Nearly 70% of U.S. households include a pet. That’s 85 million families with a finned or four-legged family member, according to the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owner’s Survey.
We all know that moving from one home to another can be stressful on children but it can be equally challenging for our pets.
We’ve rounded up some tips from the pros on how to make the transition easier for your pets.
Visit your pet’s veterinarian
Sure, your schedule is packed in the weeks before moving, but a quick visit to your pet’s veterinarian is important.
If your pet is on medication, ask for refills for the prescription. As well, if your pet is prone to anxiety, ask the vet for medications to help during the move.
Most important of all, though is to ensure your pet is microchipped.
If your pet should get out of the new house before he or she becomes acclimated to the area, there’s a good chance it will become disoriented and find itself utterly lost.
With a chip in place, whomever finds the pet will be able to contact you.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that the pet is wearing a collar with identification tags as a backup.
Which leads us to the second part of the microchip issue. If your pet is already chipped, ask your vet how you can update your contact information to include your new address and phone number (if that will be changing).
Finally, ask for a copy of your pet’s records, including all visits and vaccination records, and a referral to a veterinarian in your new town.
Tips for a long-distance move with a pet
The American Humane Society (AHS) recommends transporting your pet by car, if at all possible.
Before making the trip make reservations at pet-friendly hotels along the route. You can find some at PetsWelcome.com or Pet-Friendly-Hotels.net.
AHS also recommend that you transport your pet in a “… secure, well-ventilated pet carrier.” Also ensure that you have an escape-proof collar, leash, water and food bowls, pet food and bottles of water for those potty/rest stops you’ll need to make.
On moving day, keep the pet in a room with a closed door or in a crate in a quiet area of the home. The last thing you need when you’re on a tight moving schedule is for your pet to attempt a great escape.
Pet-proof the new home
Upon arrival at the new home, secure the pet in a bedroom along with its bed, crate and favorite toy or a piece of your clothing with your scent on it.
Then, head outdoors and check the fence, from top to bottom, for holes or gaps that the pet can fit through. Naturally, if your pet is a cat, he or she can just go over the fence, so this tip is primarily for dog owners.
If there’s a lawn, check it for signs of being recently fertilized (pellets, etc.). Don’t allow the pet into the backyard until you’ve thoroughly washed away any fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides.
Run a quick check of the plants in the backyard to ensure they’re pet-friendly. Check the database at ASPCA.org.
Take your dog on a tour of the neighborhood
Over the course of the first week or so in the new home, make it a point to walk your dog around the new neighborhood. Very soon, he or she will be acclimated to the new surroundings.
If the dog should get out of the house, the neighborhood will be familiar and, hopefully, your dog will be able to find the new home.
Pets have different personalities and some will sail right through a move to a new area while others may become nervous and stressed. Don’t be surprised if your pet begins behaving differently. It’s all a part of becoming comfortable and acclimated with the new surroundings.