Moving With Pets
As enjoyable as it can be to move to a new home, it can also be incredibly stressful. When you have to pack your entire life into bags and boxes, it is an exhausting event, but at least you understand what you are doing and why. Your pets, on the other hand, do not. They just see their toys, scratch posts, food bowls and beds being packed, loaded into a car and taken away. So how do you move with a pet to make it as easy and stress-free as possible?
Animals react differently to moving depending on their personality and the type of animal. Dogs, for example, generally move easier than cats. The tips below should be universally applicable to both your dog and cat. You, however, know your animal the best and will know best how to implement these tips.
Get them used to moving
It is best to move your animal in your own car on the day of the move, but if your animal isn’t used to being in a carrier or a car, you should introduce them to it. Start a couple of weeks before the move by getting them into a carrier. Put their toys, blanket, and treats in the carrier and leave them to go into it themselves. It will be a positive first introduction, and as the time of the move comes closer you can start closing the cage and go for short drives first. Once they are comfortable, go to the new location and introduce them.
Let them explore the new neighbourhood
If you are not moving too far away and you can make quick trips to the new neighbourhood and property, it can be a good idea to do so. Go for a walk with your dog where you start at the new property. If you can, ask the owners if your four-legged friend may roam the yard and sniff a bit. Take your cat to the new location too. If your cat isn’t one to run away, you could let them walk around a bit and also let them walk in their new yard.
While your dog or cat won’t know that it is their new home, it will be less of a shock when they eventually go to the new location for good.
Talk to your vet
You’ll need to get a new vet for your animal. Talk to your current vet first; he might have a suggestion for you. You will also need to take your animal’s records with you. If your animal is on medication, you will want to get a fresh supply so you don’t run out before a new vet can be located. Your vet would probably have been treating your animal for quite some time and gotten to know the family. If you have an animal with a nervous disposition, your vet could suggest some techniques or medication to make the move easier and ensure your animal’s health doesn’t suffer.
Keep them calm
If you can keep your animal calm throughout the process of moving, you shouldn’t need to worry too much. The techniques you use won’t look the same for every animal. While you are packing, you can try to keep your animal away from the action. Let them play outside or keep them comfortable in a separate room. For some animals, this will only cause more distress, though, and they want to be with and around their owners when something big is happening. If that is the case, let them lie with you while you pack and just spend time with them, talking to them often in soothing tones.
Make sure that when you get to the new house, their toys, blankets, bowls, etc are ready to unpack first and make a spot for them to relax in. Again, keep them calm in the manner that works best for your animal.
My pet isn’t a dog or a cat
If you are moving with fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, etc, things might get more complicated. Fish can be kept in a plastic bag with their old tank’s water for up to 24hours if the bag has enough air. You will have to focus on setting up the tank in the new home and getting the water balance right.
Guinea pigs and hamsters are very susceptible to stress and being moved, so keep them in a small cage as you move and keep them close by.
Birds can become very jittery and fly the coop, even if they have never done so before. Keep them in their cage the entire day you move and let them settle down in the new home as you unpack and settle in yourself.
Snakes, like all the other animals, need to be kept as stress-free as possible. Moving them in pillowcases is a great way to do this. If you are moving overnight, be sure that you are keeping them warm enough. If you are moving with two different types of snakes, be sure they can be transported together. Boas and pythons, for example, can’t be kept and moved together.
Your animals get to know you as much as you know them. If you are calm and collected, chances are that the move will be easier on them as well. Give them time to get used to their new home and if they don’t settle in well or become ill, take them to the vet immediately.