Moving With Pets

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If moving this spring, don’t forget a plan for your pets!

There are lots of things to plan when you move, like packing, hiring a moving company, and forwarding your mail. But what about your pets? Don’t forget to have a plan in place for them too!

Most pets find comfort in their routine, and moving is sure to throw them for a loop. In order to minimize their stress and yours, it’s important to keep them in mind when the time comes to transition to a new home.

One thing you can do to help them prepare is to get them used to packing supplies and boxes. If you have room, you could start stocking up on boxes and leave them where your pets can sniff, investigate, and eventually become accustomed to them. Conditioning them to the presence of boxes ahead of time will reduce their curiosity and anxiety when you begin packing in earnest, especially on moving day.

Another good idea is to keep a safe and comfortable space accessible to your pets. Whether you use a small room, closet, or even a bathroom or utility room, this should be a sanctuary for your pets to retreat to if the packing becomes too overwhelming. Likewise, you should prepare a welcoming space for your furry friends in their new home so they can be comfortable while all of the unpacking is done as well. Placing familiar items in a quiet spot should help them acclimate more easily. For pets who are especially anxious, you may want to arrange for a family member, friend, or trusted boarding facility to keep your pet safe until you are ready to introduce them to their new home.

During the moving process, doors will be opening and closing as people come and go rapidly. It’s important you keep your pet safe and secure with all the hustle and bustle. This may mean putting them in their sanctuary space as mentioned above, keeping them on leash, or putting them in a kennel if they are crate trained – anything that will prevent them from escaping and getting lost. It’s also important you do not leave a pet unattended in their new back yard until you are certain there are no holes or broken boards in the fence that may allow them to escape. In case your animal does get away, it’s important to ensure all of your contact information on their ID tags and with their microchip company is up to date. It’s also a good idea to have a current photo of your pet handy in case you need to make lost posters for them.

Another thing to prioritize is ensuring your new home is pet-ready and free of hazards before moving your furry friends. You should check and secure all windows, doors, screens, gates, and fencing. You should also make sure all vents have covers, check for any pest control traps or poisons left by the previous owners, and remove any plants in the yard that may be dangerous for your pet. If the property has a balcony or deck, take time to ensure your pet cannot squeeze through or jump over the railing.

When transporting your pet to their new home, it’s important they travel safely especially if the move will take a lot of time and cover lots of distance. The best way to ensure this is to either use a pet seatbelt or have them secured in a crate or carrier inside the vehicle. Make sure the seatbelt is fastened properly and ensure no loose boxes or objects can harm your pet in transport especially if you brake suddenly. It’s important to note that this should not be the first time your pet is placed in a crate or carrier. Familiarize them with their crate or carrier beforehand so they are comfortable with it and see it as a safe space. Lots of people use treats to encourage pets to go inside and/or reward the pet once they’ve gone in. This ensures they have a positive experience when inside, plus they will have a positive association with the crate or carrier overall. You may want to cover the carrier or cage with a loosely draped blanket to reduce visual stimulation (this is especially helpful for birds and pets with anxiety).

Owners who are worried about their pets’ stress or anxiety should talk to their veterinarian and schedule a check-up for all pets before the move. Not only can your vet counsel you on potential stress-reduction tactics or supplements and medications that may help reduce anxiety, they can also make sure your pet is healthy and up to date on their vaccines. You should also get copies of your animal’s medical records which will help when you introduce your pet to their new vet in their new city. Remember to research vaccine and parasite prevention requirements in your new city, especially if moving to a much warmer climate. What best protects pets in one region may differ in another. When in doubt, check in with your new veterinary clinic and provide them with your pet’s medical history. They’ll let you know if any additional tests or treatments need to be done to ensure your pet is protected against disease and parasites in that area.

If you are moving far away and plan to stop overnight, make sure you check for pet-friendly accommodations along the way. It’s also important to ask if pet-friendly places have any size or breed restrictions. The last thing you need during a stressful move is to discover you don’t have a place to sleep that welcomes your pet because they weigh too much or are unwelcome due to breed specific legislation in that area.

Speaking of legislation, make sure you inform yourself about any animal bylaws and other relevant pet laws when moving to a new city. This includes the amount of pets that are allowed in each home, leash requirements, and information about any breed or species that may or may not be legally permitted. If you are renting, you should also check with your landlord or property management company about any pet requirements for your lease. After all the stress of moving, you don’t want to be turned away because they won’t allow your companion animals.

Finally, the best way to ensure a smooth move for your pets is to make sure they are entertained and happy. An extra walk or play session could be the ticket to keeping them content. If you’re just too busy with the move, ask a friend to come take them for a walk or play with them in the yard. Doggy daycare or walking services are also a great way to let your pup exercise or escape your hectic household. Using brain games, puzzle feeders, or treat stuffed toys can also help distract and entertain them. To keep your pets’ stress levels to a minimum, make sure you stick to their routine as much as possible. Feed them at their usual times, ensure they get their regular walks and play time activities, and give them a little extra love and patience during the moving process.

Last modified: May 5, 2024