The chaos that comes with a move is hard enough on humans, so it's no surprise that pets who don't understand what's going on can get stressed as they watch their world get packed up box by box. But you can take a few proactive steps to minimize their moving-related stress and lessen the emotional and physical upset to everyone in the family, four-legged members included. Before the Move
Handling a few particulars and getting your pet in the right frame of mind can make all the difference in the success of your move. Here are a few tips to prepare your cats or dogs for the upcoming event:
- Make sure your pets' identification tags are up-to-date with your current contact information. If they're not microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about having them chipped. Once your address permanently changes, be sure to update your info again.
- Acclimate your pets to their carriers or crates, so it won't be so a completely new experience on moving day. Keep the crate in an accessible place in your home, so your pet can nap, play, or eat there. Associating the carrier with positive experiences will remove a lot of the "where am I going?" fear.
- Take pets for short car rides in the carrier, especially if they're not already used to road trips. If possible, visit the new home so it's familiar on moving day. Follow it up with treats and lots of play or cuddle time, to further associate good feelings with carrier trips.
- If your pets tend to get carsick, talk to your veterinarian ahead of time to obtain any appropriate medications and advice. Consider renewing or taking out a pet insurance policy, because if you end up having an emergency with your cat or dog during your move, the last thing you want to worry about is a hefty bill from your veterinarian. Pet insurance lets you to focus on helping your furry friend recover, rather than the financial stress that comes with medical bills.
If you need overnight accommodations for your upcoming move, check out pet friendly hotels
for information on spots that happily serve both animals and humans.
On the Big Day
It's easy to overlook pet-related needs with so much else going on. Take these steps to keep your furry friends and their well-being top of mind on moving day:
- If possible, send pets to a friend or family member's home where they will be more comfortable. Otherwise, keep them in a quiet room with the doors closed. Stock it with the necessary supplies, like food, water, toys, and a litter box. Place a sign on the door so movers and residents are aware of its occupants.
- Stick to your pets' normal routine as much as possible. Set timers to remind yourself when to feed and walk them.
- During travel, keep pets crated or leashed at all times for their own safety.
After the Move
An adjustment period is normal for pets following major events like a move. In the days and weeks following relocation, be aware of your pet’s needs and overall health.
Allow pets to safely explore the sights and smells of your new home. For cats, it’s often a good idea to start small, letting them check out one room at a time and gradually opening the rest of the home over the next few days. It may help pets become more acclimated if they see familiar items at the new home.
Also, watch for physical manifestations of stress in animals. Signs are similar in both cats and dogs, and include decreased appetite, excessive sleepiness, digestive problems, inappropriate elimination (going to the bathroom inside), and aggression toward other animals or people. Talk to your veterinarian if these or any other unusual symptoms arise.
By taking care to consider everyone's needs, you and your pets will soon be able to enjoy life in your new home as one big, happy, furry family.