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postheadericon According to the center for disease control, pet ownership has a number of significant health benefits

According to the Center for Disease Control, pet ownership has a number of significant health benefits. Pet owners experience lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and are often more active than those without pets. A National Institute of Health workshop held in 1987 concluded that pets are especially beneficial for older people and children, albeit for quite different reasons. Older people enjoy the companionship and derive health benefits from the increased level of activity and attention that pets generally require, while children learn responsibility and socialization skills in the safety of a nonjudgmental relationship with the family pet. Additionally, scientific studies have shown that people with pets suffer significantly lower levels of stress during major life changes than those without them.

Certainly, relocation is a major life change. Since pets help their owners to cope with the stress surrounding your move, it’s only fair that you should help your pets in return by shielding them from as much of the stress and bustle surrounding a move as possible. Veterinarians agree that pets can often suffer more stress during a move than their owners, in part because pets cannot understand why their environment is changing so radically and rapidly. While every pet will react to stress differently, here are some helpful suggestions to consider.

Leave your pet’s possessions for last

Packing up your dog’s favorite toys or moving your cat’s litter box may seem like a small matter to you, but it can be very upsetting to your pet. Since you can’t explain to your dog that he’ll get his toys back after the move, it’s better to leave them out until right before the move. You can then move them at the same time you move him. This will also give your dog a familiar object or two to play with on the journey to your new home, which can relieve some stress in itself.

Plan a sleepover for your pet

One way to spare your pet stress if you are moving within the same city is to arrange for her to stay with a friend for a few days. After the move is complete, you can bring your pet to her new home and allow her to adjust to one major change rather than a whole series of upsetting and repeated changes to her environment.

Last packed, first unpacked

It’s a good idea to unpack your pet’s toys, food, and litter box first, before allowing him into the new home. Unfamiliar surroundings can be frightening and disorienting for your pet, so seeing the familiar objects from home can help take the edge off a stressful situation. It may also be helpful to physically show your pet the way to the areas that will be important to him, such as food and water dishes, litter boxes, and the all-important doggie door.

Lots of love and attention

Your pet can’t tell you how she’s feeling, but she often shows it in the way she acts. Make sure your pet gets plenty of cuddles and petting. Praise her for using the doggie door, scratching to be let outside, or finding the litter box; this will reinforce these behaviors and ensure they continue in the new environment. Hugging your pet will make you feel better too, and reduce stress levels for both of you.

Your pet does so much for your family’s health and emotional well-being. These simple steps can help you return the favor and reduce stress for your pet when you relocate, ensuring a smoother move for all the members of your family, including the four-footed variety.

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