It’s no secret that the stress of moving impacts everyone around us – including our furriest loved ones! This week’s blog extends our commitment to making every transition easier for every member of your family as we explore less-stress solutions for moving with pets. Just as we struggle with change, our animals do too – and while we may not feel in control, they have even less power and potential to prepare for the challenges that come with moving.
***Your feedback is always welcome – so if you have any tips for moving with pets, please feel free to share!
#1: Consider the new surroundings. There may be features of your old home that your pets cherish – that would be best replicated if possible in your new one! Cats LOVE vertical space, so moving to a home with stairs and bringing that 5-foot cat condo with you may be a true win. Dogs on the other hand, especially older ones, need quick, easy outdoor access – so stairs or higher-level apartments can present unforeseen challenges that are best addressed before move-in.
#2: Arrive with ease. Chances are you will need to drive your pet to the new home; whether a 10-minute or 10-hour drive, it will feel equally stressful for your pet if they are unaccustomed to car travel. The ASPCA recommends building a positive association with any crate or carrier you plan to use, with the use of treats, favorite toys and playtime after crate handling. Practice won’t make perfect… but it will make it bearable – so try using the carrier around the house or for short drives around the block prior to moving day.
#3: Clues, cues and the animal blues. Pets will nearly always detect the change in the physical surroundings and in your emotional cues as soon as the move preparation begins. The closet clean-out, the arrival of boxes, the shriek of packing tape – your pets will sense that change is coming. Stay positive, keep to routines as closely as you can and try to pack your pet’s belongings last to keep them grounded in familiarity.
#4: Think…slumber party! Pack an overnight bag for your pet with enough food for 2 days, plus any favorite blankets, toys and treats. Keep this bag with you, rather than with the movers, so that you have access to everything you need when you need it for Fido!
#5: Move the house before the pet. When possible, moving your pet once your belongings have arrived (and maybe even settled!) is preferable. The less chaos upon arrival, the less stress your pet will feel. Start by introducing them to one room at a time so they can slowly adjust to the layout, the noises and the functionality of the new place.
BONUS TIP: Beware of wandering. The first few days and even weeks will be the most critical in terms of your pet wandering off. Exploration of the new home can lead them towards doors…and getting lost in a new neighborhood is even worse than getting lost in a familiar one!