Sit, Stay, Move: Getting Your Pets Through a Family Move

September 15, 2016


We all love our fur babies. They’re like members of the family, and we treat them just as we would anyone with who we love to spend time. Though it may seem like a pet is the last one who would react adversely to moving to a new home, animals often suffer from serious stress related to moving.
Even if they cannot communicate what they are feeling to you, your pets are just as likely as children are to respond to the stresses of moving by acting out. Not only can your pet feel their own stress about boxes being packed and new environments, but they can also sense your stress about the move.
Thankfully, there are some terrific, tried, and true ways to calm your pet's anxiety (as well as your own) and ensure that they arrive at your new home safe, sound, and stress-free.
Before you consider packing up Fido and moving him to a new house, you need to be sure that your dogs, cats, and larger birds are microchipped. One of the most common animal stress reactions to moving is to run away. Sometimes they are simply looking to explore their new area; sometimes they are simply trying to find their way back to their old home.
If they are not already chipped, be sure to discuss microchipping with your veterinarian before your move. If your dog, cat, or bird are already microchipped, now is the time to call up the chip provider and update your home information. Most pet microchip companies allow you to update your information ahead of time to begin on moving day.
Just as you would microchip your dog or cat, be sure that your pet has a properly fitted collar with tags that reflect your new address. If you are unsure of how long your move will take, many people choose to put a temporary sticker on their pet’s tag with their name but the veterinarian’s phone number and address so that the pet can be identified if brought in.
Organize your pet’s veterinary paperwork and keep it in a safe place with other valuable papers to ensure that it makes the move and can easily be found in an emergency. Microchip numbers, licenses, spay/neuter certificates, and a recent photo of your pet should be bundled together for quick access.
Pack an overnight bag for your pets that includes their food, toys, and other favorite things to make them feel at home in their new place.
Watching their family pack up their belongings is very stressful for animals and can cause anxiety. Once the moving day comes and strangers begin moving those boxes out of the house and slowly emptying them, your pet's stress level can be too high for them to deal with. Dogs will often bark, whine, scratch, and try to get out of the house during a move. Cats use the opportunity to slip away too, and with the chaos of moving day, it may be a long while before you even notice they are gone.
If you can put your pet into boarding on moving day, it can reduce their stress as much as your own. Barring a kennel, pets can be kept in a quiet, empty room with some form of entertainment. The less the animal is introduced to the chaos outside of the room, the calmer they will be. Be sure to give them food and water, and pop in a few times during the day to let them know they’re not alone.
When you arrive at your new home with your pet, be sure to introduce them to their new home environment slowly and allow them to adapt to it at their own pace. Secluding them in a new environment will only serve to stress them out more, so be sure that they know that you are there with them should they need a loving cuddle. Give them the things they are familiar with, like their bed, litter box, toys, and blankets, and soon enough they will know that they are right at home. 


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