10 Tips for Adjusting Your Pet to a New House

Make the transition as smooth as paw-sible.

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April 03, 2018
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Send Them to Grandma's on Moving Day

Trust us: There's no better day to send your furbaby to Grandma's than the day when all their treasured toys and blankets are being tucked away into big boxes, by big strangers, and packed into a big, strange moving van. Throw their go-to chew toy and some drool-worthy treats in an overnight bag and send them on their way to spend time with their second or third favorite human for the day.

Comfort Your Kitty

There are no two ways about it: Moving is stressful for everyone in the family. Yes, that includes your feline family member, too. According to the folks at ASPCA, your cat's first, basic reaction to a stressful situation is to flee the scene and hide. The organization says the best way to avoid an anxious escape is to provide your cat with a small, safe space in your new home. Their tip? "Keep the cat in a carrier while you're setting up the room, allowing him to adjust to the sounds and smells." Read more tips from ASPCA, here.

Give Them Space to Explore at Their Own Pace

It's important not to overwhelm your cat in an already overwhelming situation. ASPCA shares, "It's rare for a cat to explore a new territory without hesitation. If the cat is allowed to adapt to a new environment at his own speed, everything will work out in good time."

Set Boundaries

Your dogs may be accustomed to having full access to every room and nook and cranny of your old home. Eventually, you want your companion to feel equally as comfortable in your new home, but during the moving process, it's helpful to set healthy boundaries via pet gates and closed doors. In doing so, it will allow your cat or dog to ease into the new sights and smells, prevent them from unintentionally running away and allow you to unload bulky furniture and heavy boxes without worry about stepping on anyone's toes — or rather, paws.

Lead the Way

The American Kennel Club shares that owners should introduce their dogs to a new house, first, by walking them through the home on a lead. "Let him investigate, but also let him know what the house rules are. Keep him closely supervised and in the same room as you're in." Find more information from the AKC, here.

Take a Walk

Not only will this familiarize your dog with the new 'hood, but the exercise lets out pent-up energy and lessens your pup's anxiety. (And your anxiety, too, by the way!)

Make Them Comfortable

If your four-legged friend is slow to adjust or naturally anxious, search for something to comfort them while you unpack boxes. A go-to for our HGTV.com editors to provide comfort for both cats and dogs is this microwavable, buckwheat pillow. The soft design is prime for cuddling, and the warmth is sure to produce purrs of delight. Be sure to consult your trusted veterinarian for product recommendations personalized for your pet.

Do a Backyard Walkthrough

Before you let your happy hound off the leash in their big, brand-new yard, be sure to do a walkthrough. Check your fence for any damage or covert escape routes, and take stock of your yard for insects. Treat your grass for fleas and ticks, and do some research on how to treat/prevent pests local to your area.

Stick to Their Routine

You may forget to feed yourself lunch one or two days during moving week, but don't forget to feed your furbaby. Offer your pet stability in this confusing, chaotic time by sticking to their typical feeding and potty-break schedules. If possible, try to enforce a familiar bedtime while you're at it.

Patience is Key

It's easy to become frustrated with naughty pets during a move, and you may come across some unwarranted puddles and torn-to-shreds tissue paper. It's easy for pets to feel confused in new environments and unsure of where their new "bathroom" is located, or maybe they're letting you know they miss you. Whatever you do, try your best to be patient and keep things in perspective.