Moving to a New Home? Follow These Pet Safety Tips
By John James
It can be stressful to successfully orchestrate a move and pets can pick up on owner’s anxiety, as well as potentially get into packing tape and other packing materials. Whether the pets are dogs, cats or guinea pigs, moving can make animals as anxious as their owners. There are easy ways to help pets in this situation. What should pet owners plan to do to help active pets, such as dogs and cats, before, during and after a move to a new home?
Pet owners can make pets feel more comfortable by sticking with routines as much as possible and limiting a pet’s access to new materials, people and environments when moving. Understand how to keep pets safe while moving today.
Keep Pets Safe When Packing
Changes can make pets feel more anxious. Ways to reduce stress for dogs and cats include keeping pets in a room that will be packed last when starting to pack, bringing moving boxes into a home early, and trying to make as few changes as possible to an animal’s normal routine. This will help dogs and cats remain relatively comfortable and prevent them from getting in the way of homeowners packing up a home.
Pet Safety During a Move
Homeowners can take steps to keep pets safe when moving. Homeowners may choose to keep pets at a friend’s house or board them for the day. If this is not possible, it may reduce stress on a pet to shut him or her in a quiet room on moving day. Another option may be to crate a dog or cat to keep them from getting underfoot of movers. These suggestions can help prevent cats or dogs from getting out of a home when a truck is being loaded.
Those who choose to keep a pet on the property while items are being moved should check on pets regularly and walk a pet as usual. Continuing with established routines, such as maintaining the same feeding times with the right type of food, help calm pets during periods of change. Upon arrival to a new home, wait until the pet is inside the home to open the kennel. Even pets that are generally well-behaved may be difficult to predict or control in a new environment. Cat owners may want to use the move to their advantage and get their cat used to staying indoors.
Pet-Proofing a New Home
Pets will want to investigate any new space, making it necessary for homeowners to minimize their risk of injury or harm. Pet owners can:
- Tuck exposed electrical cords away;
- Identify and plug undesirable nooks in a home which a pet may not easily get out of;
- Ensure secure screens are on all windows;
- Remove poisonous houseplants; and
- Throw out any pest-control traps left on the property.
It may be useful to move around at eye level of a dog or cat to find areas that might need to be addressed in a new home. Some baby-proofing products may be useful to eliminate potential hazards for pets, including:
- Safety locks for cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom;
- Containment systems designed for electrical cords; and
- Power-strip covers.
Homeowners should be aware of the need to keep chemicals in secure areas, keep sharp objects or tools inaccessible to pets, and check garages and driveways for traces of antifreeze or chemicals that may prove deadly to a pet.
Get pets accustomed to a new home step-by-step. During the first few days of unpacking, an accessible overnight kit of pet essentials can help owners provide for the fundamental needs of a dog or cat without having to hunt through stacks of boxes for a chew toy or favorite food bowl. It is useful to create a home base in a new room which would include favorite treats, toys, water, food bowls and other necessary items. A pet may need to be gradually introduced to other rooms. Keep doors shut to other rooms where a pet may be unsupervised to avoid overwhelming a pet in a new home.
An Easy Transition to a New Home
No matter the precautions taken, pets will experience some level of stress when moving and adapting to a new home. However, homeowners can do much to make the process easier on a dog or cat, as well as themselves. Pet owners can use the measures mentioned above to keep pets comfortable and reduce potential harm to a pet before, during or after a move.