Between 20 to 40% of dogs can have anxiety, according to the College of Veterinary Medicine. If you have adopted a pet recently and it gets a little anxious either during trips, when entering unfamiliar territory or being left alone in a new home, you may worry about the effect that moving can have. Adaptation is only one piece of the puzzle, of course. Dogs and cats alike can feel anxious during transportation, which can get in the way of the removal process. Follow these tips to enjoy a relaxing, stress-free move; one that your pooch or kitten adapts to almost as quickly as you do.
Safety Comes First
While you are packing personal items and furniture and dismantling larger items for your move, ensure your dog isn’t running around near you or removal company staff. Boards, nails, and heavy items can pose a risk, especially to smaller dogs and to cats who may unwittingly get in the way of the work being done. Ensure your pet is crate trained in the months leading up to your move, so that you can quickly pop Fido or Kitty in the crate while potentially dangerous work is going on.
Building a Sense of Familiarity
Once you have selected your new accommodation, try to reduce your dog’s or cat’s anxiety by filling various spaces with its favorite things – toys, bowls, beds in more than one room, etc. Your pet may have separation anxiety for a few days when you leave it alone, so make sure all doors and windows are secure, so that your dog does not escape out of a sense of fear. Even before you make your move, you should already have looked out for potential safety issues – including stairs, electrical cords, and chemicals left out. Bring a baby gate to keep puppies from falling down steps. Safely store away all cords and chemicals. Remember that cats are particularly agile and can find a way to enter almost every space. If your cat tends to open drawers, use kids’ proof devices to ensure its paws are far away from harsh cleaning products, fertilizers, anti-freeze, etc.
Traveling with Your Pet
As soon as you adopt your dog or cat, try to get them used to being in a moving vehicle. Take your pet with you when dropping your kids off at school, ensuring they are well secured in a certified pet transporter, and buckled up for greater security. Start off with small trips and eventually increase the length of your journey, especially if your new home is over an hour away by car from where you currently live. During your journey, ensure your pet’s crate is well secured. Do not keep any boxes or heavy items near the crate, to keep your furry friend safe in the event of sudden braking, etc.
Break Time for Four Pawed Friends
Ensure you stop often enough for your dog to do its necessities and give its limbs a good stretch. If you are unfamiliar with the territory you are stopping in, keep your dog on a leash to control where it is going. Cats may be a bit more challenging since they do not generally do well on leashes. Consider staying overnight at a pet friendly establishment if you need to travel for over six hours. You can bring a foldable cat tray and litter along.
Keep pets in one part of the home until they get used to it. This will help keep stress at bay and help them feel more secure. If you have more than one cat, you may want to select a personal space for each. Spend equal time with each kitty so they don’t feel they have to compete with other pets during what can be a slightly stressful time.
For the vast majority of Americans, pets are a crucial component of the family. When it’s time to move residence, the question isn’t ‘if’ your pet will be going with you, but rather, ‘how’ to transport them and ensure they adapt to their new surrounds. By investing in good traveling crates and safety belts for pets, stopping frequently so pets can relieve themselves, and taking care to make your new home safe and secure, your pets will soon feel at home and life will go on as peacefully as it always has.