Moving can be an incredibly stressful event for you and your family. Often, we’re so wrapped up in the stress we’re feeling that we forget that this is a difficult time for our pets, too!
Pets are truly creatures of habit, and change can be very scary and unsettling for them. In addition, pets are extremely sensitive to our moods and emotions, and they are affected by all the upheaval going on inside us before a move worry about getting everything done in time, concerns about finances, fears about adjusting to a new job or a new city, sadness at saying goodbye to your old home or your friends and family… all of these things we feel are picked up by our pets, too. Then, when we pack, all they know is that not only are we upset