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How to help your pet adjust after a move

Take these tips for keeping your pet safe and comfortable in your new place.

You're not the only one who feels the effects of a move. Often times, your pet needs just as much help getting situated and feeling comfortable in a new place. Becoming familiar with the new area and finding a safe zone during periods of stress are important for your pet. Follow this guide to setting up a new home that provides him or her with a sense of safety and comfort after moving.

Consider a microchip implant

There's a way of tracking down a lost pet that goes far beyond a collar and name tag. According to the Animal Humane Society, your dog or cat can have a tracker surgically implanted. While it seems extreme, the option has been around for a while and is becoming an increasingly more common way of finding your pet if he or she wanders off, which is especially a concern for animals who aren't familiar with a new neighborhood or town. Should he or she go missing, a shelter or vet can use technology to help reunite him or her with you and your family. There are also tracking options available that allow you to use GPS to find him or her.

Install a gate

If your new home doesn't already have a fence or gate surrounding the perimeter, you may want to consider installing one to keep your pet - and family - safe from outside dangers. Hire someone to build it and make sure that you're abiding by all of your community's rules and regulations. A protective gate is able to keep out dangerous animals - but not all of them. If coyotes are a threat in your area, you should seek a special kind of fence designed specifically for deterring the animals from digging underneath or jumping over it. According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, fences should be over 5 1/2 feet and include a wire-mesh covering below the ground to keep animals from attempt to slide in underneath it.

Keep your pet from escaping

Whether your pet is curious and wants to explore the outdoors or he or she is just looking for an adventure, wandering off is a habit that can be quite dangerous for a pet that's new to the area or a seasoned veteran. He or she can become lost and not know how to get back to safety, get hit by a car or get picked up by an animal control officer, noted Best Friends Animal Society. Prevent these situations from happening after an address change by making sure to secure your yard and keeping your pet leashed when left alone outside. Keep him or her inside with you as often as possible, and use longer lasting treats like peanut butter-stuffed kongs that will keep him or her entertained and in the safety of your property.

Gradually allow him or her to explore

According to the Oregon Humane Society, cats typically require more assistance adjusting to life in a new home. Since they're especially territorial, they need to be eased into their new residence. Start by identifying one room in the house that they can consider their safe zone. Keep all of their toys, bedding and food and water there, and slowly allow them to explore the house, one room at a time. It may be helpful to keep all doors closed when you're not there to assist in the exploration so they don't become overwhelmed and hide in one of the rooms. As time goes on, start leaving more of the doors open and be sure to spend as much time with them as possible to help them through the transition. Also, it's recommended to keep your cat indoors at all times, as it reduces the risk of danger and also helps keep them healthy.

Make sure your home is pet-proof

Even if you don't let your dog or cat roam your new house while you're at work, it's important to secure items that could pose a threat to him or her. It only takes a few moments for your pet to become endangered by a seemingly innocent toxic substance or loose cord around the home. Hill's Pet Nutrition recommended keeping small items like coins, ribbon and paper clips out of reach of your pet, as they could get ingested and pose serious risks for an animal. Plastic bags and loose cords should also be properly contained, since your dog or cat could easily suffocate or choke if he or she comes in contact with them. 

Certain substances can also create a dangerous situation for your dog or cat if ingested, explained the source. Keep household cleaners and medicines tucked away, and also keep in mind that some plants, like mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies contain toxins that could be harmful. Be sure to cover garbage cans which could hold dangerous substances and keep toilet seats covered to prevent cats from falling in and dogs from drinking out of the bowl. 

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