moving with pets

Important Tips for Moving with Pets

moving with pets

Moving your family to a new home, especially far away, is a stressful endeavor. If you are moving with pets, the move can be even more complicated. Dogs and cats can get just as upset about such a big change just the same way you or your children might.

Moving with Cats and Dogs: How to Handle Your Pet During the Actual Move

Prepare a box just for them and make sure it is in your car. This can include their favorite toys, treats, and bedding. It should also include their regular food and any dishes you may need to serve food and water. When moving with cats, this will also include litter and a pan, even if it is a temporary one.

Before your move, get advice from your vet.  Get any recommended medications that can help with anxiety and stress. However, when moving a cat or dog, don’t give the medications too early.  You don’t want the meds to wear off when you are only halfway down the road.

On the day of the move, it helps to keep your animal friend isolated from the actual move. You may close them off in a bathroom and check on them regularly. The noise and extra people will make them nervous, and you don’t want to risk them running away.  If possible, you can place them at a trusted friend’s house. While this may still cause anxiety, it won’t be as extreme as having their home seemingly invaded and stripped of its contents.

If the move is local, you can move your pet in the same way you would if you took it to the vet. This may or may not include a carrier.  However, if it is longer than 20 or 30 minutes, it is advisable to put them in a carrier. If a dog is too big, it helps to have a pet seatbelt. If someone can sit with the pet in the backseat, this will go a long way toward comforting their anxieties.

The ASPCA recommends taking the animal for rides in the car in the carrier ahead of the big day.  This will help make the actual car trip seem more normal to them.

If you have pets that don’t get along, don’t add to their stress by putting them in close quarters. For instance, when moving a cat that hates the dog, you should secure the cat in a separate room and try to keep them apart as much as possible even when moving them in your personal vehicle. This can be a trick, but it will be worth it not to add anger on top of the anxiety. 

More Moving With Dogs and Cats Tips: How to Get Your Pet Settled After a Move

When you arrive, don’t take your dog out of the car and into the house and/or let a cat out of its carrier until you are prepared to deal with it. New surroundings tend to bring out fear and anxiety. That can lead to hiding or running away. That’s, of course, the main thing you are trying to avoid when moving with dogs or cats.

Just as you did when you were moving out, cloister your dog in one room.  You want them to feel safe, and you want to be sure they can’t get out and potentially find an open, exterior door.  Be aware that, unlike in the home they were familiar with, dogs may fall back on old habits such as chewing on furniture or urinating on the carpet.  If this worries you, be especially vigilant about checking on them.  If you have time, installing a camera that is relayed to your watch might help.

This is when your moving kit will come in handy, especially when moving with a dog. You can take out your favorite bedding, offer a treat, and fill up a food bowl.  Even if your dog won’t eat, just knowing it’s nearby will help calm them.

Cats may be different. They may not care about anything you try to give them. When moving with cats, you may want to start them out in a small room such as a bathroom that connects to your bedroom.  After the move is over, you can allow them in your bedroom, but keep the door closed. Cats need time to adjust to big changes like a move. 

If it is a cat, keeping it indoors and slowly introducing it to the outdoors is the only way to be sure it won’t run away. You may want to try a special cat halter and leash. 

Obviously, if you are moving with a dog, you should keep it on a leash throughout the process. Even after that, taking it for walks around the neighborhood on its leash will help it establish where home is. Even if you have a fenced-in area, don’t let the dog run free unless you are there to watch them. It is possible with any dog that they can find their way out.

If you are moving dogs or cats that have ID chips, be sure to find out how to update the address.  On the off chance that a pet does get away, you’ll find many lost pet resources in this article. 

Moving With Pets Other Than Cats and Dogs

With fish, it is advisable not to move them a long distance.  Even a short distance can be so traumatizing that they can die from the experience.  If possible, you could give your fish to friends or family and plan on getting new ones in your new locale.

Hamsters and gerbils can be moved in their cages. However, the cages should be secured and monitored. Rodents will find a way out if they can. Putting the cage into an open box may ease the animal’s anxiety during the active part of its move. You’ll want their cages to be as clean as possible so plan on a good clean the day before.  

Guinea pigs and rabbits are more sensitive than small rodents. They need to be moved in the back seat in a carrier. Remind children that a small animal can get away and hide under the seats in your car, causing a problem right when the driver needs some peace and tranquility!

Check out this Video for More Tips

You might be surprised just how many products are out there for your pets. There are many that can reduce your pet’s stress during the move. For example, this video by the Humane Society shows the thunder shirt. This can swaddle your pet and help give them reassurance during this difficult time.  There are lots of different versions on the market. Be sure to get the right size/weight class. It’s important that the vest fits comfortably for the optimal effect.

They’ll also show you a special diffuser that can be used to help calm your animal. Who knew that a calming smell could be just as helpful to your dog or cat as it is to you!? There are also special collars for moving with cats or dogs that they talk about. This just might be the alternative that you are looking for.

Check out the video below for tips on how to move your pets safely and comfortably. The Humane Society has good advice that just might save your big day.

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