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Moving to a New Home with your Pets

Image of a very cute kitten and puppy in a cardboard box

How to Have a Stress Free Move with Your Pets

Moving comes with a million stresses, but for most people, it’s not something we can avoid. At multiple points in our lifetime, it’s likely we will move. In addition to your own stresses, your pet(s) will likely experience stress when being transplanted to a new home. Knowing you’re there with them helps, but it may not subside all their fears. Here are some tips to help your pets adapt to your move and your new home in a more relaxed manner.

Moving to a whole new residence, with different sights, sounds and smells can give your pets a deep sense of unease. Cats and Dogs can get flustered when you move certain items or get rid of furniture, let alone move them to a whole new unknown place. A sudden abundance of boxes, where a couch once sat, can be alarming. If you notice your pets hiding or howling more than usual, or engaging in atypical behaviors, it’s likely this new situation is fearful for them. The good news is there are numerous ways to help your pets get through the moving process.

The first thing you’ll want to do is invest in some Feliway for Cats and Adaptil for Dogs. Use these while you’re preparing for your move, as well as in your new home. Feliway & Adaptil release pheromones that help calm your pet and make them feel safe and secure. You can pick up some from your vet or order it online at your local pet store.

Separate your Pets from your Moving Activity

If you have several pets, and you’re starting to pack boxes and rearrange things, consider putting your pets in a different room than the one you’re packing.

If you’re placing them in empty rooms, have pet carriers, with plenty of blankets, food and some toys, so they can feel safe. In fact, it’s always a good idea to have your pet carriers out in your house at least a week before you plan to move your pet, so that they can create a sense of familiarity with it and feel safer when being moved.

Overnight Kits

Keeping several of your pets favorite items on hand can help them during a move. Chew toys, litter, plenty of food and grooming items such as brushes (pets love to be brushed, and it helps them calm down) are essential items.

Transport Your Pets in Your own Car

Transporting pets in your own car and having you with them will create familiarity when you move. If you have dogs that like to help with the driving, or enjoy sticking their head out the window, then go this route. They’ll be happy and less stressed during their relocation.

Cats are, of course, a different story. Few travel well, while others don’t make traveling an easy feat at all. It’s best to have your cat in a carrier during the ride, with blankets inside to keep them comfortable, as well as a sheet on top of the cage, which helps them to feel calm and safe.

If your pet gets stressed in car rides, you may want to consider contacting your veterinarian and asking them to provide a sedative. However, this should be used only in very high stress cases, as the disorientation your pets will experience can cause more issues with anxiety in the long run when adjusting to a new home.

Exposing Your Pets to your New Home

If you have dogs and you’re able to visit the new home with your dogs ahead of the move, it’s a good idea to do so, so that they become familiar with the area in advance.

Once the move takes place, give your pet some time to adjust. At first, they may be hesitant to leave their cage or carrier, so place it in a room where they can be free from distractions and keep the cage open so they can go in and out as they please. Have some of their favorite items available, so they feel familiar with them. Their adjustment to the new home may not be immediate, it may actually take a few days, but within time they’ll become familiar with their new surroundings.

If your schedule allows, try and spend the first few days with your pet at home, so they understand you’re not abandoning them in this new space.

Other Things to Consider

There are pet transport services available, which can be especially helpful if you’re undertaking a long distance move. In some cases pets can travel by air, but not by bus or train unless they are medical support animals. If you’re moving a short distance, i.e. 30 minutes to an hour away, it’s probably better to transport your pet on your own, as you can be with your pets during that time.

Once you’ve moved, be sure to update your pets’ ID tags and any microchips you might have with your new address. You should also contact your veterinarian regarding updating any medical records and medications they might need. Be sure to keep all of their leashes and collars on them while you travel, just in case one of them tries to break free.

While moving your pets to a new home can be a daunting and stressful experience, it doesn’t have to be. Every pet is different, and they may react differently to a move. Some will be fine, others will be frazzled. If you’ve never moved your pets before, or need some extra insight on what to do to make it a seamless transformation, reach out to ATX Animal Clinic. We can help provide any advice you may need to keep your furry friends safe.