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How to help pets adjust to a new home

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Imagine how anxious you would feel if, without warning or explanation, you were taken to an unknown destination and all of your belongings had been unpacked into this new space. By the time evening rolled around, and nobody showed any signs of returning you to your home, the nerves would understandably begin to set in.

“Adjusting to a new home can be challenging, especially for your furry companions. To avoid pets running away or inflicting harm upon themselves, homeowners should take the necessary precautions to help them adjust to the new space,” advises Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Top tip: One of the first things responsible pet owners should do is find the closest vet in their new area and get their pet’s tags and chips updated with their new address. It might also be a good idea to have a recent photo of your pet, just in case they wander off.

Building up to the move, take your dogs for walks in the area to get them used to the scent and layout of their new suburb. That way it won’t all seem so new to them when you eventually move in. After the big moving day, continue to walk your pet daily to help them use up their anxious energy and to become familiar with their new neighbourhood.

Helping your feline friend adjust to its new surroundings is somewhat trickier. Especially if your cat is the anxious type, it might be worth keeping Snowball indoors for a while and supervise her outdoors until she finds her feet.

Stick to what they know

Cat in the box

Familiar objects and routines are useful ways to help your pets adjust to their new environment. Make sure that all of your pet’s favourite things (their cushion, chew toy, drinking bowl, etc.) are unpacked before they arrive. Though you might think that a new home presents the perfect opportunity to purchase new things and develop new habits for your pets, it is better to hold off on anything new until your pet has become comfortable in the unfamiliar space.


Not a cat or dog person? Consider one of these furry (or scaly) friends


As a final piece of advice, Goslett reminds homeowners that in this new territory, they are they one of the only things that are familiar to their pets. “It can be easy to get so caught up in all the logistics of unpacking and redecorating your new home that you neglect to spend time with your pet.”

Now more so than ever, your pet needs you to be around. Boxes can always be unpacked later, but the wellbeing of your pet cannot wait.

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