People love to own pets, and with good reason. Pets are wonderful. However, when it comes to making a move, no one can cause problems quite like your four-legged friend.
That’s because pets really, truly do not like change. It makes them anxious. It can freak them out. That’s the reason behind the non-stop barking or the fact you can’t find your cat because she’s hidden so well.
There are ways to make moving with pets easier, but you must plan ahead. It’s worth it, though, for both the well-being of your beloved pet and the sanity of you and your family.
Preparing Pets For a Move
This is where the real work gets done. If you prepare your cat or dog for the move, you have a much better chance of things running smoothly. The key is to think like they do (as much as that is possible!).
For cats, it’s best to get a pet carrier. Even if it’s a relatively short move, the cat will travel much more safely inside a carrier. If you’ve never used a carrier before, make sure to mark out some time to get your cat used to being in one. Make the experience a good one by putting blankets and treats inside the carrier and leaving the door open.
The next step in preparation: place your cat in the carrier and take her for a ride. You can start with short rides and gradually build up to longer ones. Basically, you are trying to get your cat used to the sights, sounds and smells of traveling in the car while in the carrier. This should hopefully lessen her anxiety.
For dogs, allow them to sniff around while you pack up the house. That will make them at least slightly less nervous than if you isolated them in a room alone while you pack.
If you can, bring your dog to your new house before you move and let him sniff around the yard. Take him for a walk up and down the street. Dogs learn a place through smell, so doing this should also lessen anxiety. It should also lessen the amount of barking you hear once you’re there permanently, which is good for you and your relationship with your new neighbors.
During the Move
During the move day itself, it’s ideal if you have a friend or family member who can watch your dog while you make the move. The same for cats, although it’s somewhat easier to use the carrier with them if they must be around for the move.
Keep Things Normal
As much as you can, try to keep your pets schedule as close to normal as possible. Like kids, pets do better when they are kept on a schedule. You can help the situation by packing a little bit every day, rather than doing it all at once over one day or weekend. Also, keep the food and bowls stored in the same place and keep the meal schedule the same (and the walk schedule for the dogs).
Talk To The Vet, Take Medical Records
Well before the move, make sure to contact your pet’s veterinarian. They can offer tips specifically tailored for your pet, since they know them. They may suggest medication or behavior modification techniques that will lessen your pet’s stress. You’ll also want to get a copy of your pet’s medical records to show to the new vet once you get settled in your new place.
Get a New Vet
When looking for a new vet, make sure to check with your current vet. They may have a recommendation for a good vet in your new area. Make an appointment with the new vet as soon as possible when you move.
Change Your Address
Most local governments require that you register your pet. You’ll want to do that right away. Also, get pet collars with tags that have your new address on them. And if you have a microchip for your pet, make sure to change the home information associated with the chip.
Pet Proofing New Home
Remember to have your new home ready for your pet. While you already know this stuff, it’s good to have a reminder during the hectic weeks leading up to a move. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends you pet proof homes by:
- Tucking away electrical cords
- Plugging nooks where your pet could get stuck
- Making sure that all windows have secure screens
- Removing any poisonous houseplants
- Confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house.
Much like humans, pets quickly become accustomed to new surroundings. By taking the time to plan and take care of important pet-related issues, you can make the move itself much less traumatic for your little four-legged friend.