With 56% of American homes housing furry family members, many pets go through the moving process at least once in their life-time. Buying or selling a home while taking care of your pet can easily become overwhelming. Consider the following tips to ease your stress as well as theirs.

Remove your pet while showing your home.

First off, removing pets from the home is likely to get your home sold faster.  If people looking at your home see that a dog or cat lives there, they may assume there’s damage to the home or that it’s unclean.  Take the time to put away any toys, cages and even food bowls during the time potential buyers are going through your home. It’s also wise to give your home a deep cleaning to get rid of any lingering odors and pet dander your pet has left behind.

Secondly, removing your furry friend from the home temporarily during open houses and private showings is a good idea due to the fact that it can really stress them out. Seeing new faces coming in and out of their territory can make them feel defensive and scared. The last thing you want is a pet to attack a child visiting because they’re frightened. If you have a dog consider taking the dog to a family member’s house, a trip to the park, or a dog-sitter.

Pay attention to pets during the packing process.

Even before you make the big move, cats -and especially dogs- will sense that something off is about to happen. They see you packing boxes, letting strangers into the home and may even sense that you’re stressed. If dogs feel anxious or scared, they will appear lethargic and may even become destructive. If you notice your dog is being affected by the move make sure to do the following:

  • keep meal times the same as normal
  • take an hour to play with your pet and give them undivided attention
  • if they’re used to going to the park or on car rides, take them on outings once in a while to get them away from the chaos at home

Establish rules the second you move to your new place.

No matter what, an animal is going to be somewhat confused upon moving to a new home. In order to prevent them from having an accident or getting sick in the house, it’s important to be mindful and cautious of their behavior. During the first couple days in a new home, your pet may be more skittish than usual– which could be a form of anxiety that can make them more likely to run away.  For this reason, keep them on a leash or in a cage until they get used to the new space. Be sure to set up their food bowls, bed and toys right way so that they have something familiar to comfort them.

As weeks progress in your new home, continue to keep an eye on them and get them back into a familiar routine.  Avoid any housewarming parties right away, as it can be overwhelming for them in a new environment.

When in doubt, talk to your vet.

Pets can’t tell you when they’re anxious, depressed or uncomfortable. That’s why it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before your family does anything that could put any stress on your pet. If you have a senior dog or cat, find out how they’re expected to react to change and what you can do to help ease the process.