Today may be National Love Your Pets Day, but those of us who have pets know that our love for them is strong everyday. So if you are buying a new home it is likely that you are already concerned about the well being of your animals during the big move. Here are some tips to make the transition process less stressful for your furry friends and exotic creatures.
Find A Pet Friendly Neighborhood & Home
When you speak with your Realtor about the must haves for your dream home make sure to mention your concerns that both the neighborhood and home need to be pet friendly. Such things to watch out for in the neighborhood would be dogs that seem aggressive or are left unattended and lots stray cats roaming the alleys.
Most importantly the home and yard should be pet friendly as well. Do your pets have enough space inside and outside for themselves to roam comfortably? Is the yard fenced in? Is there a place in the home to set your lizard or fish tank that will remain the right temperature? Enough room to place a hidden litter pan? Does an older dog need get to the backdoor for frequent bathroom breaks or have to avoid stairs? Consider your pets needs as you would your own because in the end if they are stressed you will be too.
Start the packing process early and in rooms the pets don't often frequent. If you have the space, start stocking up on boxes several weeks before your move. Place less commonly used items in the boxes and leave them open. Your pets will be curious at first, but soon they won’t give them a second glance. Once the packing process starts to unfold keep your pets in a familiar room that you plan to pack up last and do your best to stick to their daily routines. Pets are creatures of habit. The more their schedule changes, the higher their anxiety level rises. The packing process can also become time consuming and stressful for you so don't forget to take breaks to give your pets the love and attention they are used to so they don't get depressed or feel neglected.
Before bringing your pet to their new home make sure to pet-proof it first. If the previous owners had animals, flea bombing the rooms and cleaning the home of any residual infestations or scents will make for a happier transition for your pet. Tuck away electrical cords, secure window and door screens, remove poisonous plants, make sure the fence is intact etc.
Many pets haven’t spent much time in crates or cars. In the weeks or months leading up to the big move you can get them familiar with being in a crate by gradually introducing them. The first step is to set the crate out to allow them to investigate it. Then take the next step of placing their food inside and eventually the goal is to be able to close the door while they are eating. You can take it step further and go for a drive with them while they are in the crate and also give your pets treats and playtime as a way to reward them for crate time. This will help your pet be less stressed on moving day.
For aquatic animals it is advised to use some of their existing tank water when transporting them to smaller tanks for the move. Lizards, guinea pigs and other animals that need to be kept warm also need to maintain temperature during the move to avoid stress. Be sure to make proper arrangements as advised by your vet.
Reduce the stress of moving day for both yourself and your pet by having all your pet’s necessities packed and on hand. Don’t forget a roll of paper towels and disposable plastic bags to help with unexpected accidents.
Prioritize getting a space ready for your pet before you bring them into your new home. For pets that are normally in cages or tanks be sure their habitat is ready for them when they arrive. For dogs and cats, place their blanket, food dishes, litter pans, toys etc. in a comfortable room that’s away from the chaos of movers, but not so far that they feel they have been left alone in a scary new place. Having familiar items there for them when they arrive (especially with their scent and yours) will help ease their anxiety. Be sure the room has a door so you can keep it closed after you have taken them out of their create. This will allow the pet to get used to that room and protect them from escaping while the movers come in and out of your home.
When the moving is done you can start to gradually introduce your pet to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut so not to overwhelm them. If you have cats be patient. Moving their litter box from the original room may take some. Move it gradually and set up a secondary litter box in the permanent location if needed.
Moving to a new town may also mean getting familiarized with new pet laws, such as leash laws, fenced areas, vaccinations etc. so check with your Town Hall to make sure you are prepared.
Don't forget to get your pet tags updated prior to your move so your animals have them when they arrive at your new home. If your pet is microchipped or seeing a specific vet don’t forget to update their information.
Just like all of our closings, our team of animal lovers at Willow Bend Title want to see you, your family and your pets have a smooth transition into your new home. If you are looking for more home buying and real estate tips, check out our past blogs, resource guides and be sure to connect with us on social media.