How to Transition a Dog to a New House (Cats, Too!)

My Pet Cab | Oct 15, 2020 10:00:00 AM | Pet Care

While the physical move is typically the hardest part for people when relocating, the new home itself can also have a mental effect on dogs and cats. Animals are creatures of habit, and get very comfortable in their home; when you move to a new place, it can understandably cause them anxiety, and some may wind up acting up or acting out for a period of time.

A popular search term in Google is “dog freaking out in new home,” so clearly, this can be an issue! 

8 Ways to Transition Your Pet to a New Home

So, how do dogs cope during a move? What about cats? Well, some pets take the adjustment better than others, but there are a number of things you can plan for in advance that will help get a dog used to a new home (that also work with cats). Other things you can do will need to wait until after the actual move.

Here are eight things you can do to help make the adjustment easier for your pet.

1. Pack Pet Items Last & Unpack Them First

When moving, you should wait until the very end to pack your pet’s belongings, such as their bed, blanket, and toys. This will ease their anxiety during the move. These items should also be one of the first things you unpack upon arriving at your new home.

The presence of familiar blankets and toys can help put your pets at ease and help them to understand this is where they will now be calling home.

2. Set Up Your Pet's Space

Does your dog or cat have their own “space”? For dogs, this could be where their crate and bed sits. For cats, it may be where you keep their litter box, scratching posts, or playscape. It could also simply be where you place their water and food bowl.

Either way, set this space up right away to help situate your pet and ease their anxiety.

3. Perform a Perimeter Check

This is also something you can do prior to the move; check the entire perimeter of your backyard (if you have one) to be sure the fencing is secure and that there are no gaps your dog or cat could slip through. After the move, be sure to go outside with them the first couple of days to make them comfortable and to ensure that they don’t discover an escape route that you may have missed.

If you haven’t had your pet microchipped yet, getting it done prior to your move is extremely important.

4. Maintain Routines

Your move has turned your pet’s whole world upside down, so try to maintain other routines as much as possible; feeding times, play times, walks, potty breaks, etc. These events are how your pet navigates and makes sense of their day, so do you best to do them as you normally would.

And, while it may not be normal for you to stay home with your pet, you might consider taking a few days off from work so that you can be there with them while they adjust to their new environment.

5. Keep Them Busy

A move is bound to increase a pet’s anxiety level, which can increase their energy level. To try to keep their stress levels at a minimum, help them release energy by keeping them busy. This could mean extra-long walks (there will be new streets to explore, after all!) or more aggressive play time.

6. Dole out the Attention

Your pet needs to be reassured during a move that everything is okay. Obviously, it’d be easier if we could tell them this! But since we can’t, we can show them this by being generous with our affection.

This means taking time to sit with them, hold them, and play with them, perhaps even more than you normally would! It shows them that despite the upheaval, they are still a priority in your life.

7. Consider Anti-Anxiety Aids

If you know from past experiences that your pet is prone to anxiety, moving could be very difficult for them. So, you may want to consider prescription anti-anxiety medication.

Speak with your veterinarian prior to the move to determine if this is right for your pet. There are other options, too, if you’re not keen on prescription drugs, such as calming collars, CBD treats, and even relaxing music

8. Be Patient

Last but not least, be patient with your pet! They don’t know what’s going on, they just know everything has changed and they’re very confused. So, take bad behavior or “accidents” with a grain of salt and avoid scolding them if they misbehave at first.

Moving Homes with a Dog or Cat

Another popular search term on Google? “My dog is afraid of our new house.” Don’t worry, it probably doesn’t mean it’s haunted; it just means he or she is nervous because of the change in environment. Moving with your dog or cat can be difficult, as they crave stability and may experience anxiety. By following the eight tips above, you can help make the experience a good one for both you and your pet.

If you have more questions about how to introduce a dog to a new house or if you’re wondering how long does it take for a cat to get used to a new home, you should speak with your veterinarian. And, if you need a safe and reliable pet transportation service, contact My Pet Cab today!


About the Author

My Pet Cab

The MyPetCab team consists of animal lovers who are dedicated to helping your pet travel safely. That’s why we work hard to create useful and informative content for our blog!

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