CVMA-ACMV

When moving, what is the best way to prepare my pet, and manage them throughout the move to minimize stress?

August 27, 2007

Pets become attached to their environment and will notice the hectic pace as packing starts, even from day one. They may become stressed as they see familiar rooms become box cities. Changes in routine and perhaps some stress in the caregivers will cue them that something unusual is happening.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your pet worry-free:

  • Have your pet trained in advance to be comfortable in a “kitty condo” or “doggie den” (a carrier that is nicely bedded with soft blankets). This gives them a “den”, a safe spot away from all the hustle and bustle.
  • It is advisable to stick to the regular routine as much as possible, particularly as moving time approaches. If Fido normally walks at 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, keep to that schedule. The same goes for feeding and grooming times.
  • A little extra TLC is nice around moving time, but no need to fuss and dote over them, your pets will be fine!
  • If noisy furniture moving is going on, placing pets in their carrier in a basement or other quiet spot with music playing may help to minimize their stress.
  • Ideally, have the pet(s) go to a boarding facility or to a friend or family members’ home on the day of the move. This will keep them from being underfoot, or slipping out the door and scurrying off into the distance! Lacking available backup, place pets in carriers and set them in a very quiet area during final loading, transport, and unloading.
  • Mode of transport may not be an option if you are moving a long distance. If flying, have all vaccines up to date, a current export health certificate, and contact information firmly attached to the transport carrier. Check with the airline about what size and type of carriers are accepted.
  • If travelling to the new home in your car, use the carriers to make sure your pets are not lost in the shuffle, or crushed under boxes and bags!  If the pets do not travel in the car regularly, do a few short trips ahead of moving day to help them get used to it. A pet that gets car sick or is unduly stressed can be identified and your veterinarian can advise you whether medication is advisable. Take a pet first aid kit, emergency contact information and a bit of food and water in the vehicle, but do not feed a meal right ahead of travel as a full stomach makes vomiting and nausea more likely.
  • In the new home, it may be advisable to restrict pets to a small room for the first day or two until things are more settled.

Moving can be hectic, but applying some of these simple strategies can make your pet’s day a little easier!