Moving can be a stressful process, so it is understandable that it can make your pets anxious, too. All the unexpected activity around the house in preparation of the big day, the chaotic loading and unloading of trucks and the subsequent introduction to a new environment can be overwhelming and disruptive to your pets. We are all animal lovers here at Alex Irish & Associates and have had our fair share of experience moving homes with pets. Here are our favourite tips for a smooth and successful move with pets:
Contact Your Vet
Update your veterinarian with your new contact information and get any prescription medications your pets might need. If you are moving out of the area, make sure you find a new vet ahead of time so medical records can be transferred and you have medical care lined up in case of the unexpected.
When travelling with your pets to the new house and once your pets are in their new environment, proper identification will help ensure your pets’ safe return should they wander or get separated. Make sure your pets are microchipped and have ID tags with your cell phone number.
Pets can be hyper-aware of even the smallest change in routine and environment, so the very process of packing up the entire house can make pets very nervous and unsettled. Begin conditioning your pets early by having a few boxes, suitcases and rolls of tape lying around ahead of time for them to explore. They will be less startled when the time comes to get started.
New Home, New Rules?
Moving from a house to a condo? Be sure to become familiar with all the condo corporation rules and regulations surrounding pets.
New Neighbourhood Introduction
If your move is not far, introduce your dog to their new neighbourhood by taking them out for walks there. This will allow them to get familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of their new home – they might even get to meet a few of neighbours along the way!
Move Pets Last
Wait for all the hustle and bustle to die down before introducing your pets to their new home. No good will come from having your pets in the mix as heavy items are being loaded and unloaded. If possible, have them stay with nearby family, friends or a pet sitter until the dust settles for a safer move.
Keep Meals Light
Feed your pets lightly on moving day, especially if they have a history of a sensitive stomach or anxious belly.
Get Them Tired Out
Transport your pets by car. Find off-leash parks or hiking trails enroute to your new home to give both you and your pets a break. By the time you get to your destination your pets should be tired out and calmer for the introduction to a new environment. Give cats a long play session with their favourite toys before hitting the road. Consider harness training your cat ahead of time, so they can explore new areas safely.
Pet-Proof Your New Home
Introduce your pets to small areas of the home at a time rather than letting them run free throughout. Check the interior and exterior of the new property for any hazards. Keep potentially dangerous items like cleaning supplies out of reach. If your property is fenced, check the entire perimeter for places where they could escape.
Create a Familiar Space
Bring your pets’ usual bowls, food, towels, toys, bedding, scratchers, and cat trees. Do not clean soft items before the move; it’s a good idea to take the smell of the old house to the new one to ease your pets’ anxiety. Create a familiar space by arranging items in as similar a set up as you can to your old place, preferably in an area that does not get a lot of foot traffic. Keep the schedule familiar as well, with meal, walk and rest times remaining the same.
Make the Move Fun!
Do not let your own stress feed your pets’ energy on moving day. It is best to approach your pets’ anxiety and confusion with lots of patience and try to make the move fun! Take advantage of the disorganized state of your home during the move and play a game of “hide and seek” with your pet. Hide toys and treats under and behind boxes and furniture for your pets to find. Sprinkle catnip into a large empty box, use treat dispensing balls and food puzzles to keep your pets mentally stimulated.