Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, packing up changing your location is stressful. One survey by the New York Post found that 45% of respondents believed moving is the most stressful life event. It can be even more stressful when you have a pet to consider. Because let’s face it – they’re part of the family!
It’s great to have checklists and schedules and systems in place while you prepare for the big move. But, people sometimes make the mistake of stopping their planning once the moving truck arrives at their new home.
When you have a pet, however, the real work has just begun. Remember, they haven’t been a part of your planning, and they don’t know what to expect when they arrive at a new place for the first time.
Upon arriving at your new home, there are a few things you should consider to make your four-legged friend as comfortable and content as possible. Let’s go over what you should be prioritizing once you’ve moved to make sure your pet has a positive experience.
Getting Them Used to the Space
Moving somewhere new might be stressful, but it’s also exciting. You and your family probably can’t wait to open the front door and go exploring in your new surroundings. But, your pet might not feel the same way, at first. It can feel like a sensory overload for them.
You can make the transition into a new home easier on your pet by introducing them slowly. Confine them in one room for a day or so. Of course, take them out frequently for some exercise and to use the bathroom.
While they’re in that room, make sure they have things that bring them comfort. That can include:
- One or two of their favorite toys
- Their bed or a blanket they like to sleep on
- One of your old t-shirts
- Some of their favorite treats or a chew bone to keep them busy
Once you feel like they’re comfortable in one room, introduce them to a few more spaces. You know your pet better than anyone. Pay attention to signs that they might feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. If they do, you can take things even slower. Patience is an important key when you’re getting your pet used to a new place. But, it’ll be well worth it when they’re just as comfortable there as you are.
Finding a Routine
Everyone should start to find a routine and balance that works for them in a new place, and your dog is no different. When you establish a routine for your furry friend, they’ll know what to expect each day and will start to feel at home very quickly.
Your pet’s routine can be a reflection of your own. Just make sure to keep it consistent each day. It might include waking up and going on a long walk, or spending time in the backyard while you have a cup of coffee. Making sure your pet is tired out before you leave the house for the day is a fantastic way to keep them content and out of trouble. As the saying goes – a tired dog is a good dog!
No matter what your routine looks like, make sure it includes time where you’re specifically giving your pet love and attention. Doing so can help to reduce any feelings of anxiety or stress they might be dealing with. After a move, your pet needs to know that you’re going to remain a constant in their life. A routine can help with that. Whether it’s a few minutes of throwing a ball around or just scratching behind their ears, you’ll be making a big difference for your furriest family member.
Keeping Them Healthy
Keeping your dog healthy is important no matter where you are. But, when you’re in a new place, their health and wellness should be a top priority for a while. That starts with connecting with a local veterinarian. A local vet can be a great resource in several ways. They can offer your furry companion the medical care they need. You might want to consider pet insurance if your dog or cat is older or if they have any underlying health issues.
In addition to medical care, an area vet can inform you of any specific health risks in the area, including things like:
- Excessive rain (this can lead to puddles that may be dangerous for your dog to drink from)
- Black mold
- Freezing winters
- Common plants or insects that may be harmful
Extreme heat can also be a problem in certain parts of the country. Your vet can let you know how to properly keep your dog cool during the summer months. Keeping them in the shade, providing plenty of fresh water, and letting them have fun in a kiddie pool are just a few “cool” ideas.
If your pet is struggling with anxiety or stress because of the move, talking to a vet is invaluable. They can offer you some stress-reducing techniques to try. In some cases, they may even prescribe medication for your pet that can help with anxiety.
Your pet might not realize all you’re doing for them by connecting with a quality vet. But, doing so can offer you peace of mind. You’ll have a wonderful resource at your fingertips, you’ll know your pet can get care whenever it’s needed, and you’ll learn more about the area and the potential risks your four-legged family member could face.
Becoming a Part of the Community
It’s just as important for your pet to become a part of the community as any other family member. After all, they can’t stay cooped up in the house forever! Dogs, in particular, should be getting exercise every day. Some breeds need more than others. But, every pooch benefits from a walk around the neighborhood.
In addition to being great exercise, it’s also a fantastic way to meet your neighbors and their canine companions.
If you really want your dog to get to know some new friends, find a local dog park and allow them to run around. Did you know that dogs actually benefit from having friends? It can reduce their stress levels, and provide a sense of comfort and safety.
However, keep in mind that you should make sure your dog is registered and has its tags before taking them to a park or walking around the neighborhood. You need to register to vote in a new community, right? It’s just as important for your dog to be registered within the county. If they ever get lost or run away, their registration will make it easy for them to be identified and found. Thankfully, registering your pet is easy. Most cities allow you to go through the process online.
If these tips seem a little overwhelming, they don’t have to be! You’re already planning everything ahead of the move. Making sure to plan for your pet post-move is just one more addition that will make a big difference. By utilizing these ideas, the entire transition will be smoother for everyone, and your whole family (including the four-legged members) can start to enjoy your new home and community that much faster.
About the Author:
Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.