Planning a move with pets

March 18, 2024
By: Adriana Valle

Springtime is a very popular time to put homes on the market and plan moves. Because we’re big on planning and prevention, we want to take this opportunity to share our tips for planning a move with pets from the start of the conversation to the official moving day and beyond. We hope these tips help you and your pets prepare for and navigate one of the most stressful life experiences.

Planning a move with pets: Mind your emotions

We believe that our pets sense our energy about things even when they are simply ideas and not yet reality. Unfortunately, however, our pets don’t always know the difference between a hypothetical, a plan, or a reality. For this reason, we encourage you to discuss plans to sell your home, buy a home, and move calmly and with a positive outlook. While we recognize that these events can be very stressful, often cause conflict amongst the humans in the home, can be financially trying, etc., your cat or dog doesn’t understand why tensions are high around the dinner table. They also don’t realize that these are common discussions that happen in these cases and that ample solutions are available to you and your family. What they hear is fear, trepidation, and concern, only to take on these feelings, especially if they are naturally anxious or sensitive to change.

For this reason, we encourage you to discuss matters surrounding your upcoming move calmly and with ease. If you think that your emotions may get the better of you, schedule a dog walk or hike for your dog(s) and a play session with your cat sitter. When waiting to hear if your offer was accepted, for example, go for a walk, stroll at the park, or go for a drive to distract and defuse. That way, your pet has sights to see when they feel your emotions rising, if any.

Planning a move with pets: Pack strategically

We don’t envy anyone who has to pack an entire home in a few weeks but packing strategically will help.

dog walker old saybrook

Because our pets notice changes in our home very quickly, consider starting pets on CBD or other calming supplements like WinPro Pet’s Calm Blood Plasma chews for dogs so that you can take the edge off. Waiting too long to support their psyche can result in them getting into stuff, misbehaving, and experiencing high levels of stress. Instead, by giving them some supplements that address stress and anxiety, you can set them up for success throughout the process, from packing to unpacking and everything in between. We recommend CBD and calming supplements as long as three months after you’ve unpacked in the new home, and sometimes longer.

pet sitter old saybrook

In addition to supplements to help ease your pets, consider signing your dog up for a daily dog walk or hike while you’re packing. Exercise reduces anxiety symptoms in both pets and humans so, if you can, take your pets out before or after a turbo packing session. If time is just not available to you, count on us to exercise your dogs and entertain your cats so that you can get to work on the packing up all the toiletries and cleaning products you’ve amassed over the years.

Finally, if you hire a mover to pack your things, consider having your dog and cat secured in a bedroom that the movers don’t need to access. And, schedule your dogs for a walk or hike to break up the day stuck in a room listening to the sound of packing tape tearing through your household.

Planning a move with pets: Visit the new digs

cat sitter old saybrook

While you’re still in the packing phase, plan a visit to your new home, neighborhood, etc. Let your pet sniff their new space and around the block in advance of the move to can get acquainted. If if’s possible to do so, visit the new digs multiple times leading up to the move. Remember to bring high level treats with you so that you can reward your pet when they sniff, sit, and settle down in their new home. Rewarding desired behavior is the best way to encourage it!

Similarly, enjoy a cuddle or play session with your pet in your new home to help them associate the place with a positive experience.

And, if you can, leave a couple of your pet’s favorite toys or a bed in the new home so that it makes the new place smell familiar. They will be excited to walk in to their new space and find a beloved personal item there. For cats, bring a litter box and place it where you plan to set it up permanently. Having a clean litter box for them to use will make them feel at home.

Planning a move with pets: Get ahead of Moving day

On moving day, stress is high and things move fast, so plan accordingly.

dog walker old saybrook

That morning, or prior, if possible, work with your moving company to strategize moving day. Discuss which rooms will be emptied first and where to keep your pets during that time. If possible, have a dog walker or pet sitter come over for a bit to sit with your pet in the designated area, walk your dog, and provide some enriching play and stress-relief.

Check in on your pets often to ensure they are safe and at ease. Avoid leaving pets in the yard, tied out, or roaming the home to prevent pet loss. Even the best behaved pets can get flustered and wander off when tensions are high and things get chaotic.

Always ensure your pets have access to regularly scheduled meals and fresh water on moving day. It’s easy to forget such a basic care requirement when things get hectic but hunger and thirst will only add to your best friend’s stress levels.

Planning a move with pets: Unpack their favorite items quickly

As with every member of your family, there are pet-related items that you will want to unpack as soon as you get settled into your new space. Your pets favorite items include their food and water bowls, food and treats (obviously!), toys, blankets, beds, and leashes. For cats, don’t delay the litter box set up unless you want to commemorate the move with a pee accident, do you? And, watch any open boxes and suitcases until you’ve set up the litter box. It’s amazing how much suitcases look and feel like litter boxes when bladders are full.

Of course, continue the CBD and supplements we recommended above and speak to your veterinarian if you see your pet struggling to settle in to their new home. It takes time, at least three months for a pet to settle into a new environment, but if your pet seems unwell, severely stressed, etc. it’s smart to consult with a veterinarian to discuss additional support.

dog walking dog walker ct shoreline

Speaking of support, we at Shoreline Happy Paws, love to support our clients during stressful times in their lives. Whether bringing home a new baby, retiring, or moving, our services can be a huge help when life gets tough. We’re always happy to help!

New Shoreline Happy Paws clients can create an account. We will be in touch to further discuss your needs and set you, your family, and your pet(s) up for success. Existing clients may book dog walking, dog hiking, or pet sitting services by logging in to your client profile.

Shoreline Happy Paws serves the following areas of the Connecticut Shoreline:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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