Moving, no matter how awesome your new home will be, is always very stressful. For your pet, it might be the most stressful experience they’ll have in their lives. Luckily, there are a few things you can do in advance when moving with your pet. Hopefully, these tricks will make the process easier for both you and your furry friend.
Before moving with your pet
- Double-check that your new apartment is pet-friendly. Never assume this, but always check with the landlord. This will save you a lot of headache in the future. If you are moving with a dog, check the surroundings of your new apartment. Do they provide a good environment for your daily walks?
- Allow your cat time to get used to their carrier. You can leave it sitting out with the door open so your cat can explore it.
- Let your pet get used to the moving boxes before starting to pack them so your pet gets used to their presence. Make sure your cat is not hiding inside one of the boxes when packing them!
- Schedule an appointment with your vet and get your pet’s vet records and vaccination certificates. You might need those documents when travelling, especially if you are flying.
- If there are vaccinations your pet needs to get, now is a good time to get them as it may take a while to find a new vet in your new hometown.
- If you are travelling longer distances, you might want to get sedatives for your pet. Most of those are quite mild so instead of knocking your pet out cold, they calm them down and take the edge off. Discuss the dosages with the vet.
- Get your pet’s prescriptions refilled and if your pet has a special diet, buy their specific food beforehand. With everything else going on, you don’t want to spend time looking for a pet store first thing in your new hometown.
- If you are flying, make the reservation directly with the airline. Sometimes the booking sites you use may not have all the information and details about flying with a pet. Some airlines might also ask you to deliver some vet records beforehand so ask about that, too.
- Dogs and cats might shed more when they’re stressed. It might be a good idea to groom them before moving to protect your car’s interior and your new home.
When moving with your pet
- On your moving day, there is a lot going on. Boxes scattered, furniture in disarray, people coming and going, doors opening and closing. The stress, confusion and miscommunication can cause your pet to flee and resist to come to you. It might be a good idea to board your pet to a pet sitter’s care for a few days and pick them up right before you are ready to hit the road. If you don’t board your pet, it might be best to keep them in one room out of foot traffic. Place a sign on the door and tell people not to open the door.
- If you are driving, research your route. You can use rest stops to take a break and play some catch and play or tug-of-war with your dog. (Don’t let them off the leash, though!)
- If you have towels or sheets you are considering throwing away, you can use them in your cat’s carrier as a bedding. Even if your cat pees on them, you can simply toss them away after the trip.
- If you are staying somewhere overnight — which might be a good idea — make sure you book a pet-friendly hotel. Again, make the reservation directly with the hotel. Online reservations usually allow you to attach a note with your reservation but they not always read. Ensure your pet is welcomed.
- Improve your pet’s spirits during this stressful time. Pamper them, play with them, give them treats and take them for walks. It is not unheard of for pets to refuse food and water when stressed so keep an eye on them. You can encourage them to eat by offering them their favourite foods.
After moving with your pet
- Make sure your apartment is safe before letting your pet inside. There might be harmful things left by the previous owner, such as broken glass, wires, and so on. Make sure the doors and windows are closed before letting your pet explore their new surroundings. Do the same thing if your new home has a yard.
- Lay out familiar items like bed and toys and take the time to play with your pet.
- Routines are important for your pet so feed and walk your pet at the same time as you would normally.
- If your pet is micro-chipped, update your information to the database.
- It might be a good idea to have a “home-base” for your cat where they can eat, drink and use their litter box. When your cat starts to explore their new home, reward them with attention. Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep it permanently. When your cat has settled in, you can remove the litter box from their “home-base”.