With moving comes packing, unpacking and everything else that makes relocating to your new home stressful. And while you may have the fortitude to withstand the stress, your furry friends might find it very unsettling. The good news, however, is that you can make the moving process much more bearable for your pets. How you might ask? Well it’s easy, all you have to do is adhere to these simple tips;
Brace yourself – and your pet
Pets have the unique ability to sense the emotional state of their owners; it’s why your cat buddy cuddles up to you (even when no one else will) when you come down with the flu. In the same manner, your pets will most likely pick up on any bits of anxiety, franticness or anger you let loose during the moving period; to prevent this, it is imperative that you stay calm. TripsWithPets.com Kim Salerno summarises the importance of maintaining your cool in an email correspondence with the New York Times;
‘It’s about letting your pet know that you will keep things stable and under control, which allows him to worry less,’
Try to start the prepping and packing early and take breaks throughout the process with your pet as this will alleviate stress for you and them.
Introduce your pet to its makeshift home
And by makeshift home, we mean your pet’s kennel, cage or carrying crate. Whichever way you choose to ferry your pets as you move, it’s vital that they are comfortable with the setting even before the D-day. In the words of Rebecca Wallwork, columnist for Vetstreet.com;
‘A crate is a pet’s home during transport. Getting them used to it early can help relieve stress.’
The first step to getting them comfy is selecting a suitable and correspondingly comfortable enclosure. Once that’s settled, set up the enclosure at home and encourage them to take naps or entire night rests in it. Don’t forget to incentivize them with treats.
Continue with this until your pet earmarks the enclosure as its new makeshift home.
From experience, we’ve found that it’s good practice to send your pets in their temporary housing to somewhere without the shake-ups that accompany the final D-day packing; could be your friend’s place or even the vet’s office. Once you’re through and ready to move simply pick them up and head off on your trip.
Planning your road or air trip
If you’re moving by road prepare to make a few pit stops on the way, this allows your pets time to pass out wastes. It’s also a good way for them to get a breath of fresh air. Don’t forget to pack up the water and food. And depending on the moving distance and your pet’s needs you might also require a few on-the-road pet care extras. AirHeart pet hospital recommends packing; a collapsible water bowl, extra dry kibbles and treats, a small blanket, extra poop bags, an empty water bottle, and prescription medications when traveling by air. This applies to land travels also.
Be conscious of where you place your pets as you drive, make certain that they are secured in place in a ventilated area and as far from the windows as is possible.
Moving by air
Unlike land trips, air travel can be a tad bit complex. Although many airlines do allow for under seat carriage of small pets, bigger pets will most likely fly as cargo. In both cases you’re required to pay a fee, the latter being more expensive. Note that depending on the carrier, many other rules and regulations still apply. Word on the marble from DR Patty Khuly of Vetstreet is to always verify your airline’s pet policies before the actual of day flight; ‘you’d be surprised at how much you need to know if you’re planning to take your pet aboard a plane,’ she says.
Finally, getting settled in
Sure, you might feel the need to slide onto your new couch and doze for hours on end. Moving is tiring, we understand, but the moment you arrive at your new home is perhaps when your pets need you most. The melange of new smells and scenery can be hard to take in at once, help it settle in by unpacking and setting up their space, ideally at the point you’d want it to be in the long term.
Once you’re rested completely, you can then go on to do some home touring and neighborhood sightseeing. By now your pet should be getting tuned to its new environment, and if that’s not the case, give it time, some pets might need a few more days to settle in properly.