Moving is a stressful experience all around! Packing your various items and organizing your schedule, all while trying to maintain your current lifestyle, can be a difficult and daunting task. Having pets makes the situation even more complicated, as you must consider their wants and needs as well. A pet is a very big responsibility and will inevitably take up a lot of your time, since they need to be walked and played with in order to exert their energy. If energy is not spent or if your pet is kept in isolation for long periods of time, their frustration can turn into destructive behavior, which is then taken out on your furniture and your home in general. This can be detrimental to your investments and may even have a negative impact on your (and your pet’s) mental health. That is why, when planning a big move, it is vital to take your furry friend’s feelings into consideration and take certain measures to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Recognizing Anxiety In Your Pet
Anxiety is a very personal experience, with different animals reacting in their own special way. Thankfully, these signs are often shown physically and can be treated in several ways. It is important to recognize when your pet is suffering and when you need to step in and help them out.
Lowered Ears and Tail – This is an obvious sign that your pet is in distress. A tail between the legs or ears pressed back against their head are ways your pet can demonstrate that it is scared or distraught and may need additional attention and reassurance from their owner.
Whimpering and Other Vocalizations – A vocal cat or dog may be a good indication that they are stressed, scared or confused, especially if barking, hissing, whimpering and whining is not a normal occurrence in your household. Excessive scratching and shaking can also be a way for your pet to demonstrate irritation.
Destructive Behavior – Destroying curtains, ripping furniture and chewing on shoes are (typically) the final and most aggressive indications of anxiety and stress in your animal. This can turn into further aggression, such as scratching, biting and pouncing, all which can lead to terrible consequences for you and your family.
Packing & Moving
Packing all of your (and your pet’s) belongings is an incredibly stressful and time-consuming process. However, there are numerous ways to ease the transition between your old home and your new one for your furry friend.
Buy in Advance – It would be wise to buy and bring home all the packing materials you plan to use well before you need to use them. This includes cardboard boxes, packing peanuts or bubble wrap, and packing tape. These new items can scare your animal and make them anxious, as they now anticipate some sort of change. Buying these objects before using them will give your pet some piece of mind, as they can slowly get used to these new things being in their personal space. It will also give them time to investigate on their own terms, sniffing, pawing at and growing accustomed to the packing materials.
Patience and Companionship – Carving out time to spend with your cat or dog is essential for their cognitive growth and their overall wellbeing. Be patient and understanding when your pet acts needy or demanding, as they are living, breathing creatures that crave attention. Dedicate time to your dog daily by taking them on long walks, playing an exhilarating game of fetch or giving them the snuggles and kisses they so rightfully deserve. Cats, although typically solitary creatures, may also seek out attention during this stressful time, so be sure to spend time playing with them or simply petting them. Love and compassion can be an effective enough remedy for your pet’s anxious tendencies.
Set Up a “Home Base” – It may seem tempting to let your pet roam your new property, but it is wise to set up a room that has all the essentials needed to survive for a short period of time. This is called the “home base” and allows your anxious or skittish pet to become accustomed to one room at a time, lessening their fear and relieving their stress.
Adjusting To The Move
There are quite a few ways to keep your furry friend comfortable during this otherwise crazy time in your life, diminishing their stress and subsequently ensuring a smooth transition.
Keep Up Your Old Routines – A new environment can be a major change in your pet’s life, especially if their home was otherwise stable and recognizable. Having an organized schedule and a consistent routine is important for both cats and dogs, as they are typically creatures of habit. Keeping up the old routine in the new home can help your pet adjust quicker and with more success. Feeding them at the same time they are used to and finding time for walking, playing and cuddling can help your pet feel safe and in control of the situation.
Moving, although a difficult task, does not have to be stressful. If you plan accordingly, keep up a consistent routine and, most importantly, be patient with one another, you and your pet will feel at home in no time!