Moving to a new house isn’t just one of the most stressful life events for humans, but also for our four-legged friends. The unfamiliar scares everyone, and can be awkward at first, but comforting once you and your pets get used to your surroundings. Lee Thompson and the bachelorettes from The Bachelor South Africa experience some of those strange feels during their home visits this week. That’s exactly how our pets feel moving into a new home.
In between the chaos of cardboard boxes, bubble-wrapped goods, moving trucks and unfamiliar faces, you might not notice your pet’s stress and confusion. That’s why we’re here to remind you to never forget about your pet’s feelings and to give you 3 helpful ways to make moving less stressful for your fur-kids.
The first step in helping your pet prepare for moving day is getting them used to a pet carrier. No matter how near – or far – you’re moving. Your cat or small pooch will be safer in their VIP (very important pet) carrier. Introduce them to the carrier by putting their favourite blanky and treats inside, leaving the door open, and making the experience a pleasant one.
The next step is familiarising your pet with car travel. Start with short, 10-minute trips, then longer 20-minute rides. You’ll find that your fur friend’s anxiety decreases as they get more comfortable with cruising.
What about travelling with big barking buddies?
They are obviously not going to fit in a pet carrier. Put their favourite blanky in the car with a treat and let them get used to being a backseat driver. Keep your big boy on a leash and allow a trusted loved one to tag along for company.
When you arrive at your new place at the end of your car trip, it will be tempting to set your dog or cat loose in the house to explore their new surroundings. However, a new and unfamiliar place could freak your poor pet out and leave them stressed and confused. That’s why you need to make them feel at home and comfortable.
Make sure that your pets are comfortable with their new surroundings. Start by allowing them to adjust to one room, which should include their favourite toys, treats, water and food bowls and a litter box for kitties. When they seem comfy in that room, gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house, while keeping the front and back doors of the house shut. Make sure that they also spend time outside in the garden under supervision. With patience and time, your fur-kid will feel comfy and relaxed in their new haven.
Be there for your furry friend and give them time to adjust to your new family home. Pay attention to the growls, loud barks and continuous moans. Those are calls for attention in times of longing for comfort and familiarisation. You know that by now, but moving can be overwhelming. Commit to spending quality time with your pet every day. Explore your new surroundings together by going for a walk in the neighbourhood or spend some time in the park.
If you keep the above 3 tips in mind, you’ll reduce the stress of moving for yourself (and your pets). Also, make sure to find a new vet immediately after you’ve settled in to ensure that your pet has access to medical attention, should their new environment overwhelm them and result in an accidental injury.
Enjoy the fresh start and embrace the change!