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April 20, 2021
Whether you’re moving across town or the country, it can be a pretty overwhelming process. There are numerous things to consider, such as packing your belongings, finding movers, renting a moving van, setting up utilities in your new home, and learning the lay of the land in your new neighborhood. These are only just a sprinkling of everything you have to think about, and when you’re moving with pets, it adds a whole other series of to-dos to your list.
Before you start the process of moving, it will help things go a lot more smoothly if you get all your ducks (and dogs and cats) in a row first. The last thing you want is to be halfway across the country and realize you’ve forgotten an important step or aren’t sure about various essential factors regarding your pets.
One of the most critical things to do before moving to a new place is learning any rules and restrictions regarding pets. For example, if you’re moving into an apartment or other community-living style complex, make sure that it allows pets. If it does, know the guidelines, such as the size and weight of allowed animals and any breeds not accepted.
Homeowners associations might also have their own rules regarding pets, and even various counties could have certain breed restrictions in place. Basically, just be sure to familiarize yourself with any pet rules before you get too far into the process.
Depending on where you’re moving to, you may be required to show proof of your pet’s current vaccinations and other pertinent health records. If you’re moving far enough that you’ll need to establish new relationships with professionals like groomers, trainers, and a veterinarian, you’ll also need these records. Plus, your new vet will also want a detailed history of your pet’s current health.
Taking the time to gather all this information together ahead of time will save you a lot of stress. Plus, it will be handy to have your pet’s current shot records within easy reach during your actual move.
Moving means a lot of packing, including all your pet’s belongings (which can be quite a lot of stuff). However, if you start the packing process a few weeks before moving day, you can’t very well stow away all your pet’s things since they’ll still need them. Therefore, start gathering your pet’s belongings into one location, and the closer it gets to moving day, start packing away non-essentials, like extra toys, backup medications, etc.
A few days before your trip, keep priority items to the side, such as pet food, non-tip bowls, medications, your pal’s favorite toys, a towel or blanket, leash and waste bags, and other vital supplies. You’ll use these to prepare a pet-friendly travel kit. It should also include some basic pet first-aid items, your vet’s phone number, current pics of your pet (just in case), and wipes or paper towels for clean-up during your travels.
Consider your pet’s personality when it comes to potentially stressful situations. If your dog or cat is the anxious type, discuss some options with your vet ahead of time to help your furry friend handle the move a little better. Your vet might recommend certain calming sprays or supplements and suggest some special techniques you can start practicing with your pet to prepare them for the move. For example, if you plan to transport your pet in a crate, start getting them acclimated to the crate a few weeks before your move so you can take it slow and steady.
Traveling with your pet comes with all sorts of ups and downs, and sometimes your pal might love it and other times not so much. It’s important to be realistic with how your pet handles travel and plan accordingly. For example, if your dog loves riding in the car, then perhaps all you need to do is ensure you get a proper car harness to keep your pal safe during the journey. Then, just be prepared to make enough stops along the way for potty breaks, etc.
However, if your pal gets overly stressed with long car rides, it might be better to arrange to have your pet fly with you to your new home. You need to check special restrictions and guidelines for the airline first, as each airline has its own set of rules for approved carriers, where your pet can travel, and other criteria. If you’re facing some significant challenges getting your pet to your new home, you could also consider working with a professional pet relocation agency.
Get to know the lay of the land (pet-wise) of your new home ahead of time, not when you get there. In other words, scope out the local dog parks, boarding facilities, potential groomers, find a new vet, etc. Check out any pet-friendly restaurants or shops around and get to know the neighborhood from a pet perspective.
Planning ahead will go a long way in making moving day a lot less stressful. Still, there are some extra points to keep in mind to help the big day go as calmly as possible, like having lots of tasty treats ready (for you and your pup).
Add extra time into your travels for taking adequate breaks along your journey to let your pet blow off steam, have a potty break, eat and drink, and stretch. It’s good for you too! If you’re flying with your pet, make sure you let them have ample time for exercise and have them use the potty before boarding the plane. Bring some of your pet’s favorite treats along for a distraction, as well as some engaging and fun toys like the Rolly Cannoli or the Neat-Lik Mat that can help keep your pal occupied.
It’s no secret that on moving day you’ll likely be a bit preoccupied, so if possible, appoint someone to be your honorary pet-parent for the day. If your pet can perhaps join you a few days after the move (more likely if you’re just moving to a new house across town instead of in a different state), then it could be beneficial for someone to take care of your pal for a couple of days while you get settled in your new digs.
Once you and your companion arrive at your new place, it’s time to start settling in together. Here are a few things to do upon your arrival, so everyone stays safe and happy.
You have to take some time to adjust to your new environment, and your pet does too. Therefore, when you arrive at your new home-sweet-home, let your pal explore (after a potty break, of course). Your fur baby will want to sniff around and investigate their new surroundings, both inside and outside. When exploring in the yard, it’s a good idea to keep your cat on a leash, at least for the first week or so (and your dog, too, if your yard isn’t fenced-in).
Create a safe zone for your dog or cat somewhere in your new home that is just for them. Depending on how much space you have, it could be a small nook or corner or an entire room. Basically, it needs to have your pal’s favorite things and be a place where your pet can go when they’re feeling stressed or anxious. It can help them feel safe and secure, which will help them adjust more quickly to their new environment.
Of course, it’s essential that you take some time right away to pet-proof your home. Ensure your pet has limited access while you’re setting up your things and unpacking. Also, keep any potentially toxic plants out of your house and garden, and don’t leave doors or windows open while you’re moving items in and out (unless you have your pet safely secured elsewhere).
Keeping these 12 pointers in mind when planning a move with your pets can help a stressful situation be much more calm and pleasant. For more tips on handling life as a pet parent, check out the rest of our blog! You’ll find all sorts of helpful insight and interesting resources. In the meantime, get packing, and don’t forget the treats.
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