Their anxiety stems from fearing change, separation, and uncertainty, which can be heightened during a move. In addition to this, your usual schedule with them has likely been disrupted due to COVID-19 which could be causing them even more stress. However, moving doesn’t have to be all bad. Here are some tips to help make moving with pets as safe and easy as possible during COVID-19.
Keeping Pets Relaxed During The MoveDuring a big move, it’s important to spend time with your pet to keep them calm. Having a calm and comfortable pet can end up making moving day a lot less stressful for everyone involved, and give you peace of mind that your pet is not getting worried out during the process. Below are some tips to keep your pet relaxed on moving day.
- Get some exercise: Exercising with your pet the day of the move can help calm their nerves and reduce anxiety for the rest of the day—and help energize you for the day ahead.
- Let them travel with you: If possible, try to travel with your pet most of the day. Many animals experience separation anxiety and can be worried that you are leaving them behind. Keeping them with you can help comfort them during a confusing and potentially traumatizing time. If you have to travel with your pet and have to use a carrier or dog crate, make sure to fill it with their favorite toys or comforting items to make the journey a little less stressful.
- Make the first night fun: Your first night in your new home is your chance to make a significant impact on how comfortable your pet feels in their new surroundings moving forward. Spend time playing with them and familiarizing them with every room to soothe their nerves and make them connect each room with positive memories. If your pet is typically more anxious, playing with them in their new space can encourage exploration and tire them out so they are more likely to relax.
- Set up a place for them before they arrive: If possible, try to set up their bed and play area before bringing them to your new home. Knowing where their places to sleep and go to the bathroom are can help ease their anxiety and prevent any accidents. Bringing all their essential items in an overnight back can make it easy for you to get them set up without searching through all your boxes. Below are suggestions on what to pack in their overnight bag.
- Check for hazards: Your old place may have been pet-proofed to a T, but it’s important to take the time to thoroughly check each room of your new place to look for things that may be hazardous to them. This can include items like batteries, cigarettes, cleaning supplies, or even loose wiring that your pet could get into.
- Unpack carefully: It’s worth taking time when packing to do so methodically, especially when you are a pet owner. Put potentially hazardous materials that you are taking with you in a specified box, so you know to keep that box out of harm’s way when bringing into your new home.
- Safely explore your new neighborhood: With stay-at-home guidelines in place across a significant portion of the country, taking walks with your pet is a responsible and safe way to get to know the neighborhood while getting some much-needed time outside. Your pet will love the new surroundings and smells, and you will get a chance to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood while maintaining safe social distancing guidelines.
- Keep your schedule as similar as possible: During these times, many of our usual schedules have been upended from the norm. If you are working from home, set a scheduled time where you are away from your pet (for example, working in a room with the door closed) so your pet is able to adjust to your usual schedule in a new place.
- Give them attention: Many pets experience anxiety and stress during the moving process, so spending time playing and cuddling with them is a great way to soothe their nerves. With everything going on in the world right now, a cuddle from your pet might be just the thing you need to soothe any anxiety you are experiencing as well.
Easing Animal AnxietyMany animals prefer having a routine to follow, and a change in that routine can sometimes spike stress and anxiety levels. With many of our usual routines already altered due to COVID-19, adding the uncertainty of moving can cause feelings of anxiety in your pet. While some of this is out of your control, there are some telltale signs of anxiety that you can recognize and remedies you can use to help your pet feel as calm and comforted as possible.
To help ease your pet’s anxiety during a move, there are some simple steps you can take. Below are ideas to help your pet settle into a normal routine if they are acting anxious.
- Spend time with them: During a move, many pets will experience separation anxiety. Spend time playing with them to reassure them that you are still there and leave them feeling calm and comfortable.
- Playing with them: Try giving your pet new toys or treats to keep them busy and excited, so they are not bored and don’t become anxious when you are busy moving.
- Training practice: Training practice to help redirect anxious actions is important for pets if they are not responding well to a move.
- Practice leaving: While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to practice leaving so your pet becomes accustomed to you spending time away. While this can be difficult due to stay at home guidelines, try spending time in your room alone or on a walk at the same time every day so your pet gets used to it.
In our current climate, it is especially important to be smart and safe when moving. Take extra precautions by washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces that you are touching to do your part to prevent spread. Additionally, taking your pet for a solo walk is a great way for you to get physical exercise and calm your pet’s nerves while practicing social distancing.
Moving is tough, and moving with a pet is even tougher. By taking steps to help ease your pet’s anxiety, you can make the move as easy as possible for yourself and for them.