While we have the choice of whether or not to move, our pets don’t. So while they may understand something unusual is going on, they don’t know quite what to do. As pet lovers, we want to make the process as easy for them as possible. When moving with pets, the most important thing to do is plan ahead. We’ve gathered some top tips to help you and your pets prepare.
Plan Your Move With Your Pets In Mind
There is so much to do when moving, it feels as though the list is never-ending. In the hustle to get everything ready to go, pets are often mentally set aside. However, pets aren’t as easy as grab and go on the day of the move. When moving with pets, it’s important to understand this move can be very traumatic for your furry friends. Just like us, all animals are susceptible to acute stress and anxiety from a new environment or unusual movement and noises in their home.
When planning your move, it’s important to consider how to take your pets with you. Are they going to be riding in the car with you? Or flying on the plane with you? If you’re driving and need to stay at a hotel, ensure that the hotel is pet-friendly. Some pets do better riding in cars when their carrier is mostly covered with a blanket or towel. This can help them feel hidden and secure.
Note: It’s unsafe for animals to fly in the cargo area of the plane. Please, never do this. Always create a travel plan that ensures your pets can be with you at all times. Nobody loves them the same way you do!
Introduce The Carrier They’ll Be Traveling In
Dogs are usually more accustomed to being in a carrier than cats. So with cats, you may want to allow more of an adjustment period to get them used to their carriers. This is particularly important if they’ll be confined in a carrier for an extended period of time. If your pet isn’t accustomed to the carrier, set it out and open in your current home and allow them to explore it. The more comfortable they are with it, the less stressful it will be for them. When moving with pets, it’s imperative to always keep their collars on, even when they’re in a carrier. Any time the pet isn’t in a carrier, make sure that they are on a leash.
Update Any and All Information
It is important that you update the information on your pet’s chip through whichever company your service is through. If your pet isn’t chipped already, please consider doing so before moving. Also, update their collar with any new phone numbers or addresses as well. People are more likely to approach a lost pet who is wearing a collar versus one who is not. Most of the time when lost pets are returned, it is because someone called the number on their collar or a chip was scanned.
Contact Your Veterinarian
Contacting your veterinarian should be one of the first things you do when preparing to move with pets. They are the real experts when it comes to helping people move with pets. Not only will they likely be helpful in locating a good vet in your new area, but they will be able to offer you good advice and tips based on your specific pet. A pre-move call also allows them to provide any medications your pet may need like car or air sickness meds. Plus, it’s always good to have your pet’s medication and vaccination records to take with you. This is especially important when traveling by airplane. TSA doesn’t always ask for this paperwork but it’s always best to be prepared.
Be Prepared and Pack an “Overnight” Kit
Gathering items your pet will need immediately upon arrival will make the transition easier for everyone involved. Have a bag or kit ready with the essentials like food, litter, food and water bowls, grooming supplies, toys, treats, and their bed. Anything else your furry friend might need over the first few days at the new home is also good to include. When staying in a hotel with kitties, be sure you have disposable litter boxes with you. They can be a lifesaver!
Pro Tip: When traveling for a few days or staying in a hotel with a pet, measure out your pet’s daily food portions in individual Ziploc bags. This makes your morning less stressful and you don’t need to take your pet’s entire food bag.
Move Your Household Belongings Before Moving Your Pets
When packing or unpacking a home it’s best to keep pets in a secure location separate from all the commotion. This can not only reduce their stress, but also avoids any stray boxes from falling on them. You also want to make sure they don’t bolt out of the house when belongings are being moved in and out. Putting small dogs or cats in a bathroom or a closet with light can be a good solution. For bigger animals, consider putting them in the backyard, or moving all furniture out of a larger room first. That way, the larger room can become your pet’s room during the move. If there are no good places to put your pet and you are moving in the same area, a boarding kennel can be a great option.
The Bottom Line on Moving with Pets
While moving with pets can add an extra layer of stress, it doesn’t have to if you plan and prepare properly. If you’d like any assistance with planning a move for you and your pets or finding a new home, please let us know. You can also find more resources on the ASPCA website HERE.