Moving is a big change for every member of the family, including the ones with fur, feathers, scales and tails. Animals are just as sensitive to change as people, and it can be hard to acclimate them to a new environment—you can’t exactly sit them down for a heart-to-heart conversation to answer their questions. And a stressed pet can become added anxiety on top of your load which, when moving, is already pretty significant. So how can you make sure every member of your family makes the transition without issue? Here are a few tips to get you started:
Preparing to move with pets
There’s a lot you can do to prepare with your pet before you even start moving, and a lot more you need to consider when it comes to packing, travel, and your new location.
Get the logistics in order. First things first, check, then double check that your new location allows pets if it’s a rental, condo, or apartment. You also want to make sure that it’s a good location for your pet. If you have a larger or more energetic animal, is there enough space for it to roam? If you have a complicated cage or habitat set up, will there be room for it? Will your furry friend be able to get enough exercise and open air? This includes preparing to pet-proof. If possible, do this before you even move in, but with a cross-country move or if someone else is currently occupying the space, you may not have full access until you get there for good. In that case, prepare and purchase all the necessary supplies so that you can make your new digs safe for your pet as soon as possible.
Do your research. Whether it’s in person, through friends, or through Google, get the names, numbers, and locations of places that you’ll need to help your pet stay happy and healthy. That could include everything from pet stores to groomers to kennels, and, of course, a good vet.
Get your pet travel trained. Traveling with pets can be a struggle depending on what kind of animal you have, how far you have to go, and how you’re choosing to travel. If you’re taking a carrier on a long car ride or plane trip, start by keeping your pet in for shorter periods of time. Make sure they’re comfortable with the space. If you’re traveling by plane, be sure to ask the airline about pet travel requirements too. And you’ll likely need a copy of your pet’s veterinarian records in your carry-on luggage.
How to Handle Moving Day
No matter how prepared you are, moving day is always hectic, and a panicked or skittish animal will only make your day more difficult. Here are a few ways you can ensure their comfort—and yours—on the big day.
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.
Keep them away during the move
Keep your pet away from the action. If your pet is particularly skittish, the best option may be to keep them at a kennel or with a trusted friend or relative during the moving process itself. Not only will this put them in a situation they’re more comfortable with, but it also gives you one less thing to worry about. If that’s not possible, try to keep the move quite and keep your furry friend away from the hubbub. This could mean emptying a bedroom on another floor and closing the door, or putting them in their carrier or kennel in the garage or car (after, of course, taking precautions to ensure they have the space, resources, and temperature control necessary for the day). Wherever they are, make sure sure you check in on them regularly, and try to feed or walk them at the time you usually would; having some sense of a routine in the midst of all the changes will help a lot.
Move the house before the pet. Your pet should be the last thing you move into your home if possible. Set up as much as you can, even just in a room, before you introduce the animal to the new home. That way, they only have to deal with a big change once; they won’t be caught in the chaos of the move while you’re setting up and organising. Even if you have to keep them in a section of the house while they adjust to their surroundings, make sure they have something consistent. And always supplement with lots of love, attention, and their favorite treats and toys to train them that this change is a good one.
The following items may help
- Collar and ID tags. If your pet can wear a collar, put one on and attach an ID tag. (For birds, put the tag on a leg band.) The tag should include the pet’s name, your name, and the destination address and your number.
- Pets with microchips are entered into a pet recovery system so if your pet gets loose, you’ll be contacted once it’s found. If your pet was purchased from a breeder, pet store, or shelter it likely already has a microchip.
- Keep a photograph of your pet so you can show your new neighbors what your pet looks like if it gets lost.
- Keep a chain and leash for your dog to keep them in your new yard if you have to wait for a fence to be built. Pack a spare in case your pet breaks the leash.
- Pet carriers. If you’re traveling by airplane, any pet in the cabin must be in a pet carrier. In a car, some pets are less stressed in a carrier rather than on the loose. To find out more about pet carriers click here.
Acclimating Your Pet
Remember, once you’ve moved there’s still work to be done. Just like you have to get used to your new location—to make your house a home—you need to do the same for your pet. It can be frustrating, and it may take a while, but soon your pet will feel just as at home as you do. Here are some ways to hopefully speed up that process.
Update their info. The first thing you should do after moving is update their info. That means potentially getting new tags, updating microchips, and making sure your new vet has all the correct information. If you haven’t already found and talked to a vet, do that ASAP because you never know when you’re going to need one, and that’s the last place you want to be caught unprepared.
Keep A Routine. This can be hard, especially because you may not even have a routine worked out for yourself yet, but it’s so important to making an animal feel comfortable. You have to remember that they don’t understand what’s going on the same way you do, which makes it all the more stressful. Most animals are creatures of habit, and making this new place resemble the old one as much as possible will help them adapt.
Give Them Loads of Attention. Affection and treats can help reassure your pet that everything is OK. You can even take some time off work, or, if you’re moving for a new job, consider negotiating a delayed start. This not only benefits you, because moving is stressful on people as well, but also provides more together time as your pet settles in.
Be Patient. Last but not least, remember that it takes time. This is a big change for the whole family, you and Fido both. Be patient with your pet, as this may take a few weeks. If your pet still hasn’t calmed down then, you may want to meet with a specialist or a veterinarian to see if there’s anything else you can do to make your pet feel at home. But in most cases, with extra love and attention, your pet friend will be peeing on hydrants, marking your new neighbourhood as their own in no time.
Let Elite Handle The Rest
Elite Moving and Storage may not be able to move your four-legged friend (unless those four legs are on a chair or table) but that doesn’t mean we’re not here for the whole family. With over a decade and a half of experience in the moving industry, we have the experience and expertise to get you moved quickly, easily, and safely. Whether it’s local or long distance, moving heavy furniture or fragile, delicate items, Elite can handle it. Visit our website now to request a quote for free.