Moving can be very stressful. The disruption of routine, boxes packed and stacked, and the presence of new and unfamiliar people moving in and out of your house can be real sources of anxiety for everyone, including your pets. Just like us, they can be affected by stress and too much of it can have long-lasting effects on your beloved four-legged family members. If you’re planning a move in the near future and you don’t have the option of boarding your pets, consider these tips for making the experience as stress-free as possible for your pets.

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Getting ready for moving day.

While it may seem like a good idea to put your pets “out of the way” in a basement or back room while you’re getting organized and packing, it’s a better idea to leave them be. Allow them their normal range of the house so they can get used to the activity, noises and smells associated with packing everything up. Be sure to keep up with your pet’s regular feeding schedule. Dog owners, keep to your regular walking schedule. Cat owners, if you plan to transport your pet in a carrier, leave it out in the open for a few days prior to the move so your cat can get used to it. Try putting a few treats inside for kitty to enjoy.

Making the move.

On move day put your pet in a closed room with food, water, toys and a bed — cat owners don’t forget to include a litter box. If possible, clear this room ahead of time or make it the last room you empty during your move. This will give your pet a safe place to relax and will keep them from getting underfoot, potentially being injured or even escaping during the move.

Settling in to your new home.

Now that the actual move is over, it’s time to get settled. Pick a room you can close off and make sure it’s safe for your pet. As you did before the move, set this room up as a haven for your pet with food, water, toys, a bed and a litter box (if needed). Use familiar items from your old home and this time include something that smells like you or another family member, such as an old towel or piece of clothing. Give your pet time to get acclimated and spend time with them in the room before slowly introducing them to other parts of the house. Let your pet explore their new surroundings at their own pace and be sure to show them the new locations for their food and water. Before you know it, they’ll be happy and feeling right at home.

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