Moving isn’t just stressful for you, it can be stressful for your pets as well. They can easily get stressed out when there’s unexpected activity in their home or when they’re introduced to a new environment. You understand what is going on, but they don’t, therefore their anxiety is much higher during this time. Many pets have an instinctive fear of a new environment. Pre-planning will help minimize problems and make for a smoother transition.
PREPARE AN OVERNIGHT KIT Prepare an easily-accessible ‘overnight kit’ that has enough dog food, kitty litter, toys, and grooming tools to sustain your pet and keep them comfortable during the first few days of unpacking.
CONTACT YOUR VET If you’re moving out of the area, inform your vet so you can take records and any prescription medications with you. See if they can recommend another vet in your new neighborhood.
KEEP YOUR PETS AWAY FROM THE ACTION During the move itself, the best way to reduce stress on an animal is to keep them in the quietest area possible. It would be best to leave them with a friend or in a kennel for the day. If this isn’t possible, clear out an area where they won’t be disturbed for the day and make them comfortable.
TAKE YOUR PET IN YOUR VEHICLE Take the pet to the new house in your own vehicle. Cats and small dogs can be put in a carrier in the back seat, which can then be secured with a seat belt. A bigger dog can be moved in a kennel in the back of the car; you may need to put seats down if possible. Some animals feel more comfortable if you throw a blanket over their carrier during the car ride, so they can’t see the environment changing outside. Don’t let them out until you get into the house. If they get loose, they may get lost not knowing their surroundings.
SETTLING IN When you arrive at your new home at the end of your long journey, it will be tempting to set your dog or cat loose in the house to explore. However, a new and unfamiliar space can be overwhelming to your pets.
· Start by allowing them to adjust to one room—their “home base”—which should include their favorite toys, treats, water and food bowls, and a litter box for cats.
· Try to keep things in a similar location as they were in your previous residence – for example, food and water dish by the back door, litter box in the bathroom, etc (make this room their “home base” to start)
· When they seem comfortable, gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut.
UPDATE THEIR INFO
After you move, make sure you update their tags and/or microchip information to the new address and phone number.
With patience, your cat or dog will be king or queen of your new home in no time. Snuggle up while both of you enjoy your new space!