My daughter has a dog, and it has lived with us for many years! When Karissa got married, her husband had a dog as well, and the two dogs did not get alone. So, Karissa’s dog came back to live with Jeff and I, and it totally made me stop and think. Humans have a hard time adjusting to change during a move, so why don’t pets? I did some research and I quickly found that your pets can easily experience stress and anxiety in the middle of a move. It is important to pay a little extra attention to those furry friends as you pack and unpack. I put together some practical tips for moving with pets that I have picked up along the way:
- Keep their surroundings familiar. Pets are very aware of their surroundings and when they are in an unfamiliar place, they are easily stressed. When packing your house, it is helpful to keep the pets in one room throughout the packing process and save that one for last. This way, they are able to stay somewhere they know is “safe” for as long as possible. When arriving at your new home, though it may be tempting to allow your pet to immediately explore the entire place, the best way to keep your pet’s anxiety at bay is to allow them to get familiar with one room first. This is “their room,” where they can find their food and water, their sleeping mat, and other items that mean “home” to them. Once they are comfortable there, you can begin slowly introducing them to other rooms of the house. This would also include other animals in the territory. Slowly introduce them to each other. I have learned that they are like humans – they need time to get to know one another.
- Pack a care kit. This is key to your sanity (as well as your pet’s!) as you shuffle through the craziness of moving! This kit should include food, water, kitty litter, treats, blankets, toys and grooming tools. The goal here is to have everything they will need for a few days in easy access, so that you can rest assured that you have everything you need to care for them in the middle of the packing and unpacking. It takes the pressure off you and makes it easy to tend to the needs of your pet.
- Give them a day away. This isn’t an option for every move but is helpful when it is possible! If you are only moving a short distance, allowing your pet to spend the day with a trusted friend or family member can alleviate unnecessary stress on moving day! They can enjoy themselves instead of being caught in the shuffle of the day, coming back to you at the end of it to discover their new home in peace.
- Update their tags. The identification information on your dog’s or cat’s collar should be updated as quickly as possible. Although this is something that is easy to put off and not prioritize in the middle of a move, I highly recommend doing it as quickly as possible. You may even want to order their new tags a few weeks before you move so that you don’t forget about it. It is natural for pets to try to find their way back to their old home after a move, feeling a sense of misplacement initially. This instinct doesn’t take long to subside as they take ownership of a new space, but it is wise to make sure the phone number and address on their tag is accurate, just in case!
Pets bring such a fun dynamic to the family and are the source of so many sweet memories and stories. Including them in your move is worth the extra attention and planning and can even keep the move exciting for the rest of the family as you watch your furry friend adapt to its new surroundings. I hope these tips are helpful in a low-stress and enjoyable moving experience with your well-loved animals! I would love to hear personal stories you may have regarding your furry friends. Here’s to making their move comfortable, too.