Tips for When You Need to Move Your Furry Friend
Extraordinary bonds exist between a pet and its human parent – bonds stronger than those between you and your home. Your pet is counting on you to care for its needs by making its safety and well-being a priority. When thinking about what to pack, what to toss, and what to put in storage, remember to consider the needs of your pet.
Pets improve the quality of your life. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent heart attacks and strokes, strengthen immune systems, reduce stress, and can even take the place of a good therapist. Spending some quality time with your pet before your move will prove beneficial for you both.
Before the Move
Before you even pack a box, keep the needs of your pet in mind. Taking some time to prepare your pet for this season of transition will significantly help keep your pet’s anxiety in check with the move to a new home. From maintaining a routine to addressing your pets veterinary needs, here are a few things you should consider before the big move.
Pets are often uncomfortable with change. Help ensure a smooth transition by maintaining your pet’s routine as much as possible. Keep the same schedule for walks, feedings, playing, bedtime, and even cuddling. Pets need a sense of stability, and this is a great way to provide that even in the middle of a transition.
Pull Out the Crate
Many families use a crate during a move because it helps keep the pet safe and secure even when the pet may have anxiety. If your pet isn’t used to being in a crate, pull it out early and give your pet lots of practice before the big day. Introduce a crate a few weeks to a month before the move. Start slowly – 15 minutes at a time without responding to your pet’s objections. Make sure your pet has water and their favorite toy in the crate.
Start Packing Early
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, another valuable pet moving tip is to help your pet adjust to the moving process by bringing in moving boxes early. This will familiarize your pet with the boxes before moving day. With the same thought in mind, if you plan to put things in storage, do it sooner rather than later.
Give Your Pet a Tour
Before you move into your new space, let your pet have a tour if it’s at all possible. This helps your pet become familiar with the sights and the smells of the place that will be its new home. When you’re making plans for your new house is also a good time to update your pet’s tags to reflect your new address and phone number.
Address Veterinary Needs
Before your move, take your pet to your current veterinarian to make sure it is in good health. Your vet can help answer any questions you have about your pet during this time of transition, and she can give you tips to help your particular pet. If you’re moving to a new neighborhood, find a veterinarian in your new neighborhood before you make your move that way you’re prepared for if/when you need an appointment.
On Moving Day
Moving day might be the most chaotic moment of your pet’s life. You will have a lot going on, and likely be under stress too, so take some time out to make sure your pet is prepared.
When You’re Loading the Moving Truck
As you are dismantling your home, keep your pet in a closed, quiet room as far away from the chaos as possible. Place a sign on the door so movers and family members know your pet is in there and that the door should remain closed.
If you have a friend or family member who is willing to pet-sit for the day, that may be a good option. It will keep your pet out of the chaos of moving, and it lessens the chance that your frightened friend will bolt as soon as the door is opened.
Now is the time to put that crate training to the test. Keeping your pet in a crate on moving day is one of the safest places for it to be. Put a favorite toy or blanket in the crate along with a fresh dish of water. Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan advises you should not project your feelings onto your dog. He says that pets don’t mind the crate, and some even feel safer when they’re in one.
Traveling With Your Pet
Moving day has arrived and it’s time to hit the road. Your veterinarian might prescribe a light sedative to help calm your pet during travels; follow the directions and administer that sedative when it’s appropriate. When you’re loading your vehicle, load your pet last. Also, wait for the last moment to pack up your companion animals’ toys, bed, food, and bowls so that it is comforted by the presence of familiar things for as long as possible.
If you’re traveling a short distance, you don’t need to make many preparations beyond loading your pet (and crate) into your vehicle. If you’re traveling a long distance, you’ll need to think ahead. For optimum car travel, pets should eat about three hours before riding in a vehicle (so they don’t throw up in the car). Take frequent stops so your pet can drink some water, eat some food (if it’s meal time), and get some exercise.
Get Some Exercise
Take your pet for a walk around your new neighborhood when you arrive at your new home. Yes, you’ll be anxious to unload your belongings. However, your pet will also be anxious to experience its new surroundings. This walk will help relieve your stress, and your pet will feel more comfortable now that it’s had a chance to sniff and smell around.
Your New Home
Your new home will feel unfamiliar to your pet, just like it probably still feels unfamiliar to you. Allow some time to settle into this new environment, and expect that there could be some behavioral issues during this transition.
Reboot Your Routine
As soon as you possibly can, try to get back to the routine you had at your former home. When surrounded by new sights, sounds, and smells, the familiar comfort of the old routine will help your pet feel right at home.
Make Your House Feel Like Home
When you’re moving into your new space, you’ll take time to create a space that feels comfortable for you. For your pet’s well being, make some time to create a cozy space for your pet too. “If a dog is used to using a doggy door, set one up in your new place,” Amy Goyer writes. “If your cat is accustomed to outdoor time, arrange for that — even if you have to use a leash initially for safety purposes and to keep him from running away.” Surround them with the toys and supplies they’re accustomed to, and they’ll feel right at home in no time.
Take Time to Explore
Once the chaos of moving out and moving in has subsided, let your pet explore the sights and smells of its new home by itself. Allowing your pet to sniff around its new home helps everything feel more familiar to them. If your pet decides to hide in its crate or under a bed for a while, that’s perfectly normal. Show your pet where the doggy door or the litter box is, and then exercise patience. Your pet will come out when it’s ready.
Accidents Are Normal
It’s normal for pets to hide when you move into a new house, but it’s also normal to see behavioral problems temporarily escalate. Your pet may refuse a meal, may have potty accidents, or may even start barking or pacing. Sometimes pets are overly protective of their owners in a new environment, so be mindful of that as well. Once your furry friend adjusts to the new home, those behaviors should return to normal.
Give Extra Snuggles
If ever there was a time to shower your pet with some extra attention, this is it. A few extra snuggles go a long way to helping your pet feel comfortable and at home. Even if your pet acts out and behaves poorly, remember that it’s because of the change and not because your pet is naughty. If needed, seek help from your veterinarian or a pet trainer so behaviors can be adjusted. Always keep the focus positive and show lots of love to your furry loved one.
With the monumental burden of moving behind you, now is the time to settle in and reconnect with your precious pet. Play together, share cuddles, and rejoice that the chaos of moving is over.