While moving into a new home is exciting, it is also a stressful process, especially for pets. Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country, here is our guide for making moving day easy and stress-free for all, including your furry friends. It is very important to organize a smooth move that keeps your pets safe and happy.
Preparing for the Move:
While you can't shield your pet from disturbing changes in your household routines before a move, you can pack all your pet's items last. Toys, bedding, treats and other comfort items will provide a sense of security and comfort that your pets need during this stressful time.
Keep your pet's daily schedule as much as possible:
Your schedule is not likely to remain persistent in the days leading up to a big move, but that does not mean that you can't give your pet the gift of consistency right up to moving day. Even if you are not personally available to complete all the daily routines with your pet, you should find a way to make sure that your pet's daily schedule remains consistent in bedtime and naps, mealtime and exercise.
If your dog is comfortable with early morning walks, they will notice if you suddenly start putting them in the backyard alone instead. Late meals, loud activity that takes away from their sleep or a lack of exercise may lead to changed behavior. You can hire a dog walker if you are unavailable to walk your dog every day.
Look for signs of stress so that you can comfort your pet when needed:
It is common for dogs to lose control of their urine, display shallow breathing or change their facial expressions when stressed out or nervous. They may also start digging holes in the backyard or trying to escape, and you may catch them scratching at the furniture or using the restroom inside the house. They might walk with their tail in an unusual position. Cats can display almost the same behaviors when they are stressed out, so watch for any behavior that is unusual for your pet. Respond by calming your pet and spending a little time petting their fur or cuddling on the couch. You may put your dog at ease by playing a round of fetch or by placing them in a quiet, familiar area of the house that is (far apart from others) from activities connected with the move. Collect animal supplies needed to keep your pet comfortable during the trip:
Several items include medications, if needed, disinfectant wipes, clean-up bags, leash, metal crate or carriers, water, containers to hold snack and meals and first-aid kit.
Ask your veterinarian for tips and guidelines.
No one knows how your pet may respond to the stress of a long move better than the vet. Schedule an appointment and ask the following questions:
- Can moving irritate any of my pet's medical issues?
- Is my pet in good enough health to safely handle this trip?
- What can I do to comfort my pet while traveling?
- Do you recommend using any medicine or other products to comfort my pet before, during or after our trip?
- Can you recommend a good vet in our new neighborhood?
During the Move:
Once you hit the road, you need to make sure the ride is as smooth as possible for everyone involved, including your beloved pets. Make sure your pets remain in carrier or crate and have water dispenser so that they do not dehydrate. Riding in a car can cause a pet anxiety—and carsickness. Toys and other comfort items will assure your pet that they are safe during the travel and may reduce the amount of whining and barking while on the road.
With dogs you must stop every couple of hours to take them out. Let them take a break, relax and exercise.
If your trip is going to take more than one day, make sure that you booked a room at a pet-friendly hotel.
When going into restaurants or gas stations, remember that you can’t leave your pet in a car when it is extremely hot or cold weather for more than 5-10 minutes.
After the Move:
Once you made it to your new home it’s time to settle in and get everyone back into a normal routine. Establish a safe retreat for your pet. It should be a quiet, warm area where they can go when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Place all their belongings and toys in this area and introduce your pet to the space.
It will take some time for pets to get used to the new house and finally feel comfortable. Be patient and give them some time to explore. Try to spend a bit more time than usually with your pet every day, show them your love and care. Letting pets sleep in the same room with you and keep familiar items around the house may help reduce their stress.
Use our guide to prepare your pets for a comfortable move!