Spring is the time of year when many families across Ontario sell their homes, pack up their lives and move to a new house. It’s a stressful process that affects animals as much as it does people.
To make the move easier on our four-legged friends, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society shares these tips:
- Introduce the idea of moving
Bring packing materials like boxes, newspaper and bubble wrap out well before you start to pack and introduce them to your animal friends. For cats, bring the carrier out early, and leave it in your cat’s favourite room. This will allow them to get used to it slowly.
Like cats, dogs will be watching what you do with their favourite toys and bed, so make sure to pack these items last, so they have a safe place to go if they do start to feel anxious.
- Keep things familiar on moving day
On the day of the move, if you have a trusted friend that your dog likes, have them keep your dog at their home until the move is over. If that’s not possible, ask a family member to take on the important job of “dog sitter” during the moving process to ensure your dog is comfortable, calm and doesn’t dart out the door while you’re bringing in boxes and furniture.
For cats, put them in their favourite room on moving day with things that smell like them, like couch cushions, a scratching post or a favourite blanket. Move these items last to help surround your cat with familiar items for as long as possible.
- Help furry friends settle into their new home
Take your dog for a nice long walk before you bring them into their new home. While you’re doing that, have someone else set up their bed and favourite toys in a special, out-of-the-way area of the home where your dog can relax while you unpack.
For cats, set up their “landing room” at the new house with the same items from the old house and bring their crates, food/water and litter box in before you start moving the rest of your items inside. Open their door and let them come out on their own when they are ready. Have their favourite person sit with them so that they feel safe.
- Let them explore at their own pace
Let your pup explore your new home at their own pace with lots of positive reinforcement through treats and affection. With cats, set up the rest of the home before letting your cat explore more. They can stay in their landing room until they feel safe enough to explore. Do not rush this process, even if it takes a few days.
- Routines keep things relaxed
Keep to your regular schedule as much as you can and, if possible, take a few days off after the move. This will help your furry friend feels safe in the new space while you both adjust to your new surroundings together.
“Moving to a new home is a big step for everyone, and we can’t forget about the toll it takes on our furry friends,” says Dave Wilson, Senior Director, Shelter Health & Wellness, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. “By investing the time to prepare your animal for moving day, you’ll keep them happy and healthy and set them up for success in their new house, which is good for them, and it’s good for you.”
For more tips, visit ontariospca.ca