Moving with Pets Made Easier
When you’re getting ready to move from one location to another, it can be a stressful time. This is especially true if you own cats or dogs. After all, our pets are family members, so they too should be able to move with as little stress as possible. While it may seem daunting, there are ways to relocate with pets that can be simple and stress-free. Our pets, particularly our dogs, are extra sensitive, especially with smells and sounds, so there are things we can do to keep them calmer during the often stressful event of moving. Below are just a few of these tips.
Prepare Ahead of Time as Much as Possible
Whether you use a professional mover or not, you will likely be packing at least a few boxes yourself. When packing or organizing your household goods, it is a good idea to start one to two weeks before the move so that your pet will not become overly anxious with the change. He will know that something is going on, so starting early will reduce his stress, too.
There are also other recommendations you can take with your pets. If your new location is close to your existing one, you can bring your pet to the location and let him explore it for a little while, so that when you do finally move, he will not be totally unfamiliar with the area. In the meantime, though, keep your pet’s routines the same. Continue to feed him at the same time you usually do, as well as taking him for walks and anything else you may do on a regular basis. Keep his routine the same, and introduce activities such as packing or organizing your items in a slow way.
You should also prepare a new ID tag for your pet before you move, and make sure he is wearing it on the day of the move. This way, if he gets too anxious and runs away, he will be able to be returned to you quickly. In addition, make sure that you know all of the requirements if you are moving out of state. Pets moving from one state to another often have to have certain documentation in order to enter that state. This includes immunization records and interstate health certificates. Also, some states require that any new pets be quarantined for a period of time when they first enter the state. To make sure you know of any specific requirements for the state you are entering, you can check with the veterinary division of the USDA, which can be found online.
The Day of the Move
On the day of your move – unless, of course, you are planing on moving long distance – it is recommended that you leave your pet with a trusted friend for the day. Seeing strange people coming in and out of your home may cause stress for your pet, and leaving him with a friend means:
- He will feel less invaded and less intimidated.
- You will not have to take care of him while also trying to tend to the movers.
- It will be easier for the moving people, too, because the pet will not distract them away from their jobs.
When pets feel threatened, it is possible that they will become aggressive or even dangerous. This is the main reason you want to prepare for your move in plenty of time and do whatever is necessary to slowly incorporate any changes into your pet’s schedule so that he doesn’t experience too many changes in a short time frame.
On the day of the move, if it is a long move, you should not feed your pet within three hours of your scheduled time to leave. In addition, if you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to stop every two hours to stretch and let your pet get some water and/or food and a little bit of exercise himself. If it is a short move, consider using a pet taxi to transport your pet to your final destination, but if you are flying, make sure you check with the airlines before the day of the move arrives. Each airline has specific requirements for pet travel, and you may need documentation, a proper carrier, and other things in order to bring your pet on an airplane. Once again, preparing far in advance is an excellent step to take so that your pet is as relaxed as possible on moving day.
After the Move
Once you’ve moved into your new home, it is recommended that you stick close to home for at least a week. The more time you spend with your pet, the sooner he will become acclimated to his new home. Make sure he knows where all of his things are, including his bed, bowl, litter box, toys, and any other items he is familiar with. Resist the urge to eat out for at least a few days, because leaving the pet alone this early in the process may cause him to become anxious or tense. Do not give the pets a sedative, unless absolutely necessary and authorized by your veterinarian, because this may cause them to lose control over their bodies, which may cause disruptive or unpleasant behavior. In short, let your pet be a pet, and make sure that you prepare him for the upcoming move as slowly as possible.
The Ins and Outs of Moving with Pets
Moving with a pet can be stressful, but both your stress level and your pet’s can be reduced if you know what to do before, during and after the move. Making preparations and slowly introducing certain changes can make a huge difference. Other tips for moving with pets can be found on the Internet, as can overall tips for relocating to another area. Moving is almost always stressful, especially for our pets, but as with many other activities, the more research we do and the more prepared we are, the easier it will be for us on the day of the move.