Tips for Moving with Pets
Getting ready to move and then actually moving can be a very stressful time, especially when you have a family to worry about. About 60% of American families include at least one pet. If you think moving is stressful for you, just think of how your pet must feel! Unlike most human family members, pets do not understand the concept of moving. Most companion animals live the maturity of their lives inside and around our homes. Changing their environment so drastically and often times suddenly can be very traumatic for a pet.
There are some things you can do to help make the transition to your new home easier on both you and your pet.
- If you will be using a crate of carrier to transport your pet to your new home, it can be helpful to get your pet use to traveling in this fashion before the actual move. If you will be driving to your new home, you can slowly get your pet use to going for rides in the car by starting with short, pleasant car rides. If you will by flying or for some other reason can't get your pet use to traveling in the type of vehicle you will be using to move, you can at least get your pet use to being inside his/her crate or carrier. Use treats and positive reinforcement to make your pet's carrier a pleasant and safe place for them. Being used to and comfortable with spending time in their carrier can help ease your pets stress on moving day.
- If you are traveling far and will be switching veterinarians, remember to have your old vet transfer your pets records. If you will be traveling to a different state or country, make sure that you are aware beforehand of any documentation you may need to transport your pet.
- Make frequent bathroom stops for dogs. For cats and other pets, provide a litter box or spot to use the bathroom during the trip. Like in humans, stress can make our pets have to use the bathroom more often. Keep a clean up kit on hand in case your pet has an accident.
- During long commutes, make sure your pet has access to fresh water. How you feed your pet while traveling should be based on your individual pet. Some animals will be fine with eating in the car, and in that case it can be beneficial to try to stick to their regular feeding schedule. Other pets may be too nervous or car sick to eat at their regular time while traveling. In this case, make sure to return your pet to his/her regular feeding schedule as soon as possible after you reach your destination.
- Just in case, remember to keep ID tags on your pets and up to date. If your pet is micro chipped, make sure that the chip information is up to date before your move. Nervous animals are more likely to bolt if they get the chance, and having up to date ID on your pet can be instrumental in finding a lost pet. An ID tag or micro chip won't do you much good if it still contains your old, invalid, contact information.
- If your pet is excessively stressed while you are preparing to move, you can consider having a friend or relative watch them for a few days while you pack.
- After the move is complete, give your pet plenty of time to adjust to his/her new surroundings. It's not unusual for animals in this situation to be nervous for a few days. They may have accidents inside the house until they get use to their new home. Try not to get upset with your pet, and help to ease them through this adjustment period.
- If for some reason you can not take your pet with you to your new home, please make proper arrangements for your animals before you leave. Abandoning your pet outside or leaving them in an empty house is not only cruel, but is also illegal. If you cannot find a friend, neighbor, or family member to care for your pet, then bring him/her to an animal shelter.
Moving into a new home can be a very exiting, but also stressful time for humans and animals alike. If you follow the tips above, and treat your pet with love and care, they should be able to quickly adjust to their new surroundings. In no time you will be able to enjoy your new home together!