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Moving is tricky enough for humans, and it can be even harder for our furry friends. After all, they don’t get a say in the house or apartment hunting process, and there’s no way to explain why everything is in boxes and nothing smells like them anymore. Fortunately, there are steps you can take from the very start to make things easier on your pets. P.L.A.Y. seeks to empower pet owners to be the best guardians possible for their furry friends.
Here are some moving tips to smooth the process for everyone.
On the Hunt
While you’re searching for your next home, it’s very important to keep your pet in mind. For example, if you’re apartment hunting, take a close look at the apartment’s pet policy. Many rentals have breed or weight restrictions or might require you to vouch for your pet’s good behavior. You should also consider any greenspace, or the walkability of the neighborhood, to make sure there’s plenty of opportunities to exercise your pet.
If you’re looking for a home, you should still keep these things in mind, but properties don’t have to be perfect. For example, if you have a dog that loves to go out, you might want to search for a house with a fence. If an otherwise perfect property lacks a fence, however, it’s relatively easy and affordable to have a fence installed. Keep potential upgrades in mind while searching for a property, and don’t get too bogged down by details you have the power to change.
Packing and Prep
Once you have your next home secured, you need to start packing up. However, the prep work for moving day can seriously stress your pets out. Many animals get anxious at any sign of change. Consistency makes them feel safe and secure, so when everything they recognize starts going away into boxes, they can get a little unhinged.
Little things can help prevent undue stress, however. For example, you can set up a safe zone made up of favorite toys, a comfy pet bed, and items that smell like you. Don’t pack any of this up until moving day, and pack it in a labeled box that will be easy to find in your new place.
You need to have a specific, well-thought-out plan for your pet on moving day. Many pet owners don’t realize that moving day can be surprisingly dangerous for our furry friends. Heavy items are getting lifted into the air, doors are left open, cleaning supplies might be out and easily accessed - there are myriad hazards for pets to get into.
It’s often a good call to have your pal stay with a friend, pet sitter, or pet daycare on moving day. This keeps them out of the way of the movers, keeping both parties safer. It also gives you the peace of mind of knowing they won’t dart out of an open door or get into something toxic.
Once you’re in your new place, introduce your pet to the new home gradually. Start by unpacking that safety zone in a single room with a closable door. Set up their food, water, and any other supplies they’ll need in that room, and give them some time to get used to that space. Once they’re exploring that area with confidence, open the door. This allows them to explore their new home at their own pace and provides them a familiar zone to return to if they get anxious or uncomfortable.
Remember, this is a big adjustment for them. Don’t rush them or force them to explore new rooms, and don’t be surprised if it takes your pet a few days (or even weeks) to get comfortable in your new space. With time and lots of love, your furry friend will feel right at home.