Helping Your Pets Get Used to Their New Home

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Helping Pets Adjust to Their New Environment

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While moving is certainly a stressful time for humans, it can be just as bad for pets. They watch as their familiar surroundings get boxed up and taken out of the house. They then have to sit in a plane or car for a long trip. Finally, they are placed in a new house in an unfamiliar neighborhood. What makes things even worse is that there is no way to explain to your dog or cat what's going on. For these reasons, it is so important that you do everything you can to help your pet adjust to its new home.

Whether you have a dog or a cat, make sure the animal has a collar with an ID tag. If it happens to escape, it could very well wander around looking for your old home. By having your name, phone number, and new address, you will likely have an easier time getting it back.

While you should always be careful not to let pets run out the door, this is even more crucial in your first days and weeks after moving into your new home. Since the pet won't be familiar with the neighborhood, it might not be able to find its way back.

TIP: To help locate your pet if it runs away, you might want to have your dog or cat implanted with a microchip. After this simple procedure, you will have an easier time finding your pet if it runs away.


When moving into your new home with a dog, walk it throughout the entire house to get it acquainted with its new surroundings. You should put a leash on the dog as you do this, being especially careful around staircases or any recessed areas.

It is also a good idea to put your dog's bed, food and water bowl in a spot similar to where they were in your old home. Of course, you'll want to provide your pet with its usual blankets, toys, and treats. These familiar things will help the dog deal with the extreme change.

Another important part of helping your dog adjust is to take it for walks around the new neighborhood. This will allow the dog (and yourself) to become more familiar with your new area. You can also walk to local parks, where your dog can have more room to run around and have fun.

Most importantly, you'll want to spend quality time with your dog. Dogs have strong ties to their owners, so, as long as you give your pet attention, it will have an easier time adjusting.


While dogs have a stronger connection to people than their home, cats can become pretty attached to their surroundings. Thus, it may be more difficult to get a cat to adjust to life in your new home. By being patient and attuned to your pet's needs, you can help it accept your new home as its own.

On your moving day, it is advised that you keep your cat in a room with the door closed. If possible, put it in a room with a window, so the cat can keep itself entertained.

You might want to keep the cat in this room for a few days after the move as well, until the craziness of the move dies down and things get put away. Here are some things to keep in the room with the cat:
  • Litter box
  • Bedding
  • Food and water (preferably in the same bowls used in your old home)
  • Toys
  • Anything else you think will help keep the cat calm and occupied
You can then let the cat explore the house on its own. If you have an outdoor cat, allow it to go outside for a few minutes at a time to explore its new surroundings. Be sure to monitor the cat's outdoor exploration at first, to make sure it doesn't run away. Gradually let the cat out for longer periods of time, until it gets familiar with the area.

With these tips, you can help your dog or cat adjust to life in its new home. Though it won't be easy for your pets to make the transition, there are several ways to ease them into it.

TIP: If your dog or cat shows any signs that it is having a hard time adjusting (like not eating, losing fur, or being aggressive), seek help from a vet immediately.

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on August 27, 2009 - Moving Expert
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