If you feel a little stressed about moving, imagine how your pet might feel with the hubbub and change in environment. Pet relocation can be very unsettling. Here are a few pointers to help put your pet at ease during a move.
1. Before moving day, put a collar with ID tag on your pet. If your pet happens to escape, this will make it possible for anyone who finds it to contact you. A microchip is also a good idea—foolproof should the collar come off.
2. Cats and small dogs should travel in a secure pet carrier with good ventilation. Consider a tough plastic carrier, resistant to determined claws. If your dog is too big for a carrier, keep it on a leash when you travel.
3. Keep the pet carrier in the family room for a week or two before the move. Put a familiar blanket and toy inside it and leave the door open so your pet can go in and out. This will help it get accustomed to the carrier as a safe place.
4. For a bigger dog, acclimate it to car travel during the weeks before the move. Short, fun trips, such as outings to the park, will help your pet associate the car with positive experiences. Employ a safety harness that attaches to the seat belt and allows your dog to stand or sit while in the car.
5. If your pet has had problems with motion sickness in the past, ask your veterinarian to prescribe preventive medicine and for recommendations about feeding to head off any ill effects of travel.
6. Keep an up-to-date health record of your pet with you when you travel. You may be asked to show it, for example, during a routine traffic stop. Without it, you could be subject to legal penalty.
7. On moving day, packing and loading can agitate your pet. Ask if a friend or relative will watch your animals. If you can't find someone to watch your furry friend, keep your pet in its carrier and/or in a secure space away from the action, such as a fenced yard or an empty bedroom.
8. Never let your pet ride in the back of a pickup truck, the trunk of a car, in a cargo carrier, or in the cargo section of a van. When you make a rest stop, let your pet make a rest stop and give it fresh water.
9. If you are staying overnight en route to your new home, do the research online to locate and reserve pet-friendly lodging so no member of your family gets left “out in the cold.”
10. Pack a bag for your pet with its favorite food and plenty of the water it is used to. Cats typically can go for eight to ten hours between bathroom breaks; it’s a good idea to keep a disposable litter box on hand. Have some extra towels, too, just in case of accidents.
With planning and care, your pet relocation can be a good experience. If you have questions, please ask us. While Ernie’s Van & Storage can’t personally move your pet, we have helped many families over the years with advice and professional referrals for moving all kinds of animals.
Want more tips on moving pets? Check out How to Move Pets from Atlas.