Obviously this does not apply to everyone, but according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), sixty-five percent of US households have a pet (or roughly 79.7 million families). Since that is such a huge percent of the population, we decided it would be helpful to provide some tips on how to keep your four-legged/winged/finned best friends happy during your move.
First and foremost, collect any health records/vaccination certificates from veterinary offices so you can take them with you to your new home.
If you have to move your animal in some sort of carrier, expose them to the carrier far in advance before moving day. If this applies to your animal, introduce them to the carrier with a favorite blanket or toy, then later move to treats or their food bowl, so there is an association of comfort when the carrier comes back on moving day.
This principle also applies to a car – if your animal has never been in a car before, definitely go for a couple of short rides before moving day to get them accustomed to how it feels.
Plan for where in the car you are going to keep your pet, and how they are going to be comfortably restrained. Although it is common for people to ride with their pets on their laps, it’s not safe for the animal or for you.
Pack a bag with extra pet food, treats, bags, leashes, collars, and any other pet essentials to keep with you in the car in case you have to make any extended stops along the way. If you have any overnight stops planned on the way to your new location, call ahead to your hotel and be sure they accommodate pets.
During the packing and moving process, continue to give your animal affection and assurance. Animals are smarter than you think and can often sense tension.
Throughout the process, keep treats on you and try to use them when it seems appropriate. Rewarding them for good behavior or to ease their nerves during the move simulates the same act you would do as if you were at home, bringing your pet comfort and reassurance.
If your pet wears a collar, be sure to keep it on at all times in case they happen to wander off.
If your pet is one that gets regular walks/playtime, do not neglect those normal routines because you are busy unpacking in your new home. If you stick to some type of similar routine, your pet is going to feel comfortable more quickly in this place that feels so foreign to them. Try to keep their belongings (beds, food bowls, cages) in similar areas of your new home that they were in your previous home. Acclimating to the new space will be easier if their environment has some kind of consistency.
When you get to your new home, do not immediately let your larger and more mobile pets out to roam right away. Keep them in a single room while you take a sweep of the house to be sure it is safe, and there are no unexpected holes/hiding places where your pet could get hurt or stuck. Also let them adjust to this one room so there is at least a corner of familiarity in your new house before they are exposed to too much too soon.
Animals, like humans, take a while to adjust to dramatic change. If they aren’t eating or sleeping regularly, give them a few weeks to try to adjust before seeking a vet. Love them like usual and follow these tips and they should be able to adjust just fine!