How to Make a Move Less Stressful for Your Pets

Moving your dogWhen planning to move from one home to another or one state to another, it is stressful for all concerned. All the packing and planning can take a toll on the adults in the home and the kids often have difficulties adjusting to new schools and friends. Eventually, all works out despite all doubts. However, moves can also be very devastating and disturbing for the pets in the family. It is important to know how to ease pets through the move, reducing the stress and anxiety as much as possible.


Moving is first and foremost a matter of planning and thought. What street, neighborhood, city, town or state are you considering? When do you want to move? Are you looking for a home, townhome, condo or apartment? What are you taking; what do you pack, keep, giveaway or sell and are there items that merely have no value and should be tossed in the trash? This is the perfect time to clean out the home instead of bringing insignificant items with you to a new residence. It is no doubt a stressful situation but with careful planning, everything works out for the good of all concerned. Just remember, your pets do not understand and can absorb a great deal of the stress before and during the transition.


It is a sad fact that many folks have to leave their pets behind when making a move, often because of downsizing, going to a place that does not accept pets, financial distress or death/illness to a pet's owner. The worse thing anyone can do is just abandon a pet to fend for itself. However, most people consider their animals as part of the family and leaving them behind is not an option. Plan a smooth transition for you and your pet(s) through proper preparation.

Choosing the Perfect Area to Move


When making a move, you want to ensure it is an area the whole family will enjoy. Once you have picked out the home or apartment of your dreams, before making the final decision, investigate the area. You can take your pet and family with you as you walk around the new neighborhood to note if it is a safe area for pets and kids. Are there other children in the area and their age group along with any other pets? Do most people seem to be responsible pet owners or have aggressive animals that are unattended? Put yourself out there in a cordial manner and speak with people who live in the area to determine if this would be a good fit for you, your family and pets.


Of course, the size of your new place depends on family size, children and if you have dogs or cats. The feline is a little more needy of space for growth, vertically since they love to climb. Larger dogs may need a little more space than the smaller breeds and a home with a yard may be a huge consideration for the dog owner. Be cautious of an apartment or home with lots of stairs when it comes to the older canine. There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect home for yourself, family and pets.


Before the Move


Your chaos of the move begins when you see all you need to pack; stack of boxes to fill, rubber maid bins, packing tape, markers and choosing the right moving truck for great organization and a smooth transformation. You need to be aware that all this disorder and confusion can be affecting your pet. During your busy times of packing, ensure you keep your pet in a safe area, a particular quiet room away from the turmoil where you provide its favorite bed, toys, treats and water. Such is particularly true for cats who are not in favor of change and can pace relentlessly. This same room can be the last one you pack up, and can be reserved for your pet on moving day, unless a friend can keep it until the move is complete. You don't want your pet to get trampled, lost or hurt while packing up all your valuables and moving them to a specified area for the "movers" to load up their truck.


You will find that moving is more easily acceptable for dogs than it is for cats because of that issue with change. They just don't like it. However, dogs are more socialized and travel much more than a cat. You seldom see a cat going for a car ride or walk; go visiting or shopping. Cats like consistency and comforts of home, plain and simple. Change for them can create behavioral problems; the independent feline is suddenly clingy, the rambunctious cat is withdrawn and the well-behaved feline creates destructive tendencies.


Moving the cat may also be a concern, especially if your kitty rarely ever rides in its carrier. Consider putting the carrier out in that quiet room prepared for your pet and leave it open. Place a comfy blanket and/or favorite bed inside. Your cat will find solace in hiding out there, making it less stressful when the actual day to get in it for the move arrives.


Most dogs love to travel, so moving day should be an easy transition in the car. However, if your dog isn't fond of a vehicle ride; maybe the only time your pooch gets in it is to visit the vet, maybe you need to introduce pleasure car rides to the park, pet stores or other short trips to acclimate him/her to the experience. Cars are not just for going to the vet!


Moving Day


You have spent days and weeks packing up the home, making donations of unwanted valuables, having garage sales, filling the trash bins and prepping the pets for the move and now the day is here! This is the time when the stress and turmoil is at its highest to make sure the transition is an easy one for you, the family and the pets.


Prepare your pets in their carriers and/or that special quiet room, back yard or a special friend or neighbor that can care for them until the move is complete. Once everything is moved out of the home, you can retrieve your animals and place in your car or the moving truck. If your pets are in a carrier, preferably the hard-sided type, ensure you place them in the vehicle with enough ventilation and secured for safe traveling. When it comes to the stressed pets, such as the feline, you may need to cover the carrier with a light sheet for a short while until your pet is a little more relaxed, at which time you can remove that sheet protection.


