In the past 15 years we’ve been in 3 different homes and with each move our dog Alex was with us. Now, Alex had such an easy going personality that moving with him was never an issue. Our current dog Cooper has never experienced a move but we know that the experience for him would be much different from Alex, so we’d have to take very different steps to ensure he was kept safe and as stress free as possible.
Pets tend to have an instinctive fear of new surroundings, so you’ll want to help them adjust quickly. Like people, pets need time to become accustomed to a new home and new faces.
If possible find a pet sitter. By removing your pet from the premises it is a surefire way to ensure your pets safety and help keep them stress free. If a pet sitter is not an option, especially during long distance moves, create a safe haven for them. Find a low traffic area in the house and bring in their bed and toys. A pet gate is a great way to allow communication but still keep them safe.
Before You Move
Be sure to purchase new identification with your new address and phone number.
Tell your vet you are moving. Ask your vet if they know if a vet in your new home town they can suggest. If your pets are due or almost due for shots, now is a good time to get them. It may take you a while to find a new vet and you may need to have updated shot records for boarding, traveling, etc.
If you need to travel a long distance for your move and need to stay overnight in a hotel be sure they allow pets.
On Moving Day
Spoil your pet during this stressful time. Take them for walks, take time out to play and feed them their favorite food or treats. It will improve their spirits. Pets are often the last thing on people’s minds during a stressful move. The pets begin to feel unloved and neglected which can bring about more stress and bad behaviors.
It is not uncommon for pets to refuse food and water while away from home or in a stressful situation. Keep a close eye on their intake. Offer them special treats and their favorite foods to encourage them to eat. Set out food and water and try to get them to drink. If their appetite doesn’t improve, you should contact a vet.
Try to keep to your normal schedule as much as possible. Routines are very important, especially when so much else around them is changing.
Go into your new home first before you bring your pet in. If you don’t have anywhere to leave your pet or are traveling alone, keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier at first. Inspect your new home for anything that might be harmful, such as wet paint, sawdust, broken glass or bare wires.
Allow your pet to get used to their new home. Lay out familiar items, such as their bed and favorite toys.
Take time out to play with your pet. Give them time to associate their new home as a positive place.
Go over your new yard very carefully and make sure it is dog or cat proof, there are no harmful items or chemicals, the gates close, the fence is secure and your pets can’t escape. Your pet may be confused with the new surroundings.
Part of keeping your pet safe is making sure they feel comfortable with their surroundings. When your move is complete, take the time to introduce your pets to their new stomping grounds.
Most of all have patience and understand this is a confusing time for them.