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Moving With Pets: Keeping Animals Safe and Stress-Free

Did you know that one of the top reasons that people decide to rehome their pets, or leave them at a shelter, is because they’re moving?

It’s sad, but true. It may be because a new landlord doesn’t allow pets, for example, or your roommate has allergies, or the new space just isn’t appropriate for any furry friends. About five percent of pets never make it to the new home with their owners, and get left behind.

But for most of us, moving without our pets is simply not an option. And we want to do it with as little stress to our favorite pets as possible. So, here are some tips for moving your pet to your new home.

Before Your Move

You wouldn’t leave town or change living situations without thinking about your loved ones, would you? Your pets are part of your family, so make sure you consider their needs as you decide where you’re going, what kind of space you want to live in, and who else will share that space with you.

If it’s possible for you to do so, make sure your pet is part of your moving equation from the very beginning. Don’t rent an apartment that doesn’t allow cats. If you have a big dog, try to search out a house with a yard. If you answer a Craigslist ad for a new roommate, be upfront about your pets’ importance to you. Check state and local laws for licensing and other ordinances that may apply to your situation.

Research Pet Travel Options for Your Move

Will you be flying? Driving? Will you take your animals with you, or count on a family member to bring them up a few weeks later? Maybe an animal relocation service will have the charge of your pet for a while? You have many options when it comes to traveling with a pet. How you choose to transport them may have to do with your comfort level, and that of your pets.

If you’re traveling by plane, check with your airline about specific policies regarding pets – and get tickets well in advance. If you’re driving, remember to find out if restaurants and hotels along your route are pet-friendly. If not, you may have to make contingency plans. And, if you’re moving to a new country, know about quarantine rules getting your pet in and out.

Plan Your Pet’s Transition

Individual animals react to changes in environment differently. Cats, especially, are tied to locations and habit. We don’t socialize them the same way we do with dogs. So, when it comes to a move, they may need special attention. Acclimate your animals to the idea of a move.

Obtain a hard-sided pet carrier and put them inside for a few minutes more each day with a toy, to acclimate them and make them think the carrier is a place of safety. Take them out for rides if they’re not used to that. Confine them, or send them to a kennel on the day the movers come if they are stressed out by change. Keep them away from moving chaos, and don’t pick them up until you’re ready to go.

Pack Their Things for the Move

Make sure to have your pets’ medical information on hand. Pack a bag for each animal, with their favorite toys inside. You will also want to take a pet first aid kit, food and water (as water conditions will change from state to state), doggie bags, or a litter box. Have I.D. tags made up with your cell phone number and new address, just in case. Smaller animals will also need hard-sided carriers.

Consider having fish shipped for safety. If you have a good aquarium store nearby, have your fish put into bags with extra oxygen for the move. If your pet is a bad traveler, visit your vet for potential medical solutions. You may want a pre-move checkup to refill prescriptions or transfer records.

Things To Remember While Traveling for A Move

Keep all animals restrained. A dog can be held with a leash or harness, but cats and smaller animals should be placed inside hard-sided carriers with some breathing room. Not only does this allow for safe driving without worrying about animals getting in the way, it helps prevent escapes by stressed-out pets.

Birds, guinea pigs and other small animals are especially prone to moving-day nerves and changes in environment, so this is not the time to let them run loose. Animals can get car sick and disoriented by movement, so keep that in mind. Keep extra towels in the car for accidents. Cover carriers, especially for the first few hours of the drive, to prevent overstimulation. Remember that in hotels and strange places, cats will want to hide immediately.

After You Move In

When you get to your new residence, go in and inspect the house before you let your pets out. Find potential hiding places, and locate and get rid of any hazards (leftover mouse traps). Ideally, you’ll wait until your furniture is placed before your animals leave the carriers. That way, they will come out to some familiar sights.

Release your pets into one room first, let them adjust, and allow them more freedom. Keep things consistent, the way you did in your previous home, so your pets know to expect the same rules and the same behavior. You know your pet best, so watch for any signalers of anxiety, fear, or illness. Locate your resources, such a new vet, dog parks, and your emergency vets, so you know where to go from the start if anything happens. Also, if your pet is microchipped, update that information.

Give your pets some time, and they’ll be back to ruling the roost in no time. And for your move, consider the experts here at Elite Moving & Storage. We know the industry and we offer complete moving services. If you’re moving in Chicago, from Chicago, or to Chicago, we have the knowhow because we’re a local company. We’re also the best movers in town! Contact us today so we can help you.