Statistically, moving is counted as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Imagine, then, how stressful moving is for pets who are uprooted from their normal lives.
Fortunately, you can make the process of moving much less stressful on both you and your pet by following a few simple rules.
Prepare for your move in advance
Start packing for your move at least a few weeks in advance. By packing early, you’re going to have less chaos on moving day which will allow you to be more relaxed and, in turn, will help keep your pet calm.
Follow your pet’s normal routine
Keep your pet’s routine as close to normal as possible in the days leading to your move, including the day of and the days after your move. Feed her at her normal times, if possible, and take her for her walks, if applicable, at the same time as you always do. Following your pet’s normal routine will help curb her stress.
Pack your pet a suitcase or box
Whether you’re driving or flying to your new home, make sure you bring along a suitcase or box with your pet’s necessities, including her food and water bowl, her leash (if applicable), her toys, and her bed. That way, when you get to your new home, she’ll have everything she needs to start acclimating to her new environment.
Consider your pet on moving day
Even when you prepare in advance, moving day is bound to be busier and more chaotic than a normal day. Because your pet will sense that something is happening and may be scared, consider keeping her in a room – with her bed, food and water, and toys – away from the bustle of the day.
If you’d rather not have your pet in the house on moving day, consider having a family member or friend take care of your pet until your moving van is packed and you’re ready to leave.
Know the laws
If you’re moving to another state, know the laws of that state. To determine what is required when moving to another state, contact that state’s State Department of Animal Husbandry. Most states require that all dogs have health certificates when moving from another state.
Request that your veterinarian give you a copy of your pet’s medical records, a health certificate, and a certificate to verify that your pet is up-to-date with all of her shots. If your pet is not current on her shots, make an appointment before you move so she can get her shots.
Get new pet tags (if applicable)
Purchase new pet tags – with your new address and phone number – for your pet prior to your scheduled moving day, and make sure the tags are on your pet’s collar.
Traveling by air?
If you’re going to be traveling by air to your new home, you’ll likely want your pet to fly in the cabin with you. Since most pet-friendly airlines have only limited spaces for pets on each flight, book your flight as far in advance as possible.
Additionally, ask an airline representative about any pet carrier requirements the airline may have. All pet-friendly airlines have rules about pet carriers, such as that a pet must remain in her carrier under the seat for the duration of the flight, so know what your chosen airline’s rules and regulations are before you fly.
Traveling by car?
If you’ll be moving by car and your pet isn’t used to traveling this way, prepare her ahead of time. Start by taking short trips of around five to ten minutes, and work your way up to longer trips. Always ensure your pet is secure in the car, whether it’s in a carrier or a safety device specially designed for your type of pet (i.e. a dog).
Keep plenty of fresh water in your car for your pet, especially if you’re going on a long trip, and never leave your pet alone in the car when you stop.