Tips for Moving With Your Pets
Moving day comes with its share of stresses — packing up all of your belongings, transporting the moving truck and then, just when it seems like you’re done, realizing you have to unpack it all. But when you have pets in tow, too, there’s a slew of other things 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.
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There are several things pet owners need to consider pre-move, moving day and post-move — whether it’s in-town or cross-country. Here are a few tips on how to pack up your pets properly.
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. Firstly, 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 records. This will be necessary should you have to go to the vet along the way, and is also good to have on you when you see a local vet. Also be sure, prior to moving day, according to the Humane Society, that your pets have updated ID tags.
Protect your pet from fleas and ticks: If you’re moving out of state, remember that different states 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. Check out the flea activity in your new location; Weather.com is one source of this info. And regardless, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your animal’s veterinarian about flea prevention pre-move, just in case.
Find more helpful tips and tricks in the Allstate Moving Center.
On Moving Day
Predict pet stress: Before the movers arrive or 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. And when you stop for a bathroom break, take your leashed dog out for a walk and a drink of fresh water, too. If you are transporting a cat, be sure to show him or her where the litter box is and offer some food and water at stops, too, the Humane Society says.
Locate pet-friendly hotels in advance. For a long-distance move, book 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 “den” — which should include their favorite toys, familiar blankets, treats, water and food bowls, and a litter box for cats, Harris says. When they seem comfortable, gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut, the ASPCA suggests.
Keep the routine consistent: At your new home, keep feeding and walk times the same as they were at your previous home. “Getting your dog back to his regular schedule as quickly as possible should be the goal,” Harris says. “Dogs are very adaptable to new situations but thrive on a consistent, predictable routine.”
If moving stress persists, increase walks: If you’re able to, up the amount of walks your dog takes daily to decrease stress. And if you can’t, research dog walkers or day cares in your new neighborhood, Harris says. “Your dog may be more comfortable with the new move if someone comes in to walk him during the day,” Harris says. “For young dogs or dogs with high energy, doggy day care may be helpful to keep your dog’s stress level down.”
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.