Tips For Making a Move With Your Pets

Hounds Town USA on how to make the moving process as stress-free as possible for your furry friends.

Let’s face it, the act of moving is a very stressful process in and of itself. You have to juggle packing all of your belongings, deciding what items to part ways with, organizing movers, canceling and contacting electric and cable companies and so on.

For pet owners, this just adds yet another level of stress in determining how to make the transition as easy as possible for your furry friends. If you have pets and are considering a move (or are currently getting ready for one), there are some easy steps you can take to ease the burden.

Finding The Right Home

If you haven’t chosen a new home already, make sure your pet will enjoy the space as much as you when shopping around. You can do this by checking out the neighborhood to see if there are other pet families nearby, and for dog owners, whether there is a safe and enjoyable space to walk your four-legged friend. For dogs who are older, or are still being trained, this will mean the potential for more walks to avoid accidents in the home. Apartment buildings with many floors may not be the best decision in this case.

The size of the home is also important, as cats, dogs and various other animals each have different needs.If you have a younger dog with lots of energy, or a larger dog such as a Great Dane, you might want to avoid a small studio apartment. Cats love the ability to climb on shelves, blocks and boxes. If your new destination offers the ability to create this type of vertical space, then your feline friend should feel right at home.

Tackling The Packing And Move-Out Process

Pets can be a bit skittish when it comes to a big change, especially if they have lived in your current home for a good amount of time already. Start introducing moving materials early on in the process so they start to become familiar with them. You can also designate one room in which to keep your pet(s) throughout the packing process so that you can tackle other areas of the home before the big day arrives. This allows them to feel like nothing is changing and can assist in keeping them a bit more calm.

Mike Gould, Founder and CEO of Hounds Town USA, told ESTATENVY to keep it simple and don’t overthink it. “You won’t be able to explain to your pet what is happening, and they aren’t thinking about all of the other aspects of the move including bills and dealing with movers,” he said. “Be confident in the move, as this helps showcase to your dog that nothing out of the ordinary is taking place.”

Getting Your Pets Ready For a Long-Distance Move

If you are making a move out of state, or even to an area several hours from your current location, this will require your pets to be in the car with you. If they are not used to frequent trips in the car or spending time in their crate, it’s important to get them acclimated before the trip takes place.

“You can take small steps to get them ready for a bigger move,” said Gould. “Place meals in their crate so they eat in there instead of their regular location, as this also gives a positive association to being in the crate. The same can be said about the car, as this should ultimately become a mobile dog house. In the week leading up to the move, you can have your pet eat their meals in the car so they become more acquainted with it. You can even drive up and down the driveway or just down the street so they get used to the movement.”

One Hounds Town USA client, Juan Pablo Mishaan, recently had to move from New York to New Jersey with his pitbull, Bruno. “It was difficult at first, finding an apartment complex that would allow a dog of Bruno’s size,” said Mishaan. “Luckily, I found a great place and was able to start focusing on the move. However, I also wanted to make sure Bruno felt safe, so I had him stay at Hounds Town USA while I took care of packing. He had never stayed anywhere overnight by himself, but ended up being there for about eight days and had a great time with the other dogs and the team.”

Setting Up Your New Home For You And Your Pet

While a move can seem daunting, it can actually serve as an opportunity for some positive reinforcement for pets. “Animals, especially dogs, develop habits when living in one place,” said Gould. “A new home is a chance to hit the reset button and work towards getting them to eliminate negative habits. If you don’t want them to be in the kitchen, they don’t know where that is in the new home, so you can set up boundaries early on.”

Gould also recommends making sure that the floor in your new home is clear of any hazardous items like electrical wires and garbage your pets could accidentally gain access to. “Dogs owners can also look at crate training,” said Gould. “The crate should not be in a place that dogs only associate with being in trouble or time-out. Dogs, like humans, are denning mammals. They like a sense of security. If you start giving them their food in the crate, they will begin to feel comfortable in that environment when they aren’t being supervised in a new place.”

Adjusting To The New Home

At the end of the day, you have to remember this is still a brand new space for you and your pet. “Let them explore with you,” said Gould. “Monitor them as they go through the house. The first thing a dog will do is use their nose to sniff everything out. They’ll pick up on spots where other animals might have been and will often mark their territory. This is their chance to get an initial blueprint of the overall space.”

Mishaan went through a very similar routine with Bruno once they arrived at their new home in New Jersey. “Bruno slept almost the whole way there,” said Mishaan. “When we arrived, I got Bruno out of the car and let him walk around the parking lot and lawn area at first. After about 30 to 45 minutes, I brought him inside. I let him roam around the home with his leash still on for a sense of security and just let him sniff around. I also gave him treats along the way to help keep him calm and make the experience positive. He was a little restless at first, but I had my mom and friend over to help keep him calm while I took care of getting things unpacked.”

Spending some extra time with your pet right after a move can be a big help for them during the transition phase. “It took Bruno about a week to get fully acclimated to the new apartment and neighborhood,” said Mishaan. “I also kept in contact with the folks at Hounds Town USA at the New York location and they got Bruno registered and set up here in New Jersey for me. Being able to play and socialize with other dogs has been great for Bruno and I definitely recommend pet owners look to utilize a similar service if moving to a new place, as it helps your pet feel much more at home.”

No matter how big or small your move might be, it’s crucial to keep your pet’s (and your own) stress level at a minimum. Remember not to overthink it and to keep things as normal as possible leading up to,and after, the transition. Happy moving!