For this post, we welcome Tazz Latifi, a Certified Pet Nutritionist based in Manhattan. She provides some excellent, in-depth tips for preparing your pet for a big move to a new pet-friendly home.
Stress is an unavoidable fact especially when we are planning a move, regardless of whether it’s a few miles or a few thousand miles away. What you may not realize is that while it’s stressful for you, it may be even harder on your pets – the sight of their things being packed away, the shrill sound of packing tape, the smell of cleaning agents, the list goes on.
Here are a few things you can add to your pets’ daily regimen to help keep stress at bay during these difficult times of transition.
Manage Their Diet
Keep it Simple
Keep the diet simple and avoid any changes until everything settles. It may sound self-explanatory but you will be surprised to know how many owners are in a rush or a panic while they’re moving and unknowingly make minor changes that can cause digestive upset.
Choose High Quality Food
Pets on high quality, species-appropriate diets tend to experience less stress and adjust to environmental changes better than those fed low quality foods such as kibble. If you know a move is coming up in a few months, it is worth considering a higher-grade of food for your animal.
Soothe an Upset Stomach
If your dog develops diarrhea, avoid giving treats and fast her on an onion free chicken or beef broth for one day. If your cat develops diarrhea, avoid giving treats and mix half the amount of her normal intake of food with an onion free chicken or beef broth. Feed small portions of the broth and food mix throughout the day and don’t leave food out where they can constantly smell it.
Keep Them Active
Make sure they are getting plenty of activity as it helps relieve pent up anxiety. With anxiety often comes the need to relieve the bowels and urinate more often and any extra walk or playtime will help put them at ease.
Clean the Litter
For cats, keep the litter box clean. It is important to be more fastidious than usual. Keep an eye on your cats’ use of the litter box. If your cats are prone to urinary issues, stress can be a factor leading to a urinary infection or the formation of urinary crystals.
Studies have shown that sounds can heavily influence pet behavior patterns and harsh abrupt noises can exacerbate an already tense situation. Keep noises to a minimum (i.e. when ripping the packing tape off the box be a little more sensitive to your pets whereabouts while making this gesture). Consider investing in a Pet Acoustics sound machine. Pet Acoustics has developed music specifically geared to animals’ acute hearing abilities often causing a positive reaction, reducing anxiety and maintaining a state of calm and relaxation.
Give Supplemental Remedies
Natural supplemental remedies are also excellent options for relieving the stress associated with change. A few of my favorites are listed below:
Rescue Remedy may be helpful with very mild cases of anxiety. Start early by administering the flower essence 3 days prior to the big day. I always tend to prefer administering a few (2 or 3 drops) onto the outer part of the pets ears and slowly massaging it in. For pets that love to drink water, you can also administer 4 drops of the rescue remedy into their clean water bowl daily.
Composure for Pets by Vetri-Science
This product comes in treat and liquid form and helps alleviate environmental stresses without causing drowsiness or changing your pets’ personality.
It contains a combination of L-Theanine (an amino acid that affects alpha waves in the brain, helping to put your animals in a relaxed state), Colostrum (which stimulates the immune system and reduces inflammation), and Thiamine (also known as Vitamin B1 which is necessary for proper carbohydrate metabolism and neurologic function). As the name of the product indicates, it helps pets compose themselves, reduces hyperactivity and anxiety brought on by environmental stresses. If your pet is undergoing treatment for cancer or has specific medical issues where he is medicated please consult your vet before using this product.
Adding a B-Complex vitamin to your pet’s diet at least a month prior to a planned move, particularly if you are feeding pets dry food or low-grade canned food, will be critical in reducing stress to the overall body. The Amino B-Plex by RxVitamins is a great choice to supplement their diet.
Consider using Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP) or Feliway (cat appeasing pheromones). The use of pheromones is an excellent option for when you are faced with a variety of difficult pet related challenges, not just a move. Your pets’ vomeronasal organ detects chemical signals from the specific pheromone, which in turn helps to de-stress and relax their mind and body hence reducing anxiety, inappropriate urination, excessive yowling as well as helping pets adjust to their new environment more easily.
It is often best to use a combination of the above recommendations to help our pets maintain a peaceful mind. Remember, your pets wellbeing and reactions start and end with you. Stay calm, keep focused, plan ahead so you can be comfortable and the move can be a stress-free experience for both you and your pet.
Tazz Latifi is a certified pet nutritionist and the owner of Petropolis Pet Supply, an all-natural Beastro and Pet Grooming Salon in Manhattan. She provides pet parents with private pet nutrition consultations and cooking classes through her website at Petropolist.com. You can also find her on Twitter @.