10 Tips for Moving with Pets

Moving to a new home can be a very exciting time in your life, but it can also be very stressful. All your family members involved in the move feel a little bit more anxious, and this includes your four-legged family members as well. Your pets can become agitated with all of the hectic activity in the home and with the confusion that often accompanies the transition. Although there is no way to guarantee a completely stress-free move, there are several steps you can take to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that your pets remain as calm and comfortable as possible.
1. Do your research.
While house-hunting, verify that any homes that peak your interest and their surrounding areas are suitable for your pet. If you are moving to an apartment building, make sure you find one that is pet-friendly. If you’re moving into a house, look for one with enough space in the backyard for your pet to run around. It’s also a good idea to locate nearby dog parks, walking trails, and paths that will make life more enjoyable for you and your pet.
2. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Before you move, your pet should receive a health check from the vet to confirm that they are well enough to handle the move. It will also provide you with the chance to ask the vet if he or she can recommend another vet in your new neighbourhood if you’re moving out of the area. Remember to ask for your pet’s records and any prescriptions you need to fill out for them before you move. If your pet requires any shots, it’s wise to get them before you move in case it takes some time to find a vet in your new neighbourhood.
3. Have your pet groomed.
Before you move into a new home, you probably want your pets to smell like new as well. You’ll have enough to worry about without the added worry that your dirty pet is running around the house. You should consider getting their nails and fur trimmed to avoid any scratches and heavy shedding on new furniture. It’s also nice to have a fresh, clean pet for the car ride during the move.
4. Keep your pet in a quiet area during the move.
With all of the frenzy that often accompanies moving day, it’s normal for your pet to become a little anxious. The best way to reduce stress on an animal when you’re moving is to keep it in a quiet area while all of the packing and transporting is occurring. Think about leaving pets with a friend or in a kennel during this time. If you prefer to keep them at home, let them stay in an empty bedroom or another quiet area away from all of the action. They will feel much more comfortable in a safe, quiet space.
5. Move the house before you move the pet.
It’s not a good idea to take your pet with you in the car or moving van each time you have to go to the new house. Travelling back and forth will only contribute to your animal’s stress and anxiety. Instead, move everything you can and set up the basics in your new house. When you’re ready to move in with your pet, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions for the car ride to the new house. Even if your pets are normally well-behaved during car rides, their behaviour may be more erratic and unpredictable during the move. If you have a cat, it should be confined to a carrier covered with a light sheet so it’s less startled by its rapidly moving surroundings. If you have a dog, make sure it is restrained properly with a safety harness attached to the seat belt.
6. Give the house a full inspection.
Before you let your pet run around in your new house, inspect it for any hidden dangers. Check for open windows, holes behind cabinets and large appliances, hidden mousetraps, or anything else that looks potentially dangerous for your pet.
7. Prepare a special moving kit for your pet.
During the car ride, you’ll want to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. If you have a kit prepared with its favourite food, toys, and treats, it will be easier for you to ensure their comfort. It will also ease the transition to the new home if you don’t have to go rummaging through boxes when you can’t find what your pet needs. It’s also wise to pack some extra towels in the kit in the event of any accidents during the ride.
8. Place familiar objects in familiar places.
Take the time to set things up in a way that is similar to your previous house. For example, if your pet’s water and food dishes were always in the kitchen, put them in the kitchen in the new house as well. If your cat’s litterbox was previously in a bathroom, don’t suddenly move it to the laundry room. This will help ease your pet’s stress during the first few days of the move. It may take weeks for your animal to feel comfortable so it’s best to avoid changing where its necessities are placed until that time arrives.
9. Update tags and microchip information.
Once you’ve moved, make sure you update your pet’s identification tags and microchip with your new address and phone number. Pets can get lost very easily in an unfamiliar neighbourhood so it’s important to take the necessary steps to make certain that they can be returned to you safely.
10. Take precaution when you arrive in your new neighbourhood.
Although you may think you know your pet’s behaviour thoroughly, they can become very unpredictable during the move from a familiar environment to a completely new one. Don’t assume that because you let your dog walk beside you without a leash in your old neighbourhood, you will be able to do the same thing in your new one. Your pet may react in unexpected ways; it may run away from you or be unfriendly towards strangers because its surroundings are confusing and unfamiliar. Even the most docile pets may react in uncharacteristic ways so it’s best to keep your dog on a leash and your cat indoors while they adjust to their new surroundings.
Using these tips as your guide will help your pet have a more comfortable transition from one home to another. Because animals can feed off of your stress, remember to try and stay calm and attend to your pet’s needs. Check on them often during the move and look for any signs of anxiety so that you can ease their tension before it escalates. With adequate planning and preparation, you can help ensure that the move to your new home is an enjoyable experience for you and your furry companions.

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