Moving to a New Home with Pets

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Bedolaga

We love our pets, but when it’s time to move to a new home, the change of scenery can be stressful for everyone involved. While over half of all households in America owning a pet, most people tend to overlook this important member of the family when planning for a move. When you remove a pet from familiar surroundings and introduce them to a new home, yard and neighborhood with strange animals, smells and sounds they might get a bit stressed out. Don’t despair, though. Just like helping children prepare for a new home, you can set the stage for a smooth move for your pet. Here are a few ideas that might help.

Pack your pet’s possessions last: Packing away your dog’s favorite toys or moving your cat’s favorite climbing tree may seem like a non-issue to you, but it can be upsetting to your pet. Since you can’t explain to your pet that he will get his toys back, it’s better to leave them untouched until the last day. The best time to move them is when you move him.

Avoid interrupting the pet’s schedule: Pets thrive on routine. When you turn it upside down, they may not handle it well. To keep the stress level low, try to keep meal time and exercise time close to the same as always. Play with your pet every chance you get, and try not to ignore them even though you might feel overwhelmed with to-do lists.

Visit your veterinarian: The next step is to pay a visit to your veterinarian. Ask for copies of your pet’s health history so that you can easily transition to a new vet when you move. Make sure you know dates of most recent vaccinations. Having a current vaccination record will make it easier to transfer to a new vet and will also expedite care in case of an emergency during the move.

Update microchips and tags: If your pet has a microchip, update address and contact information. If your pet has tags on his or her collar, have new tags made with the updated address.

Create a familiar area in the new home: Pets are automatically attracted to the familiar. Make your new home as comfortable as possible. Create a special area for your pet with his familiar bed, toys, water bowls and food that is well away from the hustle-and-bustle of moving crews. Also, help your pet adjust to the new space by playing and cuddling with him so he can relax and start to enjoy the new home.

Take a walk: Once you are settled in, take your pet for a walk around the neighborhood to become familiar with the new sights, smells and surroundings and possible make some new animal (and people!) friends along the way.

This checklist provides a good guideline for helping your pet experience a smooth transition to a new home, but remember that you know your pet best. Pay attention to their behavior, give them lots of love, and you’ll all be well on your way to loving your new home together.