4 Tips for a Safe and Successful Move with Your Pet

June 10, 2015

In the midst of the stress of moving to a new home, you may overlook just how stressed your pets feel too. There are ways to make the transition for your furry friends as safe and easy as possible.

Here are a few suggestions.

Packing up your home:

  • Cats and dogs alike can get very upset and skittish with change.
  • To alleviate this agitation bring moving boxes into your home early so they can get used to them.
  • As much as possible keep your pets in a familiar room that you plan to pack up last.
  • To ensure that your cat or dog won’t get scared and try to make a getaway while the movers are loading up the truck keep your pets in a quiet room with the door shut, or at a friend’s house

Planning you road trip:

  • If your pet has not spent much time in a car or crate, you can prepare them for the moving day trip beforehand.
  • First, place their food inside an open crate, and eventually have them eat their meals in the crate — first with the door open and then with the door shut.
  • Try carrying your pets around the house in the crate or taking them for a short drive.
  • After this crate exercise, give your pet a treat and/or play with them. This will develop a positive association with the crate and will lessen the stress on moving day.
  • Feed your cat a very small breakfast on moving day to reduce stomach upset.
  • While in transit, resist the urge to open your cat’s carrier to soothe him. A scared cat may try to dash out.

Checking out your new neighbourhood:

  • It is always smart to check out your new neighbourhood.
  • Walk the neighbourhood looking for dogs that seem aggressive or are left unattended.
  • Identify local parks and good walking routes that are near your home.
  • Talk to your neighbours for recommendations regarding a new veterinarian.
  • Locate a local pet store that sells the brand of food your pet eats — he does not need another adjustment to new food, as well as a new environment.

Settling into your new home:

  • A large new space can be overwhelming so do not let your pet free to explore when you arrive at your new home.
  • Start by allowing him to adjust to one room—his “home base”—which should include their favourite toys, treats, water and food bowls, and litter box for cats.
  • When he seems comfortable, gradually introduce him to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut.

Most pets are not big fans of change. If they could chose, they would prefer to stay where they’re already comfortable and settled in. But, at some point in their lives, most animals must move on to a new location. Making the transition as stress-free as possible for your four-legged companion can have big benefits, including reducing the risk of fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing or barking, hiding, escape attempts and aggression.

With careful attention to the suggestions above, the move for everyone, humans and animals, can be an exciting adventure.