Moving your household from one place to another can be a frustrating, exhausting, and stressful experience. There’s all the organizing, packing, cleaning, transporting to deal with, not to mention all the unexpected surprises that inevitably hit at the worst times. Having just made a move myself, I know!
If moving is stressful on us, think of how your pets will feel when you pack up their entire world and without any say in the matter, get whisked away to a new, unfamiliar place.
To keep stress to a minimum for your pets and yourself, here are a few tips. These tips address moves that are not far and are accomplished by driving only. In a future newsletter, I’ll address moves that involve going across state lines or even out of the country.
- While you’re packing your things for the move try to keep your pets’ areas (food area, litter area, bedding, etc.) the same for as long as you can. Also try to keep as much of their daily routines intact.
- Animals can sense your moods and emotions. The pending move may stress you out, but try to keep a positive attitude.
- Make sure your pet’s identification collar/tags are up-to-date with your new information. If your pet has an embedded ID chip, make sure to update the information with the company that holds your pet’s information as soon as you can.
- If your move takes you away from your usual veterinarian, be sure to get your pet’s records so you can give them to your new vet.
- When you begin your move, keep your pets’ safety in mind. It’s not uncommon for pets to run off when a door is left open and they are left unattended. If you need to move in and out with the door open, keep your pets in a carrier or crate. If your pets aren’t used to being in an enclosure, get them accustomed to it before moving day.
You can put soft bedding or an item of clothing with your scent on it into the crate or carrier and leave it open. Your pet is sure to investigate. You can also entice them into the space using treats. If they are used to the crate/carrier being a part of the household, they won’t be as stressed when they have to go into it on moving day.
- If you’re having professional movers help, you might want to place your pets (in their carriers) in an empty room and keep the door closed. Make sure everyone knows not to enter the room so the pets are kept secure.
- Whether you’re moving using your car, a truck, or van, keep your pets secure in their carriers in the passenger areas. For dogs that are accustomed to it, a safety harness can be used instead of a crate. Never put animals in the trunk of a car, the bed of a truck, or in the back of a van.
And never leave them in the vehicle. You’ve probably heard it many times, but I think it’s important to emphasize how dangerous it is to leave your pets in a vehicle. The outside temperature may seem okay to you, but it gets many times hotter inside a vehicle. Your pets should be the last in before you start driving, and the first out when you reach your destination.
- Make sure to have your pet’s items (toys, food bowl, litter pan, etc.) in the new place before they arrive. It will certainly reassure them to see/smell their items there. Let them explore, but keep an eye on them to keep them out of trouble! My new kittens had a great time exploring (more like getting into) the many boxes in our new home .
- After your move, keep up their daily routines, such as feeding and exercise, at the usual times. Keeping some things the same will make your pets feel more at ease.
- Once you’re in your new home, keep an eye on your pets so they don’t slip out an open door. It’s all new to them, so they might get confused when they get outside alone and try to go back to their old home.