The Final Entry In Our Travel Nurses With Pets Series
While some pets embrace the experience quite well, moving into a new home is an upsetting time for many pets. This can be a time when pets show new behaviors (pacing, barking, hiding, accidents, protection behaviors, etc), and will need a little more of your time, patience, and love than is typical.
The most important way to ease their transition is to make their daily life in the new living space as routine as possible. Follow the same feeding, play, and exercise schedules you maintained at your previous home, and, when possible, do not change the brand of their food. Adjust them to their new water by mixing it with water from your home, changing the dilution little by little until they’ve transitioned to the new water completely.
Calming Your Pet
Some pets will stop eating for several days when moved to a new home. While most animals will eventually adjust, this behavior can be dangerous – especially for cats that are old, diabetic, or overweight. If more than a day has passed since your pet has eaten, try to coax them to eat with strong-smelling foods and their favorite meals and treats.
Since your pets are already adjusting to a lot of “newness”, we recommend that you resist the urge to buy them new toys, bedding, and pet furniture. Instead, bring them things they’re already familiar with, to make this new place feel more like home.
Acclimating Cats To A New Home
If cats were given the choice, they would stay indefinitely where they felt safe and comfortable – they’re unlikely to respond to any move to a new home. When moving them in to your new place, let them get used to the house slowly by starting them in one room or area of the house, and then slowly opening up new areas every few days. Keeping them in one room to begin with has the added benefit of making it easy for your cat to find its food, water, and litter box. A second litter box can be located at their “permanent” location – give them time to find both before removing the temporary one.
When setting up their “first” room, add their bed, favorite toy, and many items that will be familiar to them. Spend time in the room often, engaged in calm behaviors such as reading, using the computer, or watching TV. When your cat begins to come out of hiding more often, talk to it softy and give it opportunities to cuddle, play, and interact with you.
If your cat was indoor/outdoor at your previous home, it will need time to adjust to the new home and establish it as its territory. It’s wise to wait six weeks before introducing the cat to your yard. In the meantime, you should chase neighborhood cats out of your yard, to make it easier for your cat to establish the space as its territory when it is allowed out.
Getting Your Dog Used To Your New Home
Crate training your dog beforehand can help to give it a secure, stable place to go when it’s feeling anxious, and can enormously help in reducing the barking behavior that could cause issues with new neighbors in an apartment/condo environment.
Many dogs that have recently moved show separation anxiety when their owners leave the home.
When possible, get your pet used to these absences by making short trips out of the home, followed by incrementally longer trips until you’ve adjusted to your upcoming work schedule.
If your dog is used to country living and moves to a more urbanized area, be sure to make time to acclimate them to the traffic in the area before allowing them unsupervised, or even lightly supervised time.
In the end, you will know your pet’s personality and their needs best. Your love and guidance is just what they need to get through this often difficult time!
We Can Help You Find Pet Friendly Housing!
At Onward Healthcare, we offer a variety of options to help you find the best housing for your needs, including accommodations that will work with your pets. We pride ourselves in finding safe, spacious housing for each travel nurse – housing that’s close to the facility where you’re working. To learn more, contact us at (800) 278-0332 or apply online!