Managing pet stress when selling your home and moving – Part 1

Our furry friends are an important part of our lives. When we feel stressed so, in many ways, can they. Certainly, selling our home and moving is often a stressful activity and event. To begin with, we may undertake repairs from painting to new floors to remodeling before we put our home on the market. Once on the market, strangers will come in and out during showings. Then there’s the packing and taking away items our pets are familiar with. When the home is finally sold, pets will have to deal with the move itself and getting used to a whole new environment. Not the easiest set of challenges for us, let alone our four-legged friends who thrive on consistency and a stable environment.

How can we mitigate stress for our pets during the whole process? Here are some suggestions from an article by home-builder David Weekly Homes.

First, increase dog walks. “Exercise keeps their energy down, which means they’ll be less likely to engage in destructive behaviors while your home is being packed up. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog.”

Second, if you can, try to “schedule showings during your dog’s regular walk times,” suggests the article. Speaking first-hand, I know this is not always possible or practical. Most people work and are not available during the day to take their dogs out to walk while a showing takes place. And restricting showings to the evenings when you’re home is a sure way to delay the sale of the house. If potential buyers can’t see a home when they want to, they will often move on to the next home on their list.

I once had home on the market for a seller with two dogs. Her home was near my office. Whenever there was a showing scheduled during her work hours, I would run over, take the dogs out (into the fenced backyard) and keep them there while the potential buyers toured the home. The home sold quickly.

Third, when packing, think about restricting your pets’ access to certain rooms or areas. For example, “while you’re packing everything into boxes, it’s easy for items to get left out, such as tape, jewelry, or cleaning supplies,” which can be harmful to your pets.

Fourth, in your new home, “create a familiar place,” the article advises. “Arrange their bed, crate and toys as close to their old setup as possible. Try not to clean their blankets either – bringing the smell of the previous house into the new one will help ease some of your dog’s anxiety.”

Fifth, maintain similar routines. “It’s likely some things will change in a new home – especially at first – so try to stay as close as possible to your pup’s previous routine. Stick to that 9 a.m. walk or 5 p.m. feeding, even if you’re in a new time zone,” concludes the article about easing stress in your dogs before and during your move.

Next week, we’ll look at how you can do the same for your kitties.