Your pets are part of the family and you want them to be happy at all times! However, you have a big move coming up and you know this will cause them stress and discomfort. Whether you are moving to a new house or relocating to a new city, pets feel all the anxiety that comes with this huge change. If only we could tell them what was going on! Here are a few tips that will help reduce stress and anxiety for your pets during your next big move.
Tip 1: Get them used to the crate and the car.
Whether you are travelling via car, plane, or train, you may be considering using a crate. If your pets are not used to a crate, you will want to start getting them comfortable with it before the move. Start by leaving the crate open for them to explore. You may also try placing their food in the crate so that they associate the crate with food, which is a positive experience. Also, try placing blankets or a bed in the crate to make it less cold and uncomfortable. During the move, placing a towel in the crate is a good idea for easy clean up in case they get sick. If you are not planning on using a crate, you may want to consider having one and leaving it open. That way if they get scared during the journey they have somewhere to hide and feel safe.
If you are travelling by car, make sure your pets are used to car rides. If they only get in the car when they go to the vet they will most likely have negative feelings right from the start. Take them on a couple short drives to give them a positive car experience. This will also help you determine if car-sickness will be an issue. It’s always a good idea to bring clean-up materials just in case.
Familiarity means comfort and security. Get your pet familiar with their surroundings during the move to help lessen anxiety.
Tip 2: Do not move their food or resting place until it’s time to go.
While it’s tempting to pack everything up at the same time, moving your pets sleeping area or food bowls will immediately cause them distress. Not only are their surroundings changing, but now their stuff is gone! If possible, keep everything where it usually is until it’s time to leave. This includes food bowls, beds, and where they usually spend most of their time. Your pet’s belongings should be one of the last things you pack. There are already so many changes going on that you need to help your pets feel a sense of security.
Tip 3: Make a handy travel kit.
Like a parent with a diaper bag, you will need to make a handy travel kit to make sure your pets have everything they need for the journey- food, water, bowls, a bed, a favorite toy, medications, leashes, harnesses, treats, etc. Depending on the length of your journey, you may want to take scoops of food in a zip-lock bag rather than lugging around the entire food-bag. Make sure your kit includes items that are comforting to the animal, such as a favorite toy or treat. This can be a good distraction later if they get uncomfortable. The travel kit should all be organized in one bag and be easily accessed throughout the journey. This will make your life easier and your pets won’t have to wait around for you to go searching through all of your belongings. If you have a cat or animal that uses a litter box, you may want to consider purchasing a disposable litter box and putting it in a crate. This way you can throw it out at the end of your journey, rather than worrying about cleaning it. If you have a dog, take bathroom stops often even if they can typically hold it for long periods of time. The stress may upset their stomach and they may even get car-sick. Your travel kit will depend on your pets’ needs- you know them best!
Tip 4: Be comforting and understanding.
As annoying as it is to hear barking, whining, meowing- whatever the sound- as a pet owner you need to keep in mind that your pets are scared. They don’t know what’s happening, so the best thing you can do is be calm and reassure them with affection. If you act stressed and panicked your pets will feel this and reflect the same behavior. In certain cases, many owners choose to medicate their pet if they know this will help them stay relaxed. Whatever your method, make sure you show them lots of love and patience during the move!
Moving can be extremely stressful on you and your family, so it is important to make sure you do not let this stress negatively affect your pets. Your pets may have a difficult time during the move, so make sure you are patient and empathize with their fears. Following these four tips will help them feel less anxiety during the move and allow your trip to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible!