We’ve all done it…..that is, we’ve all had to pack up and move to a new location….maybe a new apartment or house or city or state. It’s hard enough packing up all of our own belongings, how do we pack up our pets? And how do we make them understand that even though everything will be new, they’ll still have the same mama and/or daddy? How do we help them to believe that they will continue to be loved and cared for no matter where we live? It can be a challenge……but it also can be an opportunity to renew our commitment and love for our pets.
There’s nothing easy about relocating. While it can be a very exciting adventure and maybe even one we’ve looked forward to, moving can still can cause us a lot of stress and anxiety. Will we like our new home? Will the neighbors be friendly? Will the whole family adjust to the change in environment? While we’re dealing with all of the basic needs that a move conjures up in us, we need to pay attention to what is going on with our pets. After all, it’s a brand new home for them as well.
I have been asked on occasion to communicate with pets in order to let them know that a move to a new home is imminent……and to help them to understand why their worlds are going to be tipped upside down. Of course, telling a dog that he will be moving with mama to a new house is not quite as difficult as telling a cat that she will be changing environments. Even birds are more adaptable than cats are when it comes to having to readjust their daily lives. And horses usually have to be asked what they think about moving to a new barn……then you somehow make them believe it was their idea in the first place. As you can see, packing up and moving with pets is not an easy undertaking…….but it can be done successfully if we follow a few simple rules.
First and foremost, we need to keep ourselves as even tempered as we can about packing up our households. Our animals pick up on all of our moods….if we become stressed and anxious about all of the work we have to do, all of the people we have to contact and all of the stuff we’ve accumulated, our pets will absorb this energy and will reflect it back to us. We may start seeing new behaviors like accidents on the floor, chewing on paws, nervous pacing or even a loss of appetite to name a few.. if we find ourselves unable to deal with the stress of relocating without becoming anxious, the best thing we can do for our pets is to talk to them about it, tell them what’s happening and how we’re feeling about it. There’s nothing silly about telling a 6 pound Yorkie or a 150 pound Great Dane that we’re all going someplace new to live and we’re feeling a little nervous about it. Telling our pets what’s happening might just help us to have more well-adjusted animals in our new home. It certainly can’t hurt.
We also must reassure our pets that they are coming with us. There’s nothing more frightening to a loving pet than to think their people are leaving them and they’re not coming back. So, we need to make sure that our pets understand that their home is with us no matter where our home is located. There’s nothing wrong with a simple conversation along with some reassuring affection. Our move will be all that much better if we expend a little more effort in the beginning than wait until we have full-blown panic on our hands.
Regardless of our best efforts, moving day can be chaotic and stressful….that’s the nature of the beast. How we deal with it will have a direct influence on how our pets react to their new home. So, the kindest thing we can do for our furry friends is to have them completely out of the picture on moving day. If possible, we can have a friend or family member watch them. Having our pets see and be involved in a chaotic situation is never a good idea…..especially when we want them to like and adjust quickly to the move. It’s best to introduce them to their new home when the moving men have left, when the food and water bowls have been set out, when the litter boxes have been filled and put in place and when potty areas outside have been identified. No one expects us to have all of the boxes unpacked or all of our belongings put away….that will come in time. But if we want our pets to adjust quickly to their new home, we need to make sure they know where to eat, drink, pee and poop. The rest will come with investigation and curiosity.
Moving to a new home with pets can be difficult….but there are things we can do to make the process a little easier for them. We have to be open to how much our pets need us to let them in on what’s going on, what our plans are and how the changes we’re making in our lives will affect them. That’s all they ask of us…….a simple conversation.
Blessings to you and your furry friends,