|Your move may be complete, but now begins the adaptation process for your entire family. This includes getting your pet adjusted to your new home. By taking extra steps in your post-move life, you can facilitate this adjustment for your family's most adorable member.
Ease the transition
Whether you have a dog, a cat, a reptile, or a smaller animal, there are plenty of ways to get your pet used to the change.
- Stick to the routine. Chances are, you've developed a routine with your pet over the years. You have a specific schedule for waking up in the morning, meals, exercise and going to bed at night. Try to stay as close as you can to this established routine to ease your pet's transition into its new home.
- Consistency is key. Bring your pet's favorite toys, treats, and bowls to your new home. While moving may seem like the perfect opportunity to purchase new items for your pet, this "out with the old, in with the new" mentality doesn't always work with animals. Most pets are creatures of habit and become accustomed to specific people, items, schedules and locations. Since the location is the variable in this case, you should attempt to keep the other three as consistent as possible.
- Keep it familiar. Similar to your pet's belongings, furniture arrangement is also important. Keep some of your old furniture rather than replace everything with new stuff. At the very least, make sure you unpack your pet's bed, crate or other sleeping materials so it can recognize something from the old home.
Encourage the adjustment
Setting up your new home like your old home equals setting your pet up for success in its new environment. However, there are also various ways you can manage the transition -- more emotionally than physically.
- Minimize anxiety. Pets tend to experience sympathetic anxiety. This means that if an animal's owner is noticeably stressed, that animal is likely to follow suit. The best way to avoid misbehavior is to remain cool, calm and collected during your move so that your pet doesn't immediately associate its new home with stress. If necessary, it's a good idea to place your pet in a quiet place like a bedroom or bathroom during the move. It is also ideal to have a majority of your furniture and belongings moved into your new home before you arrive with your pet.
- Reassure safety. Adjusting to a new home is a lot of work for everyone, but you must still give your pet its usual attention. Maintaining your typical routine is a great way to do this, especially if it involves extended playtime.
- Explore the neighbourhood. If you have an animal that spends a decent amount of time outside, you may want to take it on an introductory walk around the block. After everything is unpacked and your pet feels comfortable inside the new house, it's a good idea to venture outside to acquaint your pet with the surrounding environment. This may even include introducing yourself and your pet to your new neighbours. Familiarizing your pet with people it will see frequently can pay dividends; for example, if your pet is ever lost, your neighbours are more likely to help if they know the animal. Also, this familiarity will make your pet feel safe and show that this new environment is not threatening to its well-being.
- Be patient. Adapting to change takes time -- for humans and pets. In a pet's life, adjusting to a new home may be one of the most difficult things it ever has to do. Keep in mind that moving is a life-changing process for both you and your pet, and animals may take a bit longer to get accustomed to a new environment.
There's a popular saying that you "can't teach an old dog new tricks." Well, with these tips, you can certainly get your pet adjusted to your new home. For more information about getting a pet adjusted to your new home, check out our other tips on moving with pets