Before the Move
1. Make sure that your new home is pet-friendly! This should be done before even deciding where you are moving to. You don’t want to get to your new home and then realize that pets aren’t allowed! When you find your pet-friendly home, make sure that you ask if there is a pet deposit. Nobody likes to be surprised with an extra bill they weren’t prepared for!
2. Find a veterinarian in your new town! Luckily we only moved down the street, so we get to continue using our awesome vet, but not everyone is as lucky. Ask your veterinarian if he or she might have any suggestions of reputable vets in your new area. Or if you know someone where you are moving that also has pets, get a recommendation from them as well. You will definitely want someone picked out before you arrive at your new home in case something happens upon your arrival. When you do find your new vet, call them and talk to them. Even send in your pet’s medical records. It’s always good to be as prepared as possible!
3. Update your pet’s tag and microchip! This is a step that some people might not think of doing until after the move, but creating a new tag with your new address and phone number BEFORE moving is important. You’ll then want to exchange your pet’s tag as soon as you leave your old home in case your pet gets lost in transit or even upon arrival to your new home. You’ll also want to make sure that you update your information on your pet’s microchip. Many people forget to do this when they move, which results in beloved lost pets getting turned into shelters, but the shelter being unable to contact the pet’s owner because the information on the chip is out of date.
4. If your pet is not used to being in a carrier, put him or her in one for a little bit every day! If you are moving a long distance, your pet should be traveling in a carrier. If he or she is not used to being in a carrier, traveling will be even more stressful for them than it already is. You want to do everything possible to make the move as stress-free as possible – for their sanity, as well as yours! Be sure to add a familiar toy or blanket in their carrier as well. Having one of their favorite things in the carrier with them will help to calm and comfort them.
5. Pack a separate bag for your pet! In the chaos of packing, moving, and unpacking, it is very easy for items to get “lost.” Having a separate bag or box with your pet’s food, water, bed, medications, and other essentials will eliminate the frantic searching when you arrive at your new home. You should also keep this bag/box with you while you’re traveling – your pet will need food and water on the road!
1. Keep your pets isolated! Moving day is such a chaotic one. Whether you hire professional movers or employ the help of your friends, there will be strangers, loud noises, and lots of activity, all of which can be scary and stressful for your pet. Combine that with doors constantly being opened and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. To prevent your pets from slipping outside in the hustle and bustle, keep them closed up in a separate room. Better yet, keep them in their carriers. Looking back on our moving day, I should have kept the cats in carriers. It would have made things easier when moving everything out of all of the rooms, and it would have given me peace of mind, knowing that the cats couldn’t have accidentally gotten let out of a room.
2. If you opt to shut your pets in a room rather than keep them in carriers, make sure that you educate your moving helpers about the pet situation! Be sure that everyone knows which room the pet is in so they don’t open the door and accidentally let your pet out. Keep reminding them too! If your moving helpers don’t have pets, chances are they won’t fully understand the imperativeness of being careful which doors they open. This was a problem that I ran into throughout the moving day, and believe me, it was stressing me out to no end.
3. When it comes time to move your pet, keep him or her in a carrier! I’ll be the first to admit that I hate putting my cats in carriers when I travel with them. They don’t like it one bit, and it breaks my heart to listen to them crying and trying to make a jail break. I would much rather have them in my lap or on my shoulders, and they would prefer that too. Unfortunately, that is an extremely unsafe way to travel. If something were to happen, your pet could be seriously injured, or he or she could jump out a window or door. Or if something spooked your pet while riding on your shoulders, he or she could jump and claw you, which could cause an accident. Not to mention, keeping your pet restrained in a carrier will prevent them from getting beneath your feet while driving. As you can see, there are so many hazards when traveling with free-roaming pets in the car. For the safety of your pets, yourself, and everyone else on the road, keep your pet in a carrier, regardless of how long or short your trip is.
4. When you arrive at your new home, check it for safety hazards and pet-proof it BEFORE bringing your pet inside! Make sure all the doors and windows are shut. Check the dryer vent and make sure that it is blocked, or hook your dryer up to it first thing. Remove any bug or mouse traps that might be hidden around. If there are any places you don’t want your pet to go, block them off.
5. Set up your pet’s food, water, bed, and other things before bringing your pet inside! Coming into a new home for the first time can be overwhelming for a pet. Having their food, bed, and favorite toy already out and set up will give them some comfort when they come in.
6. Relax! And know that your pet is probably going to hide or be a bit stand-offish for a little while. As stated before, moving can be scary, overwhelming, and stressful for a pet. Your pet, especially if it’s a cat, will probably find a hiding place immediately and stay there for a while. This is normal. Give him or her time to adjust and get comfortable with their new home. Running after them and fretting over them will only make things worse. Relax, and give them a chance to relax. And remember – a new home brings new hiding places which you might not find as easily as your pet did. One of my cats found a way to get inside the couch. I couldn’t find him for a long time, and I was so worried he had gotten out. I finally found him, but he didn’t come out for almost a whole 24 hours, not even for food. Even though I was nervous and worried, I knew that he would come out when he was ready. And he did. As long as you are aware of your pets and make their food and other necessities readily available to them, they will be just fine.
* If your pet does not eat for an extended period of time (2-3 days), you might want to contact your vet.
Have I left out an important tip to remember when moving with pets? Please add any other tips or advice you think are important in the comments below!