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If you think moving is stressful, imagine how your pets feel! After all, they don’t even have the benefit of knowing what awaits them at the other side… the dream home that makes it all worth it. If you want to make relocating as stress-free for your beloved fur babies, follow these guidelines.

Set up a “safe zone” in your new home. Both cats and dogs can be overwhelmed by the chaos of unpacking and adjusting to a completely new space. Allow them time to retreat as they get used to their new home by setting up a quiet room, with their crate, food, water and some choice toys. Having a dedicated pet den is a great option.

Unpack your pet’s items as soon as you arrive. Before you unpack anything else, take your pet’s belongings and set them up in the aforementioned safe zone. It’s helpful to pack them all in one, clearly-labelled box so you know where they are. This lets your pet get settled in and have access to his/her comfort items while the rest of the family is busy setting up.

Have your pet stay at daycare while you make the move. If you’re moving a relatively short distance, consider taking your pet to a daycare or pet sitter while the move is actually happening. This prevents them from being underfoot and exposed to all the chaos of last-minute packing and moving. Your pet will adjust better when everything is where it should be and there aren’t strangers running in and out of your home.

Establish a routine as soon as possible. Pets thrive on consistent schedules. Even as you’re still unpacking and figuring out new commutes or routines, make sure you stick to some key activities for your pet. This means walks at the same time every day, keeping their food and water bowls in the same place, and having playtime regularly too.