Moving can be very stressful for people, and it’s no different moving with pets. In fact, if you are a pet owner, keeping your fur baby as comfortable and relaxed as possible is probably one of your main concerns with your move. After all, change is hard for pets too! Read on for tips to make moving with your pet as smooth as possible—for both of you.
Whether you’re moving with a cat or moving with a dog, some things remain the same: you need to plan ahead. If you’re moving with others, it’s a good idea to put one person on pet duty, that way your furry friend can have some consistency and there is no confusion with who’s supposed to do what for Fido.
When you’re making a list of what your pet will need for the move and in the first few days, be sure to include:
Do your pet a favor and wait as long as possible to pack up their supplies. Also, if you’re moving long distance with a dog or cat, visit your vet before you go. You’ll be able to grab your pet’s vet records, as well as ask what you can do to keep your pet comfortable during the move. This may also a good time to update your pet’s microchip information with your new address. Ask your vet how to do this.
If you’re doing a local move, perhaps a day at a doggy daycare or cat hotel, or with a trusted, pet-friendly friend or relative would be a good idea to keep your pet safe and out of the way as you tend to your move.
Plan your stops ahead of time, if you are driving long distances during your move with your pet. Look online ahead of time for rest stops, dog parks, and pet-friendly hotels that you can stop at along the way. A crate, carrier or travel harness is recommended for your pet as they ride with you; if there’s a car accident, they will be much safer than without any restraints. Make sure you deactivate the airbag for where your pet is sitting. And if your pet isn’t used to car trips, get them used to the car by going on small, short trips with your pet ahead of your move.
For air travel with your pet, arrange your travel well ahead of time. There are strict guidelines for animals that airlines must adhere to, If you’re traveling by air, make your arrangements well in advanced. Airlines have strict rules they must follow for pets on board, and you will need to make sure you follow all of them to the letter. When you arrive at the airport, have your pet’s necessary travel paperwork in-hand.
When you arrive at your new home, keep your pet confined to one area away from all the moving activity, if possible. Set up their items in this area, like their pet bed or open carrier, and let them try to adjust to their new place.
Before you give your pet the run of your new place, take a look around to make sure there are no dangerous areas for them. Look for hidden areas under stairs or holes in the drywall where your pet may get stuck. A hole in the wall behind the dryer, for example, may be nothing to you, but for a cat or dog, it may be an exciting and ultimately dangerous place for them to explore. And when moving your cat, consider doing a once-over with familiar cleaning products. Cats are very sensitive to new smells, and this may help Fluffy relax in her new space a little more quickly.
Do your best to keep doors and windows closed or well-watched in the first couple weeks you are at your new home. Your pet will likely still be a little more anxious than normal, and startled pets can bolt outside and get lost. Remember, your pet won’t know the neighborhood yet and can get lost more easily than they would at a place they know. If you walk your pet, start those right away (on a leash, of course) and do a few extra in the early days. This will help you and your pet become more familiar with the new neighborhood.
Don’t forget to find a new vet once you’ve been there for a few weeks. Introduce them to your pet and give them a copy of your pet’s records. Even if your pet hasn’t been formally seen by this new vet, having your pet’s records at the new vet can save time in case of an emergency!
A new home in a new area will be an adventure for both you and your pet. Give your furry friend more attention and love during the move too. In time, you and your pet will both be comfortable in your new place.
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