How to Keep Your Pets Calm & Safe When Moving to a New Home

When you get ready to move to a new home, some of the first things you likely will consider is packing and hiring movers. If you own pets, however, you’ll also want to think about how you can ensure a smooth transition for your furry friends.

Here are some expert tips from that pet owners can use to make sure the move is less traumatic for these beloved family members.

1. Find another place for pets on moving day

Cats can be confined to a specific room in the old or new place to keep them away from the activity—complete with a sign on the closed door to prevent escapes that says: “Cat Inside: Please Do Not Open Door.”

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to board dogs or have them stay elsewhere for a few days to give you time to unpack and get their things set up before bringing them home. Knowing they are safe and out of the way can make the move less stressful for you as well.

2. Never wash your pets’ belongings before the move

Although it might seem like a good idea to wash your pets’ belongings or to buy them new things before a move for a fresh start, keep in mind that familiar smells can help ease anxiety.

Beds, blankets, toys, litter boxes, and food and water bowls bring the scent of the old home into the new one, substantially reducing pets’ stress and helping them better adjust. It’s also a good idea to pack your pets’ items at the last minute to make sure they feel at home while you’re preparing to move.

3. Keep your eyes on them in their new environment

Once you’ve moved in, watch your pets closely as they explore their new place—and check inside and outside for possible escape routes. For instance, if your new house has a fence, be safe by keeping an eye on your dog while outside.

And ease your pets into new sights and sounds while walking them around the neighborhood. Finally, always introduce yourself and your pet to neighbors. Give your number to neighbors and explain that your pets still are adjusting to a new place, so if they’re barking too much, neighbors can politely tell you.

4. Don’t change your pets’ setup too much

Because cats are territorial and feel safest in familiar spaces, moving can cause unusual behavior like hiding, fearfulness and being more vocal. Setting up a “safe room” with your cats’ necessary and favorite things for the first few hours, days or even weeks can help them adjust.

Also consider arranging beds, crates, and toys as close to the old setup as possible. Giving dogs a sense of familiarity with where their stuff is located can make them feel more at home.

5. Follow your pets’ usual routine

Sticking to regular feeding schedules, walk times, play activities and other familiar tasks create stability. If your dog wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning to go outside and then has breakfast, be sure to follow this same schedule in the new house.

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