We love our pets. In some households they're our "children." In others they are dear members of the family. How can you make the stressful time of moving an easy transition for your furry friends?
Pets are routined creatures, not unlike their human counterparts. Unlike our independent selves, however, pets look to us to provide them with safety, affection, and nourishment. This means it is our responsibility to plan ahead so that moving time is low stress for our pets.
First, plan ahead for the days when you are loading moving vans and house doors are likely to be open. This is not the time to be chasing Fido down the street or to lose a kitty with no time to spare.
Enlist the help of either a friend or relative that can act as a pet sitter. If your pet is used to boarding at a kennel then consider letting them stay there for the day or night. Sometimes neither of these options are possible. In this case it is important to keep a pet closed up in one room, crated, or carefully fenced in the backyard while movers are going in and out.
Next, keep routines consistent. Most animals have set times during which they eat and take potty breaks. It's a good idea to keep on the same schedule. This means taking your dog on walks in the morning or afternoon, even if you're busy. As an added bonus, this walk can act as your own stress reliever as well!
Keep food consistent as well by planning ahead. Some animals require special prescription veterinary diets. Be sure to stock up at your local vet's office before leaving town. There's no guarantee that vets in your new city will carry the same brand. You don't want to deal with a hunger strike.
While you're at the vets office get all your animals up-to-date on any vaccinations. Get records or prescriptions for your new vet's office. Consider microchipping your pet in case they wander or get lost during the move. If you don't want to microchip them be sure to update their tags with new phone numbers or addresses.
Sometimes moving means packing up and driving across states or the whole country. This can be tiring for everyone involved. Pack a pet care pack which includes things such as a water dish, treats, a bag of food, blanket or towel, leash, and travel litter (for kitties going long distances). Your vet may have other recommendations as well.
Once you arrive at your new home, hurry and set up their "go to" areas. It might be a good idea to isolate them in a bedroom or bathroom where you can keep them contained as you unload your belongings. Set up water, food, a bed, and a litter box if needed. Spend a few minutes with them to reassure them everything is okay. Check on them often.
Moving is a very stressful time. By planning ahead and taking a few compassionate steps you can help your pets transition to their new home with ease and excitement.