|Why doesn't this chair feel soft anymore, I don't like it!|
Moving creates lots of stress for people, there’s so much to coordinate, packing is exhausting, and so much can go wrong. Pets sense that something is happening and that you’re stressed about it but they don’t know what it is. This stresses them out too!
Pets like routine and familiar surroundings. Their home is their safe, stable environment. Seeing you pack up ALL of the family’s belongings can be distressing to pets. It’s especially distressing when they witness their own belongings like pet beds and toys being tossed into boxes and taken away.
|Phoebe wasn't too sure what I was doing with her toys but she didn't like it!|
Your packing activities, the sight and sounds of strange packaging materials not only stress them out but there are some safety hazards as well. Pets are curious and may get into packing materials. Plastic wrapping, boxes and box fillings (like foam peanuts), packing tape, and large heavy blankets could all potentially be a safety risk to pets. They may even try to burrow and hide in some of these items which could be disastrous. My Husky couldn’t stand the sound of us taping up boxes using tape and the tape gun! She’d run to the back door to get away from it and we’d have to let her out in the yard. Phoebe didn’t much like seeing me pack up some of their toys in a box and cart it out to the garage, she was visibly upset and kept poking her head in the box and looking back at me like “What are you doing with my toys?!?”. I felt so bad!
|The dogs didn't understand what all the moving boxes were for!|
As you pack and move, watch for signs of stress in your pet like lip licking, tail between the legs or very stiff, pacing, excessive panting or drooling, yawning, and whining. If your pet is stressed, try to distract them or calm them down.
How To Make Moving With Your Pet Easier
Moving with pets doesn't have to be stressful for them, there are some things you can do to make moving easier for your pet. It’s a good idea to get the pets OUT of the house for awhile during critical times throughout your move. A familiar and trusted family member or friend, a reputable boarding facility, or a pet sitter who can take your dog to their home can be so helpful in keeping your pet calm. Doggie day camp is also a good idea if you just want to get them safely out of the house during the day while you show the home or meet with moving professionals. It’s worth adding a few bucks to your moving cost to keep pets safe and reduce stress on you and your pet.
If you can move out before putting your home up for sale that’s a huge plus! We were fortunate enough to be able to do that with our move this Summer. We grappled with the decision to pack up and put the Phoenix house up for sale while we were all still living there, or move to New York first and then have my husband travel back to Phoenix to get the house ready for sale and listed.
|It takes awhile to settle into a new home. Things are often in disarray for a long time. As long as the dogs had their stuff around them, they were ok.|
If we had decided to remain in the house while we had it up for sale we would have scheduled day camp at PetSmart for Icy so she could be out of the house when it was being shown and also burn lots of energy playing. Phoebe could easily be kept out of the way, she’s small and not nearly as…. how should I put it….. excited when people come over as Icy is! We didn’t know how long it might take to sell the house so it might have been a lot of running back and forth to daycamp and/or boarding.
As it turned out, our house sold quickly. I often wonder if it was because the house was so clean (and no pet hair!), largely open and empty, with just a few “staged” pieces left to showcase the space. It worked out great, although we did miss my husband when he had to go back to Phoenix for 3 weeks to get the house ready for sale, meet with the realtor, and list it. He traveled back once more for the closing. It was so worth it though, some extra travel expense for him but so much less stress for us and the dogs!
If you’re not driving to your new home and need to fly, it helps if you can get settled before your pet joins you. My cat Maggie flew from New York to Phoenix when we moved out there. My parents agreed to keep her until our 3 month house search was complete and we were moved in. I was grateful they were able (and willing) to help us with Maggie. It was so helpful to have her arrive in our new house and see all the familiar furniture, and her bed and toys all ready for her.
When Your Pets Arrive At The New Home
As soon as you arrive at your new home, introduce your dog to the area through walks through the neighborhood and drives around the area. I love taking my dogs to the local Starbucks. They’re used to Starbucks and they LOVE a good Puppuccino ! Take them to the local PetSmart or Petco if they’ve visited those places in the old neighborhood. These stores tend to look and smell very similar from city to city so it may seem familiar. It’s also a great distraction, and if you give them some treats they’ll really enjoy the trip.
Try to introduce them to the neighbors next door and directly
behind you if they’re friendly – the neighbors, that is! This will not only be helpful for your dog,
but it’s a good idea to let neighbors know what your pet looks like in case
they get out and wander. If they recognize your pet, they'll contact you before calling Animal Control!
|Taking your pet to a new place that seems familiar, like a PetSmart store, may make them feel more comfortable in a new neighborhood.|
Packing, moving, & unpacking are stressful and time consuming but don’t forget about the dogs potty, meal, and playtime schedules! You’ll need to get your dog used to the potty routine in your new home. They'll need to learn where the doors are, which ones they’ll go out of for walks and pottying, and where they are permitted to potty. Try to quickly establish the new routine for potty schedule & location, eating, playtime and walks.
Scents from familiar bedding, toys, and blankets will help acclimate pets to the new home so unpack those early on. As you unpack, scents from your old home will probably comfort your pet. Each time I unpacked something, the dogs would sniff, sniff, sniff, and I could see they were happy to see familiar possessions come out of the boxes!
If you’ve packed away the carrier or crate, this is a good time to break it out! It can offer some comfort in the new environment, especially if you have to start work right away or when you need to leave your pet alone in the house for any length of time. A frightened or disoriented pet can be destructive!
If the new home is in a very different type of environment spend some extra time acclimating your pet. If you’re moving from the suburbs to a city environment, loud and constant noises of the city may be unsettling. Likewise, if you move from an urban environment to the suburbs or a rural area the sounds of wildlife or other animals and more darkness outside may frighten them. When we moved back to our house in New York, Icy was a little freaked out by an opossum that took up residence behind our garage. She had never encountered an opossum and was obsessed with him! I was afraid she might get injured so I kept a close eye on her and didn’t let her spend more than just a few minutes outside to potty in the yard at night.
If you spend the time and effort getting your pet acclimated to their new home and neighborhood, you’ll both be on your way to a happy new life!
If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Tips for Road Trips With Dogs
Tips for Traveling By Air With Pets
Have you moved with pets before? Leave us a comment and share your experience with us! We always love hearing from you.