By Amanda Harper
If you really think about it, human behavior probably seems pretty weird to a dog. One of those weird things that people do that dogs just don’t get is the whole process of moving. We know what we’re doing, but to our pets, it probably seems really bizarre.
Human, why are you putting all of your stuff into stinky cardboard? Where did my toys go? I’m hungry–hey, my bowl is missing, too! Wait, who are these strange people taking all of our stuff? Wow, okay, I’ve never been to this place before–it’s nice, but when can we go HOME?
If you’re moving, it’s important to consider how to best acclimate your pets to their new environment and make them feel at ease with all the changes going on around them. This process may be stressful for you, but for your pet, it can be downright dangerous–moving stresses can cause health woes and teetering boxes can pose a physical threat to pets.
While actively moving, keep your pets crated up or locked away in a safe area, far from the hubub. Keep them leashed and out of harm’s way when walking around moving trucks or heavy boxes. Finally, don’t forget your pet’s needs! Don’t pack up their food, medicine, dishes or toys until the very last second. Remember to keep to your daily schedule as much as possible–take a walk, give your pet his medicine and food all at the usual times to avoid unnecessary stress. And always reassure your pet as much as possible. Your calming voice will allay anxiety.
How can you help a pet call a new place home? Unpack cozy items early, like their bed and favorite toys. Set up a safe haven for them to relax while you figure out which box you put the plates in. Allow your pet to sniff around as much as they want–this is how they discover their environment. Be patient if your pet hides or forgets their manners.
If the process drags out a while or your pet refuses to eat, consult your vet. Your pet’s anxiety may need some intervention. In the meantime, offer your pet plenty of attention. Snuggles on the couch will usually help a pet feel comfortable anywhere. Long walks will help her feel more comfortable with the neighborhood–just be slow and vigilant when introducing her to strange dogs and new friends on the block.
Making a new place your home is a process. For pets, it can be a difficult transition because they just don’t understand what you silly humans are up to. With a little patience and a lot of love, you and your pet will be at home in no time.