Help Your Pets Make the Big Move
Pet lovers know that our furry, scaly, and feathery friends like routines as much as people do. Animals are tuned into our schedules and our emotions. When we’re moving house, pets can sense that something is up. They may even exhibit some symptoms of anxiety. We can’t tell Fluffy that we’re moving to a new home, but there are some things we can do to help pets feel secure during the big transition. Before the Move Keep up your pets’ schedules As much as possible, try to keep your pets’ schedules as normal as possible. Having their regular feeding, exercise, and play times can help pets feel secure, even if change is afoot. Introduce moving boxes Your pets will be experiencing a lot of new things in the coming weeks. Spread out some of that newness by letting them get used to a few things first. Set up some moving boxes for your pets to explore. Put a few flat moving boxes in several rooms, just to let them get used to the scent. Set up pet carriers If you’ll be using a carrier for transport, take it out a few weeks ahead of time. Put some favorite toys inside along with a cozy blanket. You can give treats for going in the carrier, so your pet will have positive associations with it. Take a drive If you’ll be driving your pet to your new home, make sure moving day isn’t their only experience with car rides. Small dogs and cats should travel in an appropriate carrier. Cats especially feel more secure with a blanket draped over the carrier. Larger dogs should use a seatbelt harness when riding in the car. The more experience your pet has riding in the car, the less traumatic a moving day ride will be. Give attention Be sure to spend a little time each day giving your pet attention. If you regularly snuggle with your cat on the couch, try not to abandon that time. You’ll both benefit from the bonding time. If you allow your pup to sleep at the foot of your bed, stick with it. Have an overnight bag Pack a bag that has everything you need for a night or two for your pet. Include food, water, bowls, treats, leashes, pet-waste bags, and toys. Make sure you have enough prescription medication for your pets to last through the first couple of weeks. Speak with your vet Check in with your veterinarian ahead of your move. They can make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and prescribe medication to prevent motion sickness. Your vet may have suggestions for helping your pet stay calm during travel. During the Move The first order of business---make sure your pets don’t run away! Think about moving day from your pet’s point of view. The house has been topsy-turvy, routines are out of whack, and now there are strangers all over the place. The front door is open every few moments, and the great outdoors are looking pretty good right about then. Don’t give your pets the chance to bolt. Keep your cats and dogs behind a closed door with a few of their toys and a litter box. Double-check that any caged animals are fully secured. Pets will feel most secure away from the hubbub of moving. If your pets sleep in a pet bed, keep that in the room. Grab it at the last minute when you bring your pets to the car. Be prepared---some animals throw up when they’re nervous. Be sure to check in every so often to make sure nobody has gotten sick---or needs to go outside. Arriving at Your New Place You may think that after a long journey, your pets will be dying to roam around their new home. A couple of cautions:
- Be careful when you first arrive. Even before you are out of the car, double check that your pets are securely confined. You don’t want your pets running out of the car into unfamiliar surroundings.
- If you are arriving when the movers are there, observe the same precautions as before--keeping pets away from the open door, staying in one room, etc.
- Your pets could feel overwhelmed in your new home. It may help them to be limited to a smaller area of the home at first.
- You’ll want to check that there are no pet hazards in the new space. Look carefully on bathrooms floors for dropped medications and any chemicals left behind in cabinets or closets. Look along baseboards for pest bait or traps that could harm your pet.
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