Contributed by Jennifer Dew, 9 to 5 Pets
The housing market has been on fire with so many people relocating in response to their newfound freedom to live where they want to and work from home. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, we’ve definitely seen an influx of new peeps to our shores in Northeast Florida. And with the rise in demand for our homes, this has been a great time for many of us to sell! Often, when we’re on the move, we forget the effects this change can have on our pets. So whether you’re buying or selling, here are some tips on how you can help ease your pets through the transition of moving and help them settle into their new home with the least amount of anxiety and stress.
Keep Them in Routine
Pets are creatures of habit. Having a routine around meal times, walks, playtime, sleep time,etc. is comforting to our pets and helps them navigate and make sense of their days. When you’re settling into a new home, there are a lot of changes taking place. So when you move, it’s more important than ever to keep your pets on their usual routine which will reassure them and help them better adjust to their new environment.
Get Their Energy Out
Too much pent up energy can lead to heightened levels of stress in our pets. So be sure and extend those walks and increase their playtime to help them release their energy and better wrap their paws around the transition and change.
Make a Space for Them
Create a space they can call their own, even if temporary, with their bed, blanket, toys, food and water bowls. Giving them their own space to retreat to with familiar smells, touches and feels will help comfort them and make them feel at home again as they’re adjusting to their new surroundings.
Shower Them With Affection
Moving is a stressful and time consuming process for us, so don’t forget the TLC our pets need to get through it too. Set aside some time just for them for extra pets and playtime to help reassure them that everything’s okay and that they are still a priority.
Stay at Home With Them
As you’re settling into your new home, make plans to stay at home with your pets as much as possible the first week. It can take some time for your pets to understand that this is their new home and a safe place to be. So stick by their side the first week, even if it means staying home from work or turning down plans to go out with friends and family. Having your company will help them better acclimate and reinforce their sense of security (you) in their new home. Then after the first week, gradually increase the duration of their alone time. Start by leaving for just a half hour and slowly work your way up from there. Be sure and drain their energy before you leave them with a long walk, fetch, or playtime with their toys. And help them associate your absence with a positive reward such as their favorite toy or a high value treat like a Kong toy filled with frozen peanut butter, freeze dried liver, or their favorite jerky. You can also keep them busy with games that are mentally stimulating for them. Puzzles and slow dispense treat toys are great for both dogs and cats.
Stress and anxiety can bring about unusual behavior in our pets. So if they have an accident in the house or bark excessively at a passerby, be patient with them and keep in mind that this behavior is relative to the stress and anxiety they’re feeling from the move and that they are doing the best they can. Keep reinforcing all these tips we’ve shared to help them settle in and the negative behavior should subside quickly.
Remember that “home” for your pets is where you are. It may take a few weeks, but your pets will settle in and all will be normal again with you by their side. Just stay patient and supportive through the process.