Moving with Pets

Moving is stressful for homeowners, but it can be difficult for pets, too, especially pets that spend most of the time indoors. Pets are highly adapted to their surroundings, and when those surroundings change they feel disoriented and insecure.

Here are some tips to help make your pet’s move less stressful.

• Unusual activity, and removal of familiar furniture, etc., can make pets feel stressed, possibly causing them to misbehave or run off. Consider having them boarded or stay with a neighbor during the days before the move.

• Allow time for pets to adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t let them roam freely until they learn where their new home is. Make sure each pet is wearing ID and license tags.

• Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet’s medical history to take with you, and be sure all shots are current.

• If your pet has an ID implant, remember to have it updated with the new contact information.

• As far as possible, maintain your pet’s routine, including feeding and walking at the usual times before and during the move. Giving them additional loving attention will help them feel secure.

• A few days before the move, choose a small room as a “pet room,” with familiar food and water bowls and toys in the room. Leave any travel carriers in the room so pets will become familiar with them before moving day.

Moving-day Checklist for Pets

  • Veterinary records, certificates, recent photos
  • Medications
  • Beds (pillows, towels, other crate liners)
  • Plastic bags and scoops for dogs
  • Pets’ usual foods
  • Plenty of water from the home you’re leaving (a new water source can be disorienting and upset pets’ stomachs)
  • Food and water bowls, a can opener, resealable lids
  • Leashes
  • Letterbox
  • Cage covers for birds and rodents
  • Paper towels for messes
  • Toys, chew bones, treats
  • Provisions for the first day at the new home

Moving Into a New Home With Pets

  • Choose a small room as a temporary “pet room” in the new home, where dogs and cats can feel secure, with familiar bowls, bedding, toys, etc.
  • Don’t let pets outdoors without a leash until they adapt to the new surroundings (several days to a week for cats; dogs adapt more quickly).
  • Continue giving your pets water from the old home for the first few days.
  • Don’t punish your pets for initial misbehavior. Cats especially will not understand, and distrusting you will increase their stress.
  • Clean up accidents immediately. Removing odors will help avoid repeated behaviors in the same location.
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