Tips for Moving With Your Pets
Moving day can come with a lot of stress — packing up all of your belongings, transporting everything to a new place and then, just when it seems like you’re done, realizing you have to unpack it all. When you have pets in tow, too, there’s even more to think about — getting them safely to their new digs, maintaining their routine as much as possible and getting them used to their new environment.
There are several things pet owners may want to consider during this process — whether you’re moving across town or cross-country. Here are a few tips for moving your pets.
Before the Move
Be Sure Your New Place is Pet-Friendly
One of the top reasons people give up their dogs and cats is due to a move, according to a study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. You’ll want to be sure your new home allows pets, and then think about your specific pet’s needs, such as a yard, minimal stairs (depending on your pet’s physical needs or abilities), a safe neighborhood and places for cats to perch, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). “It’s also worth noting pet-friendly areas in the neighborhood, such as dog parks, shops and restaurants,” says Joan Harris, director of training and canine behavior for PAWS Chicago. “This is always a good indicator that the neighborhood is welcoming and open to your four-legged companion.”
Grab Your Pet’s Records
Before transporting your pet, you’ll want to be sure you have a copy of his or her medical records, including current medications and proof of vaccinations, says the American Medical Veterinarian Association (AMVA). This may be helpful should you have to go to the vet along the way, and it’s also good information to have on hand when you see a vet near your new home. American Humane recommends that your pets have updated ID tags prior to the move, and, if your pet is microchipped, be sure to update that information as well, says AMVA.
Protect Your Pet from Fleas and Ticks
If you’re moving to a new state or region, remember that different areas have different flea and tick concerns. Depending on the state’s weather conditions and humidity, fleas and ticks can be a greater threat than you and your dog are used to. While these parasites can be an issue year-round, check this map from the American Kennel Club to see when they are most active near your new home. It’s probably a good idea to talk to your animal’s veterinarian about flea prevention pre-move, just in case. The ASPCA also notes that basic yard care, such as mowing the lawn, raking up leaves and removing tall weeds, may help keep fleas and ticks away from your property and pet.
On Moving Day
Reduce Pet Stress
Before you start loading boxes into the moving truck, put your pets in a quiet room with the door shut. This will ensure that your cat or dog won’t get scared and try to make a speedy dash for the door while the truck is being loaded, the ASPCA suggests.
Plan for the Road Trip
If you plan on driving your furry friends, make frequent pit stops. When you stop for a bathroom break, American Humane says you should also give your pet a potty break and a drink of fresh water — be sure to keep your pet on a leash while they are out of the car. While driving, pets should be secured in a well-ventilated carrier or in the back seat with a harness attached to the seat belt, says the ASPCA.
Locate Pet-Friendly Hotels in Advance
For a long-distance move, American Humane recommends booking a reservation at a pet-friendly hotel along your route. Some major hotel chains offer pet-friendly accommodations — a quick online search can help you find a place to stay along your route.
After the Move
Let Your Pets Adjust One Room at a Time
Get them off to a good start by allowing them to adjust to one room — their “home base” — which should include their favorite toys, familiar blankets, treats, water and food bowls, and a litter box for cats, the ASPCA says. When they seem comfortable in that space, the ASPCA suggests gradually introducing them to other rooms in the house while still keeping some doors shut.
Keep the Routine Consistent
At your new home, keep feeding and walk times the same as they were at your previous home, says CesarsWay.com. Stick to the routine and maintain the same rules and boundaries your pet is accustomed to. Even if you’ve moved time zones, CesarsWay.com recommends getting back on the schedule as soon as possible. For example, if your pet has always had breakfast at 7 a.m., feed them at that time even if your pet feels like it’s 9 a.m.
Uprooting your life and the life of your pet can be stressful, but it can also be exciting. Cover all of your pet-relocating bases — from pre-move to post-move — and you and your pet will be thriving in your new home in no time.
Originally published on March 12, 2015.