Settling Into a New Home With Your Pet
New situations can be stressful for your pet. While some pets adjust almost instantly, others may require a little more time. Be patient, encouraging, and positive about your new home to help your pet adjust more quickly. Here are some ways you can help your pet settle quickly and easily when moving to a new home with your pet.
Try To Keep A Familiar Routine
Use the same bowls, feed the same food at the same time, place litter boxes in similar locations, and so on. Make things seem as "normal" as possible.
Research Local Regulations
Where do you get a dog license, and how much are they? Are cats required to be licensed? Are dogs allowed to be off-leash in certain areas, and if so, where? Be aware that some cities or towns have bylaws stating how many pets a person is permitted to have in their home. If you have a lot of pets, make sure you find out before you move what these restrictions are.
Find Out Where the Local "Pet Hangouts" Are
This includes walking trails or parks, off-leash areas, boarding facilities, and so on.
Keep Cats Inside
Even if your cat is usually allowed outdoors, keep him inside for a few weeks. He won't immediately understand where his new home is. This may also be a good opportunity to teach your kitty to be an indoor cat! Cats generally lead longer, happy lives indoors where they don't have to worry about getting hit by cars, attacked by other animals or people, catching a disease, and many other threats. Give kitty lots of stimulation indoors with the use of toys, window perches, cat trees, etc.
One compromise is to build an outdoor cat enclosure. These enclosures are fenced in, including the "roof". They allow cats to experience the great outdoors in a safe environment. You can add places to climb, hammocks to lie in, toys, and whatever else your kitty may like.
Scout Out a Vet
Find a vet that both you and your pet are comfortable with, and make sure you know the way to the clinic. If your chosen clinic is not an emergency clinic, it's also a good idea to find a 24-hour clinic - just in case.
Assess Your New Home
Thoroughly check your new home for any safety concerns that may affect your pet. You may have set up your previous home in such a way that your pet couldn't get at stuff like cleaners or poisonous plants. Take a walk around your new home and watch where your pet investigates. Make sure you store dangerous items out of his reach.
Get Your Pet's Documentation Together
Important documents should ideally be kept together in an easily-accessible place. A folder with vaccination records, spay/neuter certificate, and other important papers should be kept together for future reference. Your new vet may ask to see them.
Set Up An Evacuation Plan
Sometimes we have no choice but to evacuate from our homes. Do not leave your pets behind! Have a plan to get both them and yourself out safely. Keep a list of nearby pet-friendly accommodations handy. Read more in the article, Emergency Planning: Keeping Pets Safe From Harm.
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