Moving with pets

Moving is a big decision and it can be stressful for the entire family, including the family pet. Each pet is unique and will react to this situation in their own way - some with little impact, others somewhat traumatized. One thing is certain and that is taking precautions with relocating a pet minimizes stress for everyone and lowers the risk of injury. We are going to address primarily dogs and cats – and suggest you explore additional articles depending on the type of pet you have.

Never move your pet in the same truck or van with furniture. This can be very stressful for the animal and a couple of bumps on the road can have catastrophic consequences.

Depending on how far you are moving and what means of transportation you will be using; there are different things you can do to keep your beloved pet safe and comfortable. If your pet has a chronic medical condition, you should visit your veterinarian before you move to get a consult and necessary meds. This is also a good time to get any required vaccinations.

In addition, if you are going for a long drive, if you are using new and unfamiliar means of transportation, and especially if you are flying, you should consult your veterinarian about using sedatives for your pet. Other than health concerns during the trip, make sure you bring some of your pet’s favorite food and favorite toys. This can help minimize the stress for both you and your pet when you finally get to your new home.

If you’re transporting your pet in a carrier, the carrier needs to be big enough so the animal can turn around inside it and have some food and water available. For shorter trips and especially if you know your pet gets car sick, avoid giving food as it will probably cause the animal to vomit. If you are traveling by land, make sure you take breaks so both you and the animal can stretch your legs and take care of business. If you have to make stops overnight, make sure the places you’ll be staying at are pet-friendly. Groom the animal a few days or a week before your move so it doesn’t smell or shed a lot and so it doesn’t get your car dirty.

Spend some extra quality time with the animal to make sure it feels loved during this stressful time. When you get to your new home, check if there are some potential dangers for your pet before letting it explore the area. Get his/her favorite toys out and make sure you do not spoil the routine you had in your old home. Your pet can be confused with the new surrounding; this can have a more serious effect on cats, less serious on dogs, or on your goldfish or parrot.