Since we’re in the middle of our annual Movers for Mutts charity drive benefiting the Nashville Humane Association, we wanted to share some of our tips for moving with your pets! Supporting your pet through the moving process can be challenging because they don’t speak English fluently, so you aren’t able to explain, “Don’t worry Fluffy, we’re packing everything away now, but it’ll all come back out once we move into our new home!” But there are some things you can do to make your pet more comfortable and ease their anxiety about the upcoming change.
Ease your pet into the move gradually.
If you have a cat or anxious dog, you know they hate change of any sort. It can take some pets a month just to deal with a new rug in the hallway! So when you make the decision to move, start easing them into the change right away. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests getting your packing supplies early so they’re used to having boxes around the house. Then relocate their pet supplies, such as their bed, toys, and food/water dishes, into the room you plan to pack up last. This way, your pet can feel like she has a safe place where everything remains steady while the rest of the home is packed up and rearranged.
If your pet isn’t accustomed to spending much time in their crates, start to add crate time into their normal routine. Place treats in their crates, feed them in their crates, and leave the door open so they can walk in and out as they please. This way, your pet won’t feel punished by being locked in an unfamiliar, small space during Moving Day.
Plan ahead for Moving Day.
If you’re moving to a location which will require you to get a new vet, follow up with your current pet clinic to get a copy of all his records. While you’re there, check to make sure your pet is up to date on all his vaccinations and check-ups before the big day arrives. Then research and choose a new veterinarian before you actually move so you have time to send your pet’s medical records to the new clinic and familiarize yourself with their location.
It’s also important to prepare for the worst case scenario–your pet getting lost in a new neighborhood. Just in case she dashes out the door unexpectedly, you’ll want to make sure your dog or cat’s tags and/or microchip information is updated with you new address and phone numbers. If she has a microchip, remember that you need to update the information online manually because your vet doesn’t have access to update it for you.
You may want to consider scheduling a “Doggy Daycare” appointment for pet for your actual move date so you don’t have to worry about him getting underfoot of your movers or slipping out of the house without someone noticing. Keeping him at a kennel will also prevent him feeling anxiety from watching his surroundings constantly change throughout the day as movers load all your belongings into their truck.
Finally, make sure you pack and set aside a “pet kit” away from the rest of your packed belongings that will be loaded onto the moving truck. This kit should include food portions for the next few days, medical records, any calming sprays you may have, a leash (if you have a dog), bedding, and litter (if you have a cat). Setting this kit aside from your other boxes will prevent it from getting lost in the shuffle of movers loading your belongings onto the truck during Moving Day.
Make sure your pet feels at home.
You may be tempted to set your pet down and let her explore her new home as soon as you step foot inside the door… But remember, she may not be as excited as you are about her new home! To your dog or cat, an empty house cluttered with boxes and wrapped-up furniture will feel foreign and can cause anxiety. For the first few days, it may be a good idea to limit the space your pet has access to. For example, on the first day, try keeping them in one room set up with their bed, dishes, and toys which also contains familiar furniture pieces she’ll recognize. Gradually open up more doors around the house as you unpack more belongings so she knows she’s home.
If you’re used to letting your pet go off-leash around your yard, you may want to give him some time to adjust to the new location and get to know your new neighborhood before allowing him free range again. For the first few weeks, only let him outside when you can be with him to make sure he stays safe and avoids running away.
With a little forethought and sensitivity, Fido or Mr. Whiskerkins will be at home in no time at your new place!
And as you’re planning for your move, don’t forget to call or text us at 615-248-6288 for a free estimate. You can also visit our website for more moving information and tips!