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Stress Free Moving with Pets

Moving to a new home /city might be exciting for us but can be stressful on our pets.

Routines change, pet owners are anxious themselves and our pets take their cues from us.

A move might mean that they are moved to the new location without all the family members present. They don’t have their bed and toys they are familiar with , things look and smell different. This can put stress on your pet and cause health issues like vomiting, diarrhea , loss of appetite.

Before the move:

Pets know something is up…you start packing boxes, rearranging things and deep cleaning. Strangers come in and out of the house, repairs are done and things are just not the same. As you get busier your pets’ routine might change as well…meal time might start to vary, they might get less exercise and attention and they spend more time locked away in a room or kennel as you are trying to get things done. All of this contributes to the stress your pet feels even before you move.

Keep an eye out for signs of stress and anxiety including not eating, whining, going to the bathroom in the house etc.

To minimize the stress level  

  • Try to keep mealtimes and routine around mealtime the same as before.
  • Play with your pet. Nothing stresses a pet more than to be suddenly ignored. Make sure they still get the attention they are used to.
  • Keep taking your dog for walks. Take your dog with you when you leave the house for showings etc.

During the move:

Moving is such a hectic time. Whether you are moving to a different city or just across town your pet will be stressed.

  • Keep them with you if at all possible. Your pet knew something was up prior to moving day and leaving them at a boarding facility or with friends can make the situation worse.
  • Have your pet properly identified (especially dogs and cats). If they get away during the move you may never see them again. It is best to have them microchipped and have an ID tag on their collar.
  • Make sure you have familiar toys and their bed with you. Even if you are planning on buying new toys, beds etc. ,make sure you have some of the familiar ones with you. Have them in the new house when you arrive with your pet.
  • Play… like during the pre-move make sure you make time for play, walks etc.

After the Move:

Once you are in the new house/apartment don’t forget your pets’ needs. Don’t let them roam free if you are not home. The unfamiliar surroundings stresses them and makes them anxious …prime time for bathroom accidents. A loose pet can also easily slip out the door when you arrive back home.

  • Go back to “puppy rules.” For the first week or two, keep your dog on leash so you can watch them for accidents or chewing. If you are leaving them unattended, put them in a kennel.
  • Routine: remember their routine and like before the move, stick to it. This will help your pet get comfortable quicker.
  • Play: make sure your pet is still getting attention and play even while you are busy unloading boxes. This will help alleviate stress.
  • Familiar smells: Keep your pets’ bed, toys, water bowls, etc., out there they can smell something familiar that’s “theirs.”
  •  Don’t have a house warming party with a bunch of people and your poor stressed pet the day after you move in. Give them time to acclimate to the new place before adding in more stressors. Same goes for getting a new pet, having some come visit/stay, etc.
  • Avoid added stressors. If your pet hates getting groomed, a bath, a nail trim, etc., don’t do this immediately in the new house. Do all this before the stress of pre-moving begins so you are not adding stress upon stress.

What To Do For Stress:

  • If your pet stops eating, has diarrhea or vomiting, acts nervous, scared, or withdraws and acts aloof, she is suffering from stress and needs some help.
  • You should take your dog to the vet to get them checked out. Your vet can make sure there is nothing else going on and can prescribe medicine if needed. Above all, watch your pet closely for any health signs (a stressed pet can get sick easily!) and take precautions to make sure they do not get lose in a strange neighborhood.

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