Moving can be an extraordinary pain even without added complications — but when you have to take a couple of animals with no understanding of what you’re doing or why, the problems will quickly compound faster than you’re able to figure out why your furry companions are getting upset. Confused and angry pets can create all kinds of havoc on a move — even if it’s only to the next block over.
Fortunately, there are some measures you can take during each step of the moving process to increase the chances of the move going more smoothly. And if you love your pet as much as I do (you know, the type of person who treats them more like family than pet, buys them the best food, utilizes the best pet insurance, and makes sure all their toys are free of toxins), then you want to make sure this move goes as easy on your pet as possible.
Before You Start Packing
- If you know where you’re going, and it’s only a few hours away (or less), take your pets to visit the place before you move in.
- Give them a chance to sniff around, get acquainted with the terrain and the house itself.
- Keep them on a tight leash of course. Pets are always at risk to get scared and run away when they are in an unfamiliar place.
- By and large, give the pets an hour or so just to get themselves familiar with their new environment.
- If you are making a longer move to a new area where you will not have the same veterinarian, take the pets in for a medical checkup before leaving and make sure they are healthy and all their shots are up to date.
- Get fresh ID tags with your new address and put them on all of your pets. If they manage to escape along the way, you want them sent to the right place.
When You Start Packing
The day the real hardcore change-the-entire-look-of-the-house packing begins, set a room aside for your pets and keep them in there while you pack everything up. Dogs can usually be kept in a fenced in area outdoors, but cats are generally better left indoors.
- For shorter trips, you want to stop for about 5 minutes every hour and a half to allow your pet the opportunity to move around a bit, potty, and have a snack.
- For longer trips, give the pets a 30 minute break every six hours or so.
- For the safety and protection of your animals, take pictures of them the day you travel. Unfortunately, it is all too common for pets to disappear while travelling or shortly after moving into a new dwelling. Having recent photos is a good emergency measure to take in the event of this worst case scenario.
- This may sound crazy to some, but it sometimes helps to talk to the pets while travelling and tell them what’s going on. They might not understand your words, but they’ll be comforted by your attention and attitude.
- After you arrive at your destination, set up your animal’s favorite stuff in a new ‘saferoom’, and move them in first.
- Arrange to be able to stay with your pets for the first 24 hours and keep a close eye on them.
- Establish a new routine of feeding, sleeping, going potty, etc. as quickly as you can — it’ll help your pets adapt to the new surroundings.
- If possible, try to make their new routine similar to the old one. Don’t coddle them too much. This essentially rewards their fear, which is not good for them in the long run.
If you are moving to a new area, head over to the local veterinarian once you’re settled and introduce them to your pets. It is always good for the new vet to have your pets’ information on file as soon as possible in case the pets have a need for medical treatment. Making sure you have a vet that accepts your dog insurance for your pup will ensure you always have access to good veterinary care should any health issues arise.
If you follow these tips, your move should go relatively smoothly for your pets for what might otherwise be confusing for them. Making them feel comfortable, but also displaying confidence will ensure they are not panicked during the move, which will be the best way to keep them happy as you move into your new home.
Photo credit: mikebaird on flickr— About the Guest Author Rob Toledo is an avid dog lover and encourages considering adopting from a shelter for your next pet. He resides in Seattle where he hopes to one day own at least 10 dogs.