Moving is stressful for any animal but it can be worse for household pets that never even venture outside. A move to a new home will effectively change their entire world! But taking a few of the following steps will help you help your pets through the move and transition them into their brave new world and home.
If your move will involve air or rail travel, contact carriers AT LEAST one month in advance about their pet regulations. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin depending on the animal’s size, but you may need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. When making reservations choose a non-stop flight to avoid extra handling and minimize climate and air-pressure changes for your pets.
If you’re moving by car, make a list of the items you’ll need for your “pet travel kit.” This should include the carrier, a leash, food, water, dishes, their favorite toy, and treats. To get your pet used to car travel, take them on a few short practice trips. Have a “clean-up kit” in the car too, in the case of any motion sickness or other accidents. And don’t forget to budget time for regular exercise, water, and bathroom breaks along the way during the BIG move.
For long distance moves that require an overnight stop, reserve motel rooms in advance and make sure that they will allow your pets to stay with you. Small pets like birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, reptiles, etc. can be easily transported via automobile. A good, simple way of keeping them calm and quiet is to cover their cages.
Save the Pets for Last
Animals may be intimidated by the presence of strange, burly moving men walking around in their personal space and territory. Keep them in their “Pet Room”, secluded from the chaos of packing and loading, until it’s time for them to go.
If one of your pets, such as a cat, is in the habit of hiding in a space that you cannot retrieve it from easily – such as the rafters of an attic or a crawl space – make sure that the hiding space is no longer accessible in advance so that it cannot go there.
Because you’re moving into a “new” home with new décor and perhaps new furnishings too, you may be tempted to replace your pets’ old familiar favorites as well. Don’t! It’s better to take your pets’ old food and water dishes, bedding, blankets and toys to make them feel “right at home” in THEIR new home too!
Upon your arrival at your new home pets may be frightened and confused by their new surroundings. Immediately set out all of those familiar and necessary things your pet will need to feel comfortable. Try to keep things in the same relative locations they were in your former home as well.
You Can’t Go Home Again
But your pets can! Keep windows and doors closed when pets are left unsupervised, as your pet may be planning to find it’s way back to your old home. To be safe, leave the new owners of your old home a photo of your pets. Give them and your former neighbors your new phone number and ask them to contact you if any of your pets should return there.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara