Helping Your Pet Adjust to a New Home

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Moving is incredibly stressful for people, but imagine how stressful it can be for your pets. If you are downsizing to a smaller home, losing a yard or basement, or are moving a long distance, this stress can be amplified even more. If you are moving your pets, try to minimize anxiety with these tips:

Leave Them Out of Moving Day

Moving day is often hectic with packing, unpacking, and trips to and from in the car or moving van. It can be stressful and unsafe to let your pet be part of this process. Instead, have them stay with a pet sitter, family member, or at a kennel until you can introduce them into a more settled atmosphere.

Keep Routine

As much as possible, maintain your same routine. Keep walking, feeding, playtime, and bedtime schedules consistent. If something has to change (e.g. the dog used to go out into the yard, but you no longer have a yard), set a new “normal” as soon as possible and stick to it.

Keep Familiar Items

While you may want new dishes, furniture, or clothes for your new home, your pet needs familiar items to help stay calm. Lay out favourite pillows and toys in the new home to help them feel comfortable.

Be Patient

Cats may hide. Dogs may bark or pace. Reassure your pet as best you can, but give them time and space to get used to their new home. Point out the essentials like the litter box or doggy door so they can re-orient themselves.

Give Extra Attention

If you can stay home a bit more for the first few days, or spend some extra time cuddling after work, your pet will appreciate it. If your pet is being difficult as a response to the move, a little extra love could ease their discomfort. If you absolutely can’t be home during the day, try and check in occasionally or ask a familiar person to stop in.

Get to Know Your Neighbours

Getting to know your neighbours is good for a lot of reasons, but in the case of your pets your neighbours will likely be the first ones to notice if your pet isn’t adjusting well, especially if you’re not home much or live in an apartment building. Let your neighbours know they can call or email if your dog is barking during the day, or if your cat gets out.