Moving can be stressful and overwhelming for everyone in the family, and that includes your companion animals. Most pet owners hate the thought of their beloved pet getting hurt or feeling scared during a move, but fortunately there are several tips and guidelines that can help make the transition smoother for both you and your animals.
Before the Move
Make a list of things your pet will need during the move (like food, a water bowl, leash, crate, or carrier) and remember not to pack them away.
Make sure your pet is updated on shots and that you have an adequate supply of any medication they require. This way, if you have trouble finding a vet after your move, you’ll know that your pet has what they need to get by in the meantime. Ideally, you want to have a new vet in mind before you move, but when relocating to a new home, many people are so busy with settling in that finding a new veterinarian falls by the wayside.
Ask your current vet if he or she would recommend sedatives to calm your animal friend’s nerves during the move. Some dogs and cats can get flustered or panicky in cars or planes, but a mild sedative can soothe them and prevent motion sickness.
If your dog or cat will need to be in a crate during travel, start putting it in its crate for short periods of time beforehand so it’s already comfortable with it when moving day arrives.
If traveling by plane, check the airline’s regulations on bringing pets. Some smaller animals can travel in the cabin if they fit in a carrier under the seat, but larger animals must travel in the cargo.
During the Move
Do not let animals roam free while the movers are loading up your belongings. Keep pets in their crate or a closed off room. This keeps movers safe and prevents your pet from accidentally slipping out of the yard.
Have an emergency veterinarian number on hand in case anything comes up while traveling.
Do not put animals in the cargo area of a moving van or truck. They can slide around or heavy items can fall on them. The truck also might not be a safe temperature for animals, especially during extremely hot or cold seasons. It’s best to have your animal in a crate with you in your personal moving vehicle.
Arriving at Your New Home
New surroundings can be overwhelming and upsetting for animals, especially cats. To help them slowly acclimate to their new environment, don’t let animals roam free in the whole house at first. Start them off in just one room or floor and slowly open up other rooms to them. Put familiar items like toys, blankets, or beds near them so they feel at home.
If you have an outdoor pet, make sure the yard is safe and clear of any debris or sharp objects hidden in the grass.
Even though you’ll be focused on unpacking and setting up bills, be sure to set aside some time to visit and play with your pet. Your attention and love can help them feel relaxed and happy in their new environment.
Remember, it may take some time before your animal loves your new home as much as you do. During the transition, they may act more skittish or cranky than usual. However, with the proper care they will eventually adapt and be back to the happy, healthy pet you know and love.