Moving day is stressful. There are boxes everywhere. Paperwork needs signed. Movers need paid. And at some point you need to find your toothbrush before you head to your home closing.
But as stressed as you may feel, that’s nothing compared to what your pets are going through.
Pets can become very anxious during the moving process. Dogs and cats can get skittish, sure, but even parrots, fish, and guinea pigs have a hard time with the jostle of moving. You treat your pets like family every other day of the year. Don’t forget about them on moving day.
Here are ten important tips for making your move stress-free for your pets.
Prepare Your Pet for the Move
You’ve been planning this move since you landed that new job, landed that engagement ring, finally finished saving for a downpayment—whatever your situation might be. But Mr. Whiskers has no idea what your intentions are. We’re not necessarily going to recommend that you sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your cat (we all know cats aren’t great with feelings), but there are ways you can prepare your pets for the big day.
1. If you’re moving out of the area, inform your vet and arrange to have any pet records or prescriptions transferred. Your current vet may also be able to recommend a trusted veterinarian in your new town.
2. Have your pets microchipped and/or fitted with collars and ID tags. Make sure your cell phone number is on the tag or chip, as well as your new address if possible.
3. Gradually get your pet used to the idea that the house will be moving. Bring in boxes several days before you start packing to prevent a big shock. If your pet isn’t used to the crate or the car, work on acclimating them to those environments, as well.
Prepare Yourself for Your Pet’s Move
Make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for your pet’s moving process, too. The last thing you’ll want after a long day of loading boxes and being on the road is to lose Fido’s favorite chew toy or be turned away from a roadside motel that doesn’t allow dogs.
4. Research your new community. States, municipalities, and housing communities all have different rules for pets. For instance, the city of Raleigh requires permits of all residents who keep bees, fowl, or livestock, including goats, horses, ponies, and exotic pets.
5. Prepare a “travel kit” for your pet, similar to your own overnight bag. Make sure you have enough food, litter, toys, and grooming tools to keep your pet comfortable during the first few days of unpacking.
6. For long-distance moves, identify pet-friendly hotels along the way and place your reservations ahead of time. Stop regularly for potty breaks, as anxiety can upset your pet’s sensitive tummy.
Moving Day with Your Pet
It’s finally time! Grab Godzilla’s travel kit and the extra-hot-extra-shot latte you know Karen loves. It’s the least you can do for your BFF who agreed to watch your pet bearded dragon even though he gives her the heebie jeebies.
7. If at all possible, board your pet or leave it with a friend on moving day (and on closing day). If you prefer to keep your pet with you, put it in a quiet, closed room and check on it regularly. Your pet will benefit from being out of the action, and your movers won’t mind, either.
8. Take your pet to your new home in your personal vehicle. Make sure carriers are strapped in well and that pets are properly leashed when getting out of the car at the new home, as they can get easily lost if they escape.
9. Move the house before you move your pet. Set up as much as you can with f familiar furniture and toys, even if it’s just in one room, and give your pet a personal tour. Make sure they understand that this is their new home, too.
10. Pet-proof your new home. As you finish moving in furniture and boxes, confine your pet to one room as their “home base.” Before you introduce them to more rooms throughout the first few days, tuck away electrical cords, make sure window screens are secure, and watch out for nooks and crannies where your pet could get stuck.
Are You Ready for Moving Day?
Moving your pets without putting them under stress is very important. But it’s just one piece of a much larger process. Review this Moving Day Calendar Checklist to help you plan for the big day.
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