Our furry friends are creatures of habit, so it is not surprising that even minor changes in their day-to-day can throw them out of whack. Simply rearranging the living room furniture or feeding them later than usual can make them feel insecure and uneasy, which is why it’s not surprising that moving a pet to a new home can be a unique challenge that requires a lot of care and thoughtful planning.
The reality is that most of us encounter a time when we have to move to a new location, and so transitioning a pet to a new environment is unavoidable. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for you or your furry friend.
Why Pets Struggle with Changes in Their Environment
We tend to overlook the fact that our pets, unlike ourselves, generally dislike change. Animals prefer predictable environments and routines, in which they always know what’s coming next. So, bringing a pet to a new home can make them feel incredibly anxious as all that they’re familiar with is suddenly upended.
Cats and dogs alike typically struggle with relocating. Something as seemingly simple as encountering an environment with new smells can make a pet feel vulnerable, and further, a new home means that time is needed for a pet to be sure that their environment is safe and free of predators.
How long it takes for a pet to feel fully comfortable in their new location depends quite a bit, as each pet has their own level of adaptability to new situations. Some cats and dogs, to their owners’ amazement, seem to settle in with little to no trouble. Other pets can take up to a couple of weeks before they really feel at peace with their new environment.
Signs that your pet is anxious during a move, either before, during or after, include:
- Disinterest in food
- Disinterest in play
- Biting at the skin and excessive grooming
- Hypersensitivity to sounds and smells
- Excessive vocalization
How to Ease the Transition for a Calmer Companion
While most pets feel at least somewhat unsettled during the moving process, there are plenty of ways in which you can make the experience as easy as possible so that your pet is less likely to display signs of stress and anxiety.
#Tip 1: Set Up Your New Home Prior to the Move, as Much as Possible
One surprisingly helpful thing that you can do is set up the new home as much as possible before bringing your pet to their new environment. This means trying to get as “moved in” as you can while your pet remains at their old home. The reason why is because bringing a pet to a new environment can be scary enough. If the first few weeks of living in your new home involve constantly moving of furniture in and out, doing noisy projects and having strangers come in to bring moving boxes and make repairs, your pet will feel that their new home is an unsafe place.
Tip #2: Keep Your Pet’s Favorite Items Around Them
Our pets get a lot of comfort out of their familiar items, largely due to the fact that they have familiar smells. This includes toys, beds and blankets. Therefore, before, during and after moving, make sure that your pet has access to these items. Once they’re in their new house, you’ll want to make sure that their favorite beds and toys are ready for them so that they get a sense of familiarity in a strange place.
Tip #3: Consider a Hormone Spray
If you anticipate that your pet will be particularly anxious, you can invest in a hormone spray, which is a spray that contains hormones secreted by their species that are known to be comforting to their nervous system. You can spray your pet as well as items around the house.
Tip #4: Spend Lots of Time with Them During the Transition
Moving is a busy time, and while we’re running around getting things in order, it’s easy to neglect our pets’ needs. We may spend less time playing with them or be less affectionate with them as we’re under more stress than usual. But, pets are very sensitive to changes in their owners’ behavior and can become quite nervous if their owner isn’t spending as much time with them as usual. So, try to make a point to bond with them as you normally do throughout the process.
Tip #5: Keep Guests to a Minimum
When we first move into a new home, our loved ones can’t wait to come over and see our place. But, a pet who is already uneasy in a new environment may feel very unsettled if there are people coming in and out on a regular basis. So, if you can, try to wait until your pet is comfortable in their surroundings before having friends and family over.
#Tip 6: Keep Them on Their Regular Schedule
Make sure that during the entire moving process, your pet’s schedule is largely unchanged. This means feeding them at the same times as usual and engaging in regular play like you always have. This will make them feel less uneasy as they know that their needs will still be met no matter what.
Tip #7: Try CBD
One product that keeps getting recommended to uneasy pets is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a derivative of the hemp plant that is nontoxic to pets. As a cannabinoid, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in your pet’s nervous system to regulate responses such as stress and anxiety.
Chill Paws offers a wide array of pet-friendly, lab-tested CBD products for furry friends, all made with clean, natural ingredients. From tasty pet treats to flavored tinctures, we have something for every canine and feline. These products are perfect for a pet who is moving to a new home, as they have the properties found in the hemp plant that are associated with putting your precious companion more at ease. If you’re planning a move in the near future, check out the CBD products at Chill Paws and find one that’s suitable for your beloved pet.
Advice: Before giving your pet cannabidiol during a move, talk with your veterinarian who can offer advice and guidance based on their knowledge of your pet’s unique needs. It’s equally important that you give your pet a CBD-based product made specifically for cats and dogs. These products are made with ingredients that are nontoxic to their species and have dosing guides that are safe and effective for their body weights.
Ideally, you should give your pet a dose of CBD daily during the process. Cannabinoids work in a cumulative manner, so consistency is key to ensure as much success as possible.