus on other than the craziness around them. And don’t forget that before the move is not the only time you will need their cooperation – unpacking takes a lot of time as well.
4. Plan for them to be somewhere else on moving day. If possible, make arrangements for your pet to be elsewhere on moving day (or at least while things are being loaded). Whether it’s friends and family or professional movers, there’s going to be a lot of people and a lot of commotion going on. Arranging for them to stay somewhere else will eliminate the likelihood of any problems (like aggression), lessen at your stress level, lessen everyone’s annoyance (a dog barking nonstop for hours can do a lot of damage to everyone’s nerves), and help your pet keep some semblance of sanity and self control.
5. Be sure to keep something of theirs, especially something that smells like them. Although moving it may seem like a great time to get a new pet bed or blanket or to weed through your dog’s toys, be sure to keep something of theirs that will help them feel at home in your new home. Even if you still planned to replace the item, do it later, after they have had some time to adjust. Definitely keep something that will smell like comfort to them and don’t, under any circumstances, throughout their favorite toy during a move.
6. Introduce them to the new place a little at a time. Once you get to your new home, you’re going to want to clean and unpack and do all sorts of things that are difficult to do with a cat or dog underfoot. Take advantage of this opportunity by limiting how much of your new home your pet has access to immediately. If you want them to get the lay of the land, walk them through the house and yard, then confine them to one or two areas (preferably indoors unless there aren’t other cats or dogs close by). After a couple of days, give them more freedom as they grow into being more comfortable in their new surroundings.
7. . Hold off on having too many people over in the first few days while your pet learns that this is their home and they are safe and with their parents.
Honestly, when it comes down to it, just remember that your pet is going to feel a lot of the stress and anxiety you have about moving – only they don’t understand the reasons or upside to the move. Be patient and loving and they will go back to being your normal, loving cat or dog soon.