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10 Tips To Help Your Pet Adjust To Their New Home

Published on: September 13, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

cat sleeping in bedMoving is a big deal, even more so if your family includes pets. You can’t just pack up your belongings, head off to your new home, and expect your cat or dog to take things in stride. What is this new place, anyway? Why are we here?

The answers to these simple questions are obvious to you, but everything is new and strange to your beloved furry companions. They love that you’re still by their side, but they need attentive guidance and reassurance that the new place is now their place.

You have a lot on your mind, and the process of moving is exhausting. But you’re the pet parent here, so it’s up to you to help your pets see moving in as a great thing. If they have moved with you before, they might not have a care in the world. Nonetheless, your goal is to make their new life as much like their old one as possible, so they can pick up where they left off once their physical moving journey is over.

We’ve put together these 10 tips to help your pet adjust to their new home.

  1. Before you leave, make sure your pets are microchipped, completely up-to-date on vaccinations, and get copies of all their health records from your vet.
  2. Get new ID tags made up ahead of time or make that a priority after you arrive at your new home, so your pets are outfitted with up-to-date contact information.
  3. Get your pets off to a comfortable start by putting all their belongings in place first. That includes their bedding (or at least the crate they traveled in), their food and water dishes, favorite toys, your cat’s litter box, and scratching posts, etc. Try to put these items in the same locations as before, if possible, so at least some aspects of their new home are recognizable to them.
  4. Repeat their former routine when it comes to feeding times and walk time. Feed them the food they are used to, and stock up on treats so you can reward them for being good about their move. Busy as you are with unpacking and your new job, try to carve out extra time to spend with your pet by playing or simply sitting together for some snuggles.
  5. Consider how your pet will react to the mess and chaos of unpacking. Would they be less stressed in their crate in a quiet room, or will they be happier following you around so they don’t miss a thing?
  6. Cats often hide when faced with something new. So if your cat decides their new favorite spot is the laundry hamper, the top of the refrigerator, or the closet, just let them be. Once they wind down a bit their famous feline curiosity will take over and they will want to explore their new digs. It may also help to assign them a single room at first, putting all their essentials in one area you can close off from the rest of the house. Gradually you can introduce them to other rooms.
  7. It’s a good idea to give your dog a formal room-by-room tour, too, once everything has been unpacked, especially if they haven’t been “helping” you unpack.
  8. For the first several days, do not allow your pet outside without a leash. Many dogs and cats instinctively try to run off to find their old home, or they can simply get lost in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s important to help your pet adjust to their new outdoor environment slowly so they aren’t overwhelmed. If you’re exploring together, they’ll feel more secure and confident.
  9. Look around the yard and indoors to see if there are any potential hazards or escape holes. Check to be sure fencing and gates are secure. The biggest potential escape holes, of course, are doors and unscreened windows – be extra careful to keep them closed.
  10. Some pet experts suggest you welcome your cat or dog to their new home with brand new toys, so they associate the new space with a positive reward. Other experts say it’s best to stick with what they know at first, to emphasize familiarity. You’ll know best what makes the most sense for your own furry family.

While this can still apply if you are moving your pet into an apartment, we have another blog post to help you navigate that as well.

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.