While moving to a new home is very exciting, relocating can be a stressful process for every member of the family – including pets. More often than not, a move means that all familiarity is gone. From where to hide a bone to where to nap in the sun, the pet’s sense of security and comfort has suddenly been altered.
Below are five suggestions from Coldwell Banker and Petfinder.com for how to make moving a little less ‘ruff’ for four-legged members of the family.
Plan ahead. From start to finish, moving to a new home involves a lot of planning. You should decide as soon as possible where their pet’s belongings – toys, water dishes, beds, etc., — will go in the new home. If the pet’s only car ride has been to the veterinarian, you can help your pet become accustomed to traveling by bringing them along on visits to the future home, as well as to other places with a more positive association, like a dog park or pet store.
Take them on a walk-through to get them acclimated. For home buyers with pets in tow, it is important to help their companions become acclimated to their new life early on. During a visit to the future home, you should take your four-legged friend on a personal tour, showing them their new play area and “bathroom.” By scoping out all of the new scents and sights, the pet will start to acquaint itself with their new digs. Cats may feel more comfortable exploring one room at a time so start in the bathroom, a smaller space, and let them take their time coming out of the carrier to explore.
Get new pet tags. With doors opening and closing and people entering and exiting, pets will likely have more opportunities to get loose during a move than they did while living in the previous home. As soon as the contract is signed, home buyers should purchase a new tag with their pet’s name, new address and phone number. If the pet has a microchip, pet parents should also contact the company and have their pet’s ID information updated in their database. If a pet escaped during the move, it would be very difficult for them to find their way back to a home they barely know.
Be extra security conscious. The first few days in a new home can spook even the most laid-back pet. Make sure your pet’s collar fits securely and, unless the backyard at the new home is completely fenced in, keep your pet on a leash when heading outdoors. Take a full inspection of the house, looking for openings a pet can crawl into or other safety hazards before letting them explore. Once they’re off their leash or out of their carrier, be sure to keep a close eye on them.
Continue with business as usual. After moving into the new home, try to stick to your pet’s daily routine as closely as possible by feeding them, playing with them and walking them at the same times they did when in the previous home. Such consistency will enable pets to get used to their new life more quickly.
* These tips were adapted from a chapter in The Adopted Dog Bible, written by Kim Saunders, vice president of shelter outreach for Petfinder.com, the largest online database of adoptable pets.