Moving can be hard on everyone involved, even your pets. While your pet may not understand what is going on, they can sense the stress that their humans are going through. Add to that the fact that animals are creatures of habit and do not like changes in their routines, and it is understandable why a move can make your pet confused and agitated.
Pets also become anxious when they see their human family suddenly busily throwing everything around them into boxes. As pet owners, we always want to keep our pets happy and healthy because we love them; however, we also want to keep them calm, to avoid adding additional stress to an already chaotic time.
Animals are just like people, can behave rather badly when under stress; there is a lot we can do to help them our pets feel secure throughout every stage of the moving process.
Below are some tips, gathered from industry experts, on how to reduce the amount of stress that our pets are going to experience during a move, and we can we alleviate the unavoidable disruption to their daily routine.
During the Packing Process
Try to keep your pet’s daily routine as close to normal as possible. Adhering to the usual feeding, exercise, and bedtime schedule is essential.
When packing, leave your pet’s belongings out as long as possible. Try to allow your pet continued access to their same food dishes, litter box, pet bed, and toys right up until moving day.
Lessen the chances of there being any feline “mistakes” by keeping your cat’s litter box in the usual spot, right up until you load him into the car – or until you confine him to a “transition room,” which we will describe shortly.
Leave some empty packing boxes open on the floor for your pet to explore. Allowing your pet to familiarize himself with the sights and smells of these strange objects will prevent him from being afraid of them.
On Moving Day
Try to remove your pets from the house before you start your physical move. Allowing your pets to roam free in a chaotic home, where the door is open, and humans are too busy to notice them slip out, is a recipe for disaster and heartbreak.
If you can’t remove your pets beforehand, select an empty room with a door to safely keep them for the day. Place their food and water, as well as their various supplies in the room with them. Many pets are comforted by the drone of a radio, which may also help muffle some of the loud and unsettling noises that come from moving heavy furniture and boxes.
Be sure that your pet’s collar has an identification tag if they manage to escape during the chaos of moving day. To avoid possible injury to your cat, always use a breakaway collar. Although many pets today are micro-chipped, having your pet wear a collar is still a good idea, as not many people have the technology to read the chip.
While in transit to the new home, cats should be placed in a cat carrier on the floor of the back seat. Dogs should be properly restrained in the backseat or rear of the vehicle in a secured crate or be locked into a dog seat belt. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. While the temperature may seem tolerable to you, animals overheat very quickly.
Make sure that you have your pet’s dishes, food, leash, toys, bedding, litter box, and any medications in the car with you before you set off. Providing consistency for your pet is crucial, so when you arrive at your new home, set up your pet’s things in the spots where you intend on keeping them.
Introducing Your Pet to their New Home
Before releasing your dog into his new backyard, do a thorough safety check for any possible dangers or escape routes. Look for any potentially hazardous things that your pet may try to eat and be mindful that the neighbors may have a dog of their own that may not be too happy to see their new animal neighbor.
After taking a good look around, leave a large bowl of water for your pet. Spend some quality time just sitting in the backyard with him.
Cats, on the other hand, should remain indoors. Studies report that inside cats enjoy a much longer lifespan than cats who are allowed to roam outside. If your cat has been allowed outdoors in his old home, now is an opportunity to break him of this habit. If you keep your cat indoors from the get-go in the new home, he will not have the chance to establish his own turf outside and will view the inside of his new house as his new kingdom.
Upon first arriving in your new home, select a room with a door for your cat to use as her “transition room.” Place an extra litter box, food and water dishes, toys, and bedding inside with your cat. After a couple of days, when things have generally calmed down, leave the door open and allow your cat to explore when it suits him. Allow your cat the use of the room for another 2 or 3 days while she becomes more confident in her new surroundings.
Tips for Small Pets
Birds, Lizards, Rabbits and other small animals are easier to move than more traditional pets, as they are used to being housed in a cage, or at least are accustomed to regularly spending the majority of their day in a cage.
Before beginning the journey to their new home, small pets should be placed into their carige or carrier. Place a lightweight cloth over your pet’s cage and ensure comfortable airflow to help to keep him calm during the car ride.
Leave some food and fresh water in the cage with your pet for the journey. Most small animals do well with a water dispenser attached to the side of the cage. As with larger animals, remember to bring your pet’s supply of food, feeding dishes, and any medications with you in the car.Also, small animals overheat even faster than large animals, so never leave your small pets unattended in a vehicle.
For more detailed information on how to make moving easier on your pets or if your pet requires special care, please contact your veterinarian for advice before beginning a move.