24 Jun

2014

Cassidy's Moving and Storage

Moving With Pets: Make Things Easier For Both Of You

Moving can be a big change for people, but it can be even harder on pets who don’t really understand what’s going on. It’s sometimes easy to forget that our animal companions see the world very differently than we do. Dogs, having a pack-centred outlook, generally deal easier with moving that cats who are connected more to their territory, but either can have difficulty.

The tips below should help make the transition as easily as possible. Having a moving schedule that allows for a longer, more gradual transition will help your pet get used to the upheaval. It will also help them by helping you: when you’re organized and not as stressed your pet will be able to turn to you for reassurance.

In the hustle and bustle of preparation, your dog or cat can end up being neglected, which adds to the stress caused by the changes happening around them. Be understanding, and remember that they are under stress and may behave very differently as a result. Above all remember to keep giving your friend lots of love and attention to help them get through the transition.

Before You Buy or Rent

  • If you’re moving into a condo or apartment, make sure it’s pet friendly. Some do not allow animals.

Before You Move

  • Pay a visit to your vet and get a thorough check up for your cat or dog. If you’re moving far away enough that you’re changing vets, ask for a copy of your pet’s records, especially vaccinations. In most places, tags are not enough, especially for rabies.
  • Your vet may be able to provide a recommendation for a new vet if you’re changing locales.
  • Stock up on any prescriptions your pet may need so that you’re not scrambling to resupply during or right after your move.
  • Make sure you have enough of your pet’s food to see them through the first little while in the new home. If you can’t find the same brand in your new home, it’s better to transition them gradually to the new food by mixing in some of the old.
  • If your pet is going to be spending any time in a carrier, take it out of storage and leave it out where your pet can smell it and get used to it. This familiarity will make being inside the carrier more comfortable, and will make getting your pet inside faster and easier. You want your cat or dog to view the carrier as a place of refuge.
  • Make sure you have a way to give your pet water and food in the carrier. Also make sure you have a way to keep the carrier as dry as possible if your pet has an accident – a soft pile of old towels or a diaper on the bottom of the carrier should do the trick. Even if your pet is normally reliable, under stress and during long periods of confinement your pet may have no other choice.
  • Make sure your pet’s nails are trimmed before the move, and take your dog to the groomer for a thorough washing. When confined and under stress, their normal scent may become very strong, which may not be a wonderful thing during a long car drive.
  • Identify things your pet will need on the road and in the first few days in the new home, and set them aside in their own case. Don’ let them get packed with your other belongings.
  • If you’re not moving far, taking a dog to visit the new home before the move can help them get used to it.

Moving Long Distances

  • If you’ve got a long way to travel, ask your vet for a sedative, and make sure you know what dosage to give. The exception: many vets recommend that you do not sedate pets who are traveling by air in the cargo area.
  • Make sure you understand how procedures work if you are shipping your pet by air, rail, or any other method in which you won’t be around. For example, sometimes vaccinations have to occur within a certain time window close to the move date. If you’re changing countries, there is often a quarantine period.
  • Know what vaccines are required in your new locale, and have your pet innoculated in advance.
  • If you’re traveling by car and will need to stay in a motel, make sure you know what their policy is for pets, and what the fine print is for any damage. Bear in mind they may want to replace the carpet if there’s an accident, not just clean it. For pet friendly motels, you may want to know what the housekeeping schedule is if you let your pet out of the carrier. A nice tip will help ensure the pet friendly policy stays that way.

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Moving Day

  • If you’re not moving a long distance, consider boarding your pet on move day to prevent undue stress and possible escape.
  • For pets who are staying with you, keep to your normal routine as much as possible. When everything else is in chaos, a regular feeding time and walking time will help reassure your pet.
  • You may also want to keep your pet in an emptied room while the truck is being loaded. Let your movers know about your pet and where they are, and not to let them out.
  • Keep an eye on how much food and water they consume, as cats and dogs can sometimes stop eating and drinking when under stress. Encourage them to take water, at least.

In Your New Home

Your pet will likely be very stressed for several days after the move, and may still be adapting over the weeks that follow.

  • If possible, move your boxes in to your home before you bring in your pet. If this isn’t feasible, keep them contained in one room during the noise and chaos.
  • Before you give your pet the run of the house, check for anything they that might harm them. The same will go for your yard.
  • With cats, try to keep them confined to one quiet room for the first few days (even if they’re an outdoor cat), along with their food, favourite toys, and their litter box. Be sure to visit often. Once they’ve had some time to get used to the strange smells and sounds, you can start giving them access to larger areas of the home.
  • Know your pet’s body language. Make sure you give your pet enough attention (play is especially helpful), but also provide quiet alone time too if they need it.
  • If your pet has tags or a microchip, make sure the address information is brought up to date.

While this list will help get you started, it’s a good idea to consult a more thorough guidebook on dog or cat care that will offer more detailed information on helping your friend make a happier transition to their new home.

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