According to a survey published in Scientific American Mind, a whopping 90% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of their family. Therefore, it isn’t all too surprising that humans want to go the extra mile for their pet during a big move. The moving process and change of scenery can often be just as taxing for the furry, feathered, and scaled critters too – even if they aren’t the ones doing the legwork.
Plan, plan, plan
Pets are smarter than we give them credit for! Oftentimes when packing for a trip or re-arranging a home, cats and dogs catch on quickly and tend to endure stress induced by change and anticipation of owners leaving. This same concept can be magnified when packing up a home for a move. The stress that the animal is facing can sometimes affect their behavior in strange ways. When the surroundings that they are familiar with are changed and their environment becomes chaotic, they can act up. An animal that typically minds their distance may become more needy and present, where an animal that is often very affectionate may become more reclusive and hide. There are many ways to mentally prepare your animal for the big change. For starters, if they are an animal that is not usually transported, it can help to keep a crate, cage, kennel, etc. around the living space in the weeks leading up to the move. Spend some time helping the animal get accustomed to the transporting device, let them feel it out, and maybe try carrying them in it to see how they handle it.
If your move entails a lengthy drive, it helps to acclimate your pet to the car as well. This helps predominantly with dogs who aren’t used to being in the car. You can also ask your vet about medications to help with motion sickness for your pet if this is an issue. If it is a long drive, stop frequently so the pet can get exercise, food, and make a pit stop at the restroom.
Before you move, don’t forget to update the tag on your pet’s collar with your new place of residence and your phone number. Many owners utilize microchips so that the pet is entered into a pet recovery system. That way if your pet gets lost, you will be notified immediately. Sometimes, among all of the commotion of moving, animals can act up and run away from home. If absolutely anything were to happen, it’s important that the pet has an identifying factor that’s up to date. This is also a good time to do research on a new vet in the new neighborhood that you feel comfortable with.
A great way to prepare for the moving process is to create an overnight kit that will contain everything you’ll need through out the move. You can pack things like food, favorite toys, grooming tools, pet beds, medicine, litter, potty bags, and more.
The big day
The commotion of the actual moving day will be stressful for the pet. Open doors, moving furniture, a team of unfamiliar people and more can create a hectic environment for the animal. On the actual day, keep the animal in the quietest place possible- maybe a garage or laundry room – away from all of the noise. Check on them regularly and make sure they have food and water and are on the same routine as usual. Another good idea is to leave the animal with a friend for the day while you clear out your home.
The easiest way to transfer small animals is with a hard crate. When you’re packing the vehicle, ensure that there are no objects obstructing or covering the carrier so that there is ample breathing room for your pet.
If the move is local, it is much easier to move the house first, and the pet last. That way the pet enters the home with familiar objects of the last living space and isn’t in the way when the unpacking begins. Prior to introducing the pet to the new home for the first time, do a walk around the interior and (if applicable) exterior of the property to see if there are any unforeseen hazards for your pet before letting them roam free. These hazards could include anything from small construction pieces on the ground to holes in fences or dangerous obstacles. Once in the new home, try to adhere to their usual routine as much as possible – choose similar feeding times, walk times, etc.
Be patient as your pet adjust to the new surroundings!