Dogs of all sizes should be restrained as well, whether small enough to sit in a dog car seat or attached to seat belt with a safety harness. A pet that is unrestrained in a vehicle can cause hazardous conditions that takes away from the safety of the driver, itself and other motorists. Additionally, if restrained properly, the pet cannot escape from the vehicle when stopping for gas or other roadside stops.


Unless you are going a short distance, you may need to pack a small travel bag for your pet with treats, some food and fresh water along with a water bowl. Cats may require a disposable litter box on extended trips. Also consider some pet first aid needs and towels or paper towels in case of emergencies and accidents. Always ensure your pet has an identifiable collar on in case of a loss.


In some instances, you may not be able to bring your pet with you during the move and must plan for a later relocation option. There are some choices, commercially, involving animal relocation companies that can bring your pet to the new location in their own vehicles after the move is complete. You may also prefer to ask a special friend or family member to provide this service for you that will be less stressful if it is someone the pet is well-acquainted with. There are options available to make the travel to the new home easy and as stress-free as possible.


Prepare for the Unknown Hazards


Depending on where you are moving, the entire trip may take more than a day of travel. Once you plan out your route, estimated amount of hours to travel and the locations, it may be necessary to stay overnight at a hotel or motel. Estimate the time and area you plan to stop and call local inns in that area in order to find one that is pet-friendly. You will want to find out cost for yourself and the pets, along with their other pet policies. Most hotels that allow pets will only have a select few rooms and only for smaller dogs and cats.


Once you have planned your stay, you want to inspect the room for pet safety. Even though it is just a short overnight rest, you still want to ensure there are no open windows to get out of or any other dangers hazardous to your pet. Keep your pet as safe as possible, even if it means keeping it in the security of its crate. Even though it is temporary, you want to ensure your pet will be safe from dangers and getting lost in a strange area.


We have been discussing the relocation of typical pets like dogs and cats although many people have other pets like birds, bunnies, hamsters, gerbils, fish, iguanas, snakes and other exotic animals. When it comes to the handling and transportation of the unusual pet, it is best to do your research for proper, safe methods. Most of these animals require special handling and need to be transported separate from the movers; most often in your own vehicle or that of a friend or family member in order to avoid the most stress. They should always be moved in special carriers (fish in plastic bags) where they can be protected from drafts and other dangers. It may be advisable to consult with your veterinarian for the best methods of transporting any for all of your precious pets.


Settling into the New Place


As you pull up to the new place with the movers, this is not the time to release the pets. Remember that this is all new and scary to most pets so exploring the home should be a gradual process after everything has been moved in. Your pet may get stressed and overwhelmed in new, unfamiliar grounds! Your best option as you pull up is to place the crates with your pets in a room that will not be disturbed with furniture or boxes coming in. You can open the crates and provide some water, (a litter box for the cat,) toys, treats, bones and food. At least this way you can ensure the safety of your pet until the move is complete; boxes and bins in, furniture also in place. Moving everything in typically takes a couple of hours, and although things are all array around the home, you can rest a bit knowing the big job is done. Unpacking can be completed on a gradual pace once you are in the home, safe and sound with your family and pets.


Inspect your new living areas before considering releasing the pets to be their curious selves. You want to insure there are no toxic substances lying around, mouse traps or insect poisons, no holes in cabinets, walls and doors, open windows, hanging cords or wires, the yard and fencing is also free of holes and gaps where a pet could escape. Pet-proof your new home in the same manner as before; lay on the floor and look up in each room, getting a vision the way your pet sees it, removing anything that could present a hazard.


Prep your new home immediately for the comfort of your pets with some of its favorite items in similar places as the previous home as a way to ease your pet into the new environment. Pets like routines and schedules so try your best to keep them similar to the previous home. For instance, if the cat litter box was in the laundry room near the kitchen in the previous home, place it in your new laundry room, or bath or wherever your cat felt comfortable. If the dog dishes were always in the kitchen as you entered, place them in a similar location at the new address. If you feed your pets each day at 5 am and 5 pm, do not change the feeding times and ensure there is always fresh water.


Change any routines or placement of pet items very gradually so as to keep stress down for your pet. He or she will adapt within a few days or it may take weeks. Once you allow your pet the run of the home, it will take no time at all for your dog or cat to make itself at home and rule the roost. Throughout the whole transition, you need to remain calm and reassuring; pets can reflect off of you and your emotions. If you are stressed, your pet will feel that energy and respond through anxiety and discomfort. If you can exhibit a calm demeanor, your pet will also feel more calm and at ease. You would be surprised as to how much a pet can reflect from your feelings and emotions.


Moving is not the easiest of task and can be stressful for the entire family, including your pets. However, as a responsible pet owner, you owe it to them to make the transition as easy as possible with minimal stress and anxiety. Taking the proper steps, you can get through the whole process in a safe, secure manner, ready to enjoy the pleasures and comforts of your new residence.

Article Tags: #pet moving #moving with pets
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