Moving can be exciting for us, but our dogs and cats often find it disorienting and stressful. If you’re planning a move, these five steps from the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society (ontariospca.ca) will help your animal companion weather the upheaval with a minimum of anxiety.
1. INTRODUCE THE IDEA OF MOVING
Bring out boxes, newspaper and bubble wrap well before you start to pack, and introduce them to your animal friend. For cats, bring the carrier out early, and leave it in her favorite room. This will allow her to get used to it slowly.
Pack your animal’s favorite toys last. The same applies to his bed; this way he has a safe place to go if he does start to feel anxious.
2. KEEP THINGS FAMILIAR ON MOVING DAY
If possible, ask a trusted friend to keep your dog at her own home on the day you move. If that’s not doable, have a family member take on the important job of “dog sitter” during the moving process to ensure he is comfortable, calm and doesn’t dart out the door while you’re taking boxes and furniture out.
Put your cat in her favorite room on moving day along with comforting items like couch
cushions, a scratching post or blanket. Move these items last in order to help surround her with them for as long as possible.
3. HELP HIM SETTLE INTO HIS NEW HOME
Take your dog for a nice long walk before you bring him into your new home. While you’re doing that, have someone else set up the dog’s bed and favorite toys in a special, out-of-the-way area of the home where he can relax while you unpack.
Set up your cat’s “landing room” at the new house using the same comforting items from the old house, and also bring her carrier, food/water and litter box into the room. Shut the door before you start moving the rest of your items inside. Afterwards, open
the door and let her come out on her own when she’s ready. Have her favorite person sit with her so she feels safe.
4. LET YOUR DOG OR CAT EXPLORE AT HIS OWN PACE
Let your pup explore your new home at his own pace, and give him lots of positive reinforcement with treats and affection.
Get the rest of the house set up before allowing your cat to explore more. She can stay in her landing room until she feels safe enough to do so; do not rush this process, even if it takes a few days.
5. RE-ESTABLISH A REGULAR ROUTINE
As soon as possible, get back to a regular schedule, and if possible, take a few days off after the move so you can be at the new home with your dog or cat. This will help him feel safe in the new space while you both adjust to your surroundings together.