According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, there are 8.2 million dogs and 8.3 million cats residing in Canadian households. Overall, 61% of Canadians own a pet. There is no denying that there are a lot of pet owners in Canada, but many are unaware of what to do with pets on moving day.

Moving can be a stressful time for all pets including dogs, cats, fish and birds. Whether you’re moving short or long distance, thinking about your pets well being is as important as thinking about the move itself. That is why we have put together this handy guide on how to make it easier on your pets when the day of the big move arrives. 

What To Do With Your Cat When You Move?

With cats being overly curious creatures, it’s hard to move with a cat while they’re wandering off into boxes and disrupting movers. If not handled correctly, your cat can become overly stressed, act out or become an obstacle for movers.

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Create stability when moving with your cat. Do your best to stick to your cat’s familiar routine to minimize anxiety. 

On the day of the move, secure your cat in their pet carrier. Fill it with your cat’s favourite toys and blankets to create a sense of security. Don’t take your cat out at any time during the move.

According to Pet WebMD, if your efforts on calming your cat aren’t working, or you know that your cat tends to develop a lot of anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about prescribing anti-anxiety medication to ease the process.

Once you’ve moved into your new home, creating a comfortable atmosphere for your cat is crucial to avoid stress. Like some of us, cats don’t like change. When cats relocate into a new environment, look for these symptoms:

  • Increased or continual scratching
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased use of the litter box

Your first step is to choose a room to dedicate to your cat. The focus is to gradually transition your cat to the new home and create a familiar atmosphere from your previous home. To achieve this, strategically place their favourite food, water, toys and the cat’s litter box in areas in the room similar to your last home.

Don’t give your cat full access to your home right away. Once your cat is comfortable in its dedicated room, you can start opening-up rooms for it to explore. If you begin to see anxiety symptoms after this step, back up and give your cat time to warm up again in its dedicated room.

How Can I Help My Dog With Moving Anxiety?

Routine and familiarity are essential when moving with dogs. Anxiety can settle in quickly if you’re not doing all you can to comfort your dog. 

Throughout the move, keep your dog by your side at all times. You’re the person that keeps your dog grounded. With movers moving throughout the house and drastically changing the home, your dog can react to the situation poorly.

When moving with dogs, leaving them at the kennel can do more damage than good. If your dog returns from the kennel to a brand-new home, your dog can begin to stress out and react. You want to create a smooth transition, be there every step of the way to instill security and comfort during the move.

Keep your dog busy playing or walking in the park. Doing so doesn’t only keep your dog out of the way but also uses up any built-up energy that can result in excessive barking and running throughout the house.

Like cats, dogs also need hands-on direction when settling into your new home. Without proper care, your dog could become agitated and highly stressed. Dogs respond well to familiar smells and sounds, so try to keep familiar furniture and household items close to your dog.

Don’t change up the old routine. Whether that’s eating, sleeping, or exercising, your dog needs to maintain the same structure from your previous home.

How Do You Transport Fish When Moving?

Moving with a fish can appear to be a tricky challenge. Whether that’s transporting your fishbowl or 200 gallon aquarium, many potential disasters are waiting if you’re not careful during your move.

Fish are delicate pets, and a plastic bag isn’t enough. You need to create a secure space to protect your fish from unforeseen circumstances. 

1. Find A Secure Container

Find a solid container to store your fish. Cushion the surroundings of the box with bubble wrap, newspaper, foam or packing peanuts. Any way to keep the container from tipping over or breaking. 

Store larger fish in a sealable container that provides enough moving room and comfort. Make sure to secure the larger container in the car to prevent it from falling over.

2. Fill With Tank Water

When filling your container with water, use the existing water from the top your fish tank. This water is the cleanest and creates familiarity for your fish. 

3. Don’t Add Decorations In The Bag

Don’t place rocks or plants inside the same container as the fish. Since the decorations aren’t secure, they’re likely to move around and possibly hurt your fish.

4. Control The Temperature & Lighting

On route to your new home, ensure you’ve provided comfortable lighting and temperatures. One way to calm your fish during this transition is to place a sheet over the container. Creating a dark atmosphere implies its night time, a relaxing time of day for fish. 

Prepare the container according to the required temperature for your fish. Some require warmer climates and others require cooler. And depending on the season you’re moving, make adjustments to prepare for the summer heat or winter cold. Big temperature swings are the most dangerous, so keep your fish at a constant temperature as best you can.

5. Pour Your Fish Back Into The Tank

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, don’t just blop your fish into the tank, thinking you’ve completed the move. The temperature of the tank can disrupt your fish from cozying up to its new location. 

If you transported your fish in a large container, one big enough to fill the tank, slowly pour the water and fish into the cleaned tank. 

If you moved your fish in a smaller container, fill the fish tank with purified water and sit the container on top of the water. Letting the container float allows the water in the container to gradually transition to the same temperature of the tank water. When you feel the temperatures are the same, open the container and allow your fish into the tank.

How Do You Safely Transport A Bird?

Before the move, visit your veterinarian to assess the condition of your bird. Some birds may not be physically healthy enough to deal with the stress of a move. If your bird isn’t in shape for a move, your veterinarian may suggest providing medication to boost its immune system.

If the trip isn’t long and your bird is small, you can use a small cardboard box with holes to transport safely. Use a bird carrier if this is a long-distance move, or your bird is larger. These carriers can be equipped with perches and food cups to keep your bird comfortable and secure.

Place a cover over the carrier to create a dark setting for your bird; this creates a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Also, keep the temperature in your car comfortable and similar to your home’s temperature.

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