The first hurdle you have to overcome is fairly obvious, yet easy to overlook; How will I transport my dogs, cats, fish, sloth, horses, and/or lion to our new home? Some have simple solutions: your dog might love car rides, you fish is already in a (glass) box, your cat has a carrier, and you’d never stop hugging your pet sloth, so they’ll just go with you. Large animals may require special transportation, and hyper or nervous ones may require special attention or even medication. It’s important to plan ahead, because I promise you no matter how stressful moving is for you, it’s worse for your pets, so here are a few warnings and tips to try to make this process as smooth as possible.
WARNING: Dogs don't understand moving. Nothing will prepare you for the look on your dog's face when you start packing/moving and they just KNOW you’re planning on abandoning them forever.
Update your pet tags: The tag should include your destination location and contact phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move. Nothing is worse than losing your pet in an unfamiliar city, and this is especially vital if your animal is a car escape artist. Keep food, medication, and a first aid kit on hand: Hungry pets are agitated and unruly pets, so keeping them well-fed on the day of the move can make all the difference in behavior. Having medication and first aid handy will keep you from scrambling in case of an emergency. If you’re flying, make arrangements directly with the airline: Airlines generally have widely varying rules and regulations for when and how pets can fly. Some may offer to let smaller pets in carriers stay with you on the plane, or make all pets go in the cargo bay; which while necessary this is also usually the most stressful way for your pet to travel.
Visit the veterinarian before you leave: Your vet will have useful knowledge on your pets’ specific needs, and can prescribe medication or make grooming recommendations as needed. Also see if they have an opinion on where to take your pet for routine medical visits at your destination. Spoil your pet through this stressful time: Pets are sadly often some of the last things on your mind during a move. They may begin to feel unloved and neglected which can bring about extra stress and bad behavior. So spoil them; let your pet sleep in the bed, give them extra attention or longer walks, provide new toys and their favorite treats. Pampering your animals will remind them that you are not, in fact, leaving them to forever fend for themselves. At best it will improve your pets’ mood and behavior for the move, and at worst it will be you bribing them as an apology for stressing them out.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will be well on your way to your new home with a healthy and happy pet.
Sad dog picture by saratogajean on Flickr.
Kitten pilot picture by shellac on Flickr.