As you get ready to move, you’ll probably start thinking about how to safely get your furry friends to your new place — whether it’s across town or across the country. Moving with pets can be stressful for them and for you. Making sure they’re comfortable before and during the move, and that they can acclimate to their new home, will help ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible. Read on for 7 tips on how to move with pets.
Get them used to the carrier. If you’re going to be using a carrier to move your pet or pets, start getting Fido or Fluffy used to the carrier well in advance of the move. Many animals hate their carrier because it only comes out during stressful events like vet visits. Place the carrier out in the open with the door open so that your pet can go in and out as they wish. Place a dirty T-shirt or something that smells like you inside the carrier so it smells and feels safe. You might even pick the carrier up and carry your pet, or go for a short drive. As your pet acclimates to the carrier, they will get more comfortable in it, which will make moving day easier.
Talk to your vet. Ask your vet if there are any special considerations for moving with your pet. Some animals, such as birds and guinea pigs, are very sensitive to changes and travel. Your vet may recommend a mild sedative for a long move, especially by car. If you are traveling by plane, talk to your vet about potential risks.
Give them some space. If at all possible, keep your pet away from the busy-ness of the actual move. On moving day, set up a safe, relatively quiet place for your pet. This will help keep them from getting agitated by all the activity and noise — or, even worse, bolting out of an open door.
Move them when you move. Your pet should not move before you do. It might be tempting to take them on the first trip to the new house, so that they can settle in before the boxes and furniture start coming in. But if you look at this from your pet’s point of view, you will see it differently. They are likely to be frightened in a new place, and having it be an empty house or apartment without their human will make it even more terrifying. Take your pet with you when you are ready to make the move — with your last load from your old place, for example.
Let them ride with you. If you are using your own vehicle for the move, take your pet with you. This gives the pet the comfort of knowing that you are going to the new place with them, and reassures them that they are not being abandoned. You can also talk to and comfort your pet on the ride as needed.
Set up a moving kit. Everything gets lost when you move, at least for a little while. Take time to place your pet’s essentials — a day’s worth of food, some treats, any medications, a favorite toy, and food and water dishes — in a box or bag that will ride with you when you take your pet. That way you have everything you need to help your furry friend feel safe and at home without having to go digging through endless boxes.
Set up a space for them at the new home. Just as your pet needed space during the moving-out process, they will need space during the moving-in process. Before you bring your pet to the new home, set up a space just for them. A bathroom works well, or a back bedroom that won’t be a site of heavy activity. For cats, set up a clean litter box. For all pets, set up any bedding, food, water, and comfort items. Again, leave an item that smells like you in the space. Place your pet in a secure location when you arrive. Allow your pet to explore the space and be comfortable. Allow your pet to use this as their home base in the new home so they have a safe place to return to when exploring.
Give them time. Some pets adjust quickly to a new space, while others take more time. Give your pet space and time. Let them explore the new home at their own pace. If they want to hide, let them hide! Know that your pet will adjust to their new home and be comfortable soon — and it will be all the sooner if you let the animal set the pace.