Whether you have a cat, dog or a smaller animal, such as a rabbit or guinea pig, they’ll have a whole new place to learn about. New smells, a new place to sleep, a new place to play outside. All these new experiences can cause a bit of uncertainty for your animals, even more so for older pets who have already been socialized to their home.
We’re going to have a look through some top tips for helping you move with your elderly pets, making the move as easy as possible for both you and your fur babies.
Tip 1: Prepare for the move
Animals tend to have a sixth sense when it comes to a change is about to happen. During the few weeks before you move, they’ll see boxes piling up and belongings disappearing.
To prepare your cat or dog, leave the packing boxes out for a couple of weeks before you start to do anything with them. This will help them get used to seeing them without all the business that usually accompanies packing boxes.
Tip 2: Pack them last
Pack all of your dog’s things last so they can keep their comforts for as long as possible. On the morning of your move, pack them into a separate box, or even inside their crate, so that you can open them up as soon as you arrive and get them settled in first.
Tip 3: Avoid the movers
Having lots of new people around, and seeing all the things they’re familiar with disappearing, will be quite stressful for your old cat or dog.
You might want to think about taking them out for a long walk, or just somewhere familiar for the day of the move, while the movers do their work and pack up your home.
Tip 4: Set your dog up out of the way while moving in
It can be quite daunting getting to your new home and realizing just how much there is to do, but take some time to sit down with your pet and re-socialize them into your new home – just as you would a new dog into your home.
Open and unpack his crate and set him up safely in a corner, ideally away from the main passage through the house.
If you know the front door will be opened and closed throughout the day, it might be worth keeping him on a leash, or in his crate, until things quiet down later in the day.
And remember, once you’ve moved, update your dog’s microchip details.
Tip 5: Stick to a routine
Stick to your feeding, walking and play times as much as possible for your elderly pets. If they’re used to being fed once in the morning and once in the evenings, try to feed them at the times they’re used to.
The same goes for walking and exercise. If they know that they always go for a short walk around lunch time, stick to that.
Tip 6: Re-socialize your dog
If you follow all these tips, and your elderly pet is still having a hard time and becoming very stressed, you might want to consider properly re-socializing your dog to a new home.
You should start by using positive reinforcement to encourage them to explore their new home. Perhaps if they know hide-and-seek or fetch, you can play these games to help them explore the new home. As they do, make sure to praise them with food or toys.
If they aren’t interested, don’t force them to explore the apartment. They’ll soon follow you around out of curiosity.
John lives on a six-acre farm and has moved twice with his two dogs, Jamie and Jeff. A professional dog trainer, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and editor at All Things Dogs, John is a dog-parent and lover.