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Tips for Helping Pets Acclimate to a New Home

Small dog sitting on bed in minimalist room
@hellomikee / Twenty20

Moving on up may be exciting for you, but Fido isn’t too sure he’s into it. Pets don’t love change. Stress manifests in pets in a variety of ways: peeing on carpets, barking, and hiding are among the most common. Indoor pets only know a very limited familiar world, and when everything about that world changes, it can send them into a tailspin! Thankfully, you can mitigate some of their stress so they don’t tear up your furniture or pee in your shoes as revenge.

Here are our favorite tips for helping your pets get used to your new home:

Preparing for the move

You have time to mentally prepare for a move, but as far as your animals know, everything is hunky-dory until you start packing. Helping pets cope with a move has a lot to do with how well you prepare them for it. You can:

Crate train

You’ll need to put your dog or cat in a crate at some point during the move, if even for a short car ride. Start encouraging your pets to lay in their crate for a few weeks before the move. If it’s not a scary space to them because it’s been their nap zone recently, they may spaz out less about being crated while you’re driving to the new place.

Start packing early

Suitcases often signal trouble for pets. Imagine what will happen when everything goes in a box at once! Begin your packing process at least a week before the move day, so pets have a chance to sniff around and see that the sky isn’t falling.

Consult your vet for a pet prescription

Your pet’s doctor may be able to prescribe safe anti-anxiety medications to have on hand when the move goes down. If you don’t have a vet’s prescription, you can still purchase a selection of anti-anxiety supplements to put your furry friend’s mind at ease on move day.

Note: We recommend not waiting until move day to try any medications on your pet for the first time; test them out at least once beforehand.

On Moving Day

You’ll be stressed out enough on moving day; do you really want to add a pet meltdown to the mix? Here’s how to keep moving day from getting sidetracked by your pet:

Use a soft cover crate: Using a large, soft-cover crate where pets can move around a bit is less stressful than a small, hard crate. Especially when you’re in the car.

Keep toys near: Your pet’s favorite lovey could provide much-needed comfort on moving day. Have a bag of stuffed animals, special treats, and a comfort blanket on hand all day. You can find tons of adorable toys to keep your furry family members occupied and at ease.

(Plus, don’t forget to reward them with a special surprise once move day is finally over!)

Administer meds as necessary: Use the meds if you need to. No shame.

Getting used to a new home

You’re all settled into your new place, and your pet is still down in the dumps? It might take some time for them to treat your new house like a home. Here’s how you can help:

Stay close: Extra snuggles are called for when you move into a new home. Try not to schedule a vacation right after you move. Exacerbating the number of changes could turn your pup into a depressed creature.

Let them sniff: Let your pets explore as much as they want. They may want to roll around and get their scent on stuff or investigate every corner of the space; allowing them to orient themselves will help them become comfortable.

Make things familiar: Try burning the same candles and using the same cleaning supplies. Set out your pet’s favorite bed in a similar place (such as near the left end of the couch) so things are as familiar as they can be during the adjustment period. This isn’t the time to change food brands or stop letting them sleep on the bed.

Moving can be stressful, but planning helps you keep your pets from freaking out. And that’s better for the whole family.

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