Moving is always an exciting process! Whether you have already made the decision and have found a home, or if you’re starting the process, moving can be a challenge. The logistics of searching for the perfect home and weighing the decisions of the home location, cost of living, and making sure it has all the amenities can be a long process.
Whether it is moving across town, across your state, or the country, it can be a challenge when you have pets in the mix! Pets are surrendered to animal shelters for this very reason; pet owners have decided not to take them with in the process of moving. If research is done before moving, likely this situation can be reconsidered or even avoided. By the end of this article, pet owners will have some great tips and tricks for moving with pets, whether it be a move across town or going cross-country!
A few factors to consider before the move:
Planning a move with pets involved is not a long, drawn-out process, and in a way, it is not much different than moving with toddlers. With careful planning, any move can go smoothly. Some factors to take into consideration are the type of pets you have (dogs, cats, fish, horses, etc.), and how far away is the move from your current house to the new home.
- Plan out how you will be transporting your belongings from point A to B, and then you can focus on the pets. How long will it take you to get moved entirely out of your current house?
- Consider the cleaning required and any repairs to be completed after the house is empty. Have a timeline of how long you believe it will take to move out and clean out the house.
Once you have an idea of how you are going to move out of your current house and approximately how long it will take, you can then consider the logistics.
- If you have a dog or a cat and are moving a short distance, plan on a way of confining your pet during the process. Whether it be setting up your cat with a litter box in a bathroom or having your dog camp out in the garage or a bedroom, consider the options.
- The weather may also be a consideration, as you can’t leave your pets in uncomfortable temperatures without heat or air conditioning.
- If you have dogs, do not plan on leaving them in your backyard during the process, even if they are outdoor dogs. It will be a confusing experience and a new environment for them as you will be packing up and coming or going. Consider that they will be a little more stressed than usual and have a chance of causing a disturbance while you’re gone or getting out of the back yard and getting lost.
- If you crate train or confine your dog when you are at work, plan on finding a way to do the same while you are moving. There is going to be a lot going on and a lot of doors opening and closing, so keeping your pets confined during the process will alleviate some stress on you and be safer for the pets.
Driving to your new house?
- If you are moving a distance away and are planning on driving, make sure to anticipate where the pets are going to be during the process. It’s best to keep them confined in a crate or kennel.
- If you have a passenger with you, then they can be responsible for checking on the pets during the process, and the necessity of a crate or kennel isn’t such a big deal. However, if the pets are not going to be in a crate or kennel, make sure they are leash-restrained along the way when you are getting out for rest stops or gas breaks. Even with cats, it’s a good idea to have a harness and leash on, that way if someone opens a door and the cat tries to slip out, you have something extra to grab.
- If you have older kids with you that are not quite strong to be helping with moving boxes, tending to the pets can be a great responsibility and distraction for them in the moving process.
- If your move takes multiple days to get to your new home, consider where you will be stopping along the way, and if that location will accommodate pets. Some campsites, hotels, and RV parks have strict pet policies.
Flying the pets?
- If your moving adventure involves flying the pets to the new home, check with the airline, which you will be taking them on. There is a lot more involved than just purchasing the ticket for your pet. Some airlines will not fly certain species and breeds of pets.
- Most airlines will require a health certificate from your veterinarian, stating the pet is healthy enough to fly, and proof of vaccinations. These documents are time-sensitive, so make sure to check with the airlines on the requirements. The airlines usually have the requirements listed on their website if you look for “traveling with pets.”
- Make sure you have a proper “type” and size of a kennel for your pet. Airlines are strict about this.
- If your pet is traveling in the cargo area of the plane, the airlines will likely require a water dish attached to the kennel as well.
- Keep proper identification on your pet and their kennel.
During the move:
- Make sure your pets have some identification on them that contains current contact information, just in case they get separated from you during the step.
- Keep your pet’s vaccination and health records readily available as folks may ask for them along the way.
- If your planning for a lot of time driving and your pet has a sensitive stomach or is known to get carsick, do not feed them at least 4 hours before traveling.
- Make sure to have a bag packed with food, favorite treats, water, and waste cleanup items readily available during the adventure.
- Don’t forget to pack any medications that your pet is taking.
- Keep something familiar to your pet near them, such as a favorite toy or bedding item.
- Plan on rest and exercise breaks along the way. Just like us, pets don’t like to be cooped up for extended periods!
- Keep a first aid kit handy for you and the pets. You never know what could happen, and it is better to be prepared rather than rifling through boxes or having to buy something along the way.
Once at the new house:
Once you have made it to your new home, plan for an adjustment process for the pets.
- Keep your pets safely confined and away from the hustle of moving items into the house.
- With dogs, even if your dog has excellent recall, it’s best not to give them free rein of the location all at once. Walk them around the property on a leash so they can safely take in the new surroundings. If they have a new back yard to play in, don’t leave them alone until you are confident that they can’t escape your surroundings and go exploring on their own. I never knew my dogs liked to dig until they were in a fenced back yard!
- With any pet, expect a transition period into your new home. Just like you, they will be getting used to a new location and unique sights and sounds.
- Pets thrive on routine and predictability, so try to get them on a schedule as soon as possible, so they start to get comfortable in their new home.
A smooth process…
With a little planning and some preparation, moving with pets can be a relatively seamless process. Consider the plan on how quickly you will make a move and how you will transition the pets. Remember that it is a new process for everyone, including pets. Whether you are just starting the house-hunting process or your getting ready for the moving day, good luck, and may it be a quick move for you and the critters!