More Americans move during this time of year than any other time of the year. The following advice will help you make a smooth transition the next time you have to move to a new house with your cat or dog.
- introduce the pet to the new home ahead of time
- hire a pet sitter
- pet-proof the home and yard
- establish a predictable environment and potty routine
- once you’re moved, immediately reinforce any good behavior
- pack your pet's belongings away
- forget a back-up plan
Before moving day arrives, go to the new home and do a site survey if it’s a local move. Take your pet over to the new place a few times before you officially move in and let him sniff his new digs and get a lay of the land before changing addresses. This will help familiarize the pet with the new environment and will help take a little bit of the stress out of the situation once moving day arrives.
Change in daily routines can cause a lot of stress for pets and moving into a new home is no exception. During a move there will likely be strangers around, doors and gates will be left open making it very easy for a pet to slip out and go unnoticed. So make a plan, and if possible, hire a professional service to take your furry kids for the day. This will ensure that they are at a safe place while you are busy with boxes.
Before your pet first enters your new home, take some time to look around from your pet's perspective; get down on your hands and knees and crawl around at your pet's height. Look for electrical wires, nails, or other sharp objects sticking out of floors or walls. This also applies to your yard. Check for holes in small spaces such as fences or decks – these could possibly trap your pet.
Immediately establish an acceptable place for potty breaks and reinforce when done properly. Quickly create a familiar environment in your new place with favorite beds and toys. Keep the same schedule you had in your previous home (if you didn’t have a feeding and potty schedule, get on one asap!)
Taking up a new residence is stressful on everyone. Use positive reinforcement. Reward your pet with treats, scratches, or playtime each time your pet does something you like (such as using the restroom). Never punish bad behavior. Instead, use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior.
Procrastination is never a good thing – especially when you’re gearing up to move. Don’t put off making a plan for your pet until the last minute. Have a clear plan for pet care in place well in advance so there won’t be any surprises on moving day. If you do wait, you could end up literally tripping over your pet while trying to move boxes and heavy furniture in and out resulting in an injury to yourself, others, or even your pet.
Especially if you’re making a long distance move, you don’t want to pack away all of your pet’s belongings. Be sure to have plenty of food, treats, water, beds, leashes, and of course favorite toys. Also, don’t forget to have the pet’s medical records and medicine with you. That way you won’t be without the essentials in case there are delays with the move.
Just when you think you’ve planned for everything – plan for the unexpected. Moves aren’t always smooth, so to be sure your pet’s comfort and safety aren’t in jeopardy, have a second professional sitter or family friend on standby just in case your primary pet care provider falls through.
Whether you’re moving across town or across country it’s always an adjustment for everyone, including the four-legged family members. It’s a stressful time for your pet, so you need to be prepared. Routines, positive reinforcement, and most of all, safety, are especially important during this time. Reduce the stress by letting your animal sniff out and explore the new home ahead of time if possible. But let your pet do this only after you’ve explored the home and yard yourself to make sure it’s devoid of anything that could be hazardous to your pet. Keep your pet safe during the move by hiring a pet sitter. Don’t pack away any belongings that are part of your pet’s daily routine, and immediately keep the routine going when the pet moves in. This will help minimize the stress of the move and your pet will be smoothly adjusted to your new digs in no time.