If you think moving is stressful for humans, imagine what it’s like for pets. At least you know what’s happening and where you’re going! For pets, it just feels like a crisis.
Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, there are some great ways to make that move easier on your pet—not to mention your movers and yourself. Here are some of our best tips for moving with pets.
Know the law
Most states have laws on the books that affect who can move which pets and under what circumstances. Some places, like Hawaii, have very specific requirements; if you don’t fulfill them, your pet will have to stay in quarantine. Other states will inspect health certificates at the state line. Find out in advance so there are no surprises, and be prepared.
Know your future community
Many localities and HOAs have rules restricting dog breeds or banning them outright. Don’t be blindsided by these kinds of regulations; research this carefully in advance, even if you think nothing like that could apply to your dog. Believe it or not, more than 100 different kinds of dogs have restrictions of some kind on them somewhere in the US.
Visit the vet
Schedule a good visit before you move. Make sure your pet is healthy, and get a health certificate that proves it. You may also need proof of rabies vaccination. Additionally, be sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations required in your new town. Ask for motion sickness medication if your pet needs it. Finally, if you’re leaving town, ask for a referral in your new location.
Cats especially (and some anxious dogs) get nervous when you pack. Try to confine your packing to one area at a time, and keep your pets in another area.
Don’t launder their bed or blankets
Naturally, you don’t want to move dirty old dog beds or blankets, but don’t wash them before you move! Those smells are a source of comfort for your pet during the move, and they also help them settle in.
Go bag for pets
Pack your moving go bag for your pets. It should be an overnight bag with food, litter, toys, blankets, grooming items, medication, a portable water dish, and anything else your pet might need for the moving day and first night.
Road trip right
If your move is long-distance, find pet-friendly hotels along the way in advance. Always reserve rooms ahead of time if you can. Remember that your pet needs frequent breaks for water, and to go potty, so let them walk around a little every time you stop, and avoid marathon sessions without stopping.
Pet-proof your new place
Before you introduce your pet to the new home, remove poisonous plants, secure electrical cords, and close windows. Look for pest traps and other hazards that could have been left behind.
Day care or down time for day moves
If you’re moving in one day, consider checking your pets into a day care facility so they can avoid the trauma and stress (and not be under foot). If this isn’t an option, keep them in as quiet a space as you can find. They need to feel secure and relaxed, so visit them when you can. Above all, keep the pets out of the way of movers! This can be a dangerous situation for everyone involved.
Take your car
If you have a car and it’s coming with you, it’s best for you to bring your pet in the car with you. You can strap kennels in with seatbelts, or strap in larger dogs with harnesses. If your animal is very nervous, cover their crate with a sheet or blanket to minimize stimuli.
Take care in the old neighborhood
As you move your pets out of the old neighborhood, watch out! If they get loose, they may bolt and get lost. Never open the crate until you’re safely inside your new home.
Move your pet last
First, take care of the rest of the move. This is important for a few reasons. It allows you to get everything moved in without worrying about your pet getting out of the new house. It also allows you to bring your pet home to surroundings that feel somewhat familiar. This is why it’s ideal to have your pets in a day care or staying with a friend until the physical move is done.
Introduce your new home slowly
When you bring your pet into the new space, choose one smaller room first. Make sure their comfort objects are in that room. Let them adjust to that room and slowly branch out from there.
Update their ID details
Remember to change the details on your pets’ tags, and to change the information associated with their microchips. Ideally, change this either right when you get to the new place, or just before you leave.
Be careful with fish
Moving is extremely hard on fish, especially those that live in very delicate salt-water environments. Moves can be traumatic, and even fatal in many cases. Consider rehoming your fish, and if you can’t, make special arrangements to transport them in their existing water, and to be sure that their tank is ready on the other end.
Make sure if you have birds that they are secure in a cage during a move, even if you typically don’t cage them. They will be traumatized and stressed, and may fly when they wouldn’t under normal circumstances.
Keep small rodents cozy
Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and ferrets do best in a move when they’re placed in very small and cozy carriers. Keep them warm and comfortable, and cover their carrier with a blanket if they seem too stressed—especially in the car.
Remember to get excited
Congratulations on your new home! There’s a lot to manage anytime you move, especially when you’re moving with pets. However, with some planning and foresight, your move can be less stressful for all of your family members, even of the furry, feathered, and fishy varieties. If you’re hoping to make your move easier and save some money, leave some of that old furniture behind and explore your furniture rental options instead. At Fashion Furniture, we can help you create the perfect look and feel for your new home at the right price.