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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

De-stressing a Move for Our Pets

Sep 02, 2016 01:32AM ● By Mary Oquendo

According to the Employee Relocation Council, the only things more stressful than moving are the death of a loved one and divorce. Searching for pet-friendly housing makes the process even more nerve-wracking for humans. It all begs the question: how does the experience of moving affect our pets?

On a very basic level, the higher levels of household activity, such as packing, getting rid of possessions, arguments and strange people in the home change the normal home environment for our animals. When we are stressed, angry or frustrated, our bodies produce hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These have a distinct odor undetectable to us with our six million olfactory receptor cells, but our pets recognize the smell as problematic using their more than 300 million cells.

The majority of pets will become increasingly concerned as the whirlwind around their humans becomes more intense. This stress may manifest in several ways.
Abandonment fears of rescued pets: They may have experienced this scenario before and it ended with them being left behind.

• Exacerbation of medical conditions: This is especially evident with illnesses and diseases related to inflammation, such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel syndrome. Diabetic pets should be monitored closely as stress can dangerously affect sugar levels. Stress in pets has been linked to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

• Engaging in bad behaviors: This can include marking and acting out or refusing to participate in normal routine.

• Increased risk of flight: Flight is a fear response. Secure doors and windows to ensure their safety.

What can you do to reduce
your pet’s stress?

Involve pets in the move by playing with them while packing, visiting the new home with them, and taking breaks from the work involved for some special one-on-one time with them.

Routine is important so try to keep their schedule normal as much as possible. Grounding also helps to keep them centered; spend time outside with paws on the earth rather than pavement.

Crystals such as red jasper, hematite, black obsidian and pyrite offer protection and grounding properties. Keep them close by in a “mojo” bag, but out of reach to prevent choking. Essential oils such as lavender or chamomile diffused in the air with a water-base diffuser can help. Do not do this if there are birds or cats with respiratory issues.

Treat pets to relaxing energetic work, such as Reiki or Therapeutic Touch. Also clear the home of accumulated negative energy. There are many ways to do this ourselves, including smudging with palo santo or sage, or opening the windows and doors (secure the pets first) and using a set of tingsha bells to move the energy outside. Using a space-clearing spray and then filling the house back up with music after the house is cleared can change the vibe as well.

While moving can be as stressful on our pets as it is on ourselves, there is an endpoint. The time we take to reduce the stress levels of our pets during the process will make the move an easier transition for the whole family.

Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master pet tech pet first aid instructor. She is the owner of Hands and Paws-Reiki for All. She can be reached at See ad, page 15.

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