Moving a household can be stressful for the family. The four-legged canine & feline members of your family need all of your love and understanding, especially during a move. Transporting reptiles, birds, fish, and small mammals also require careful thought. With a little strategy and patience, you and your pets can make a smooth transition from your old home to your new home. Here are some helpful tips on moving with pets to keep everyone happy & healthy before, during, and after the move.
Health: It is very important to contact your veterinarian. You will want to make sure all vaccinations are up to date and your pet's medications have refills. You will want to request a copy of your pet's health records if you are moving to a new area and have a new veterinarian. Your current vet will have some advice specific to your pet to help make a move less stressful for everyone, and they might have a recommendation for a new vet (if you are moving out of the area).
Routine: Keep your pets comfortable and happy by keeping a consistent routine during the entire moving process. Daily feedings, walks and playtime should happen like clockwork each and every day without question.
Boxes: Get those moving boxes early and put them together. You don’t need to fill them up right away. Your curious furry companions will benefit from a slow introduction to moving day. Cats do not like change, and some dogs need time to adjust. Living with the boxes will help let them know something is about to change.
Packing & Unpacking: Be sure you don’t pack the dog toys, cat toys, treats, and their favorite items in the boxes until the last possible minute. When you move into your new home unpack their items first. Having their favorite things available right away will help them feel more comfortable in new and strange surroundings.
The Big Trip: Some dogs and cats are great travelers. Some are not. If your pets are new to travel, prepare ahead of time by getting them used to their travel crates in their familiar home environment. You can start by serving their meals in the crate with the door open. When they begin to feel more comfortable with the crate you can serve them meals in the crate with the door closed. Some dogs are great travelers and don’t need a crate. Be sure to pack their favorite blanket and provide a good spot to relax in the vehicle: when traveling by car.
Smaller animals require careful consideration for traveling. Be sure to remove heavy objects from the cages of small mammals and provide ventilation and shade. Fish will travel best in plastic bags with water from their tanks. Put your fish, in plastic bags with oxygen and water, in a styrofoam container and monitor the temperature accordingly. Reptiles will appreciate an option to keep themselves warm: a hot water bottle works well for larger snakes. When traveling by car, bird cages should be properly secured in your vehicle and have both shade and ventilation.
For long distance moves, you may want to hire a pet transportation company. They specialize in moving pets. Each company has different requirements to prepare your pet for the trip. You will want to contact the company as early as possible so you will have time to follow their guidelines and keep cool, calm, and collected for the entire process. Your pets will be picking up their cues from you. You want those cues to be reassuring: cool, calm, and collected!
One Room Only: The ASPCA recommends selecting one room in your new home and placing your pet's water, food, litter box (for cats), treats, and toys in that room. When your pets start to feel comfortable in one room you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house. This is a gradual process. Leave doors closed on rooms that are not on the daily tour. You can move litter boxes to a more permanent location once cats start to feel at home, but it is best to move them slowly over time: just one foot forward per day.
Safety: You will want to make your new home safe for your pets. Be certain there are no pest-control poisons or traps, or any other unsafe materials they can get a hold of. Doors and windows should be secure. If there are houseplants in the home from the prior owners, confirm they are not toxic to your animals (when in doubt, throw the plants out or find them another home).
Dog Parks & Family Fun: Don’t forget to visit the new dog park, take your dog for a hike on a new trail in the local state park or go paddle-boarding on the lake: provided those are activities your dog enjoys. There will be new friends, new smells, and plenty of squirrels to hold your canine companion’s attention when you find the perfect home in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire or Vermont. Get out there and have some fun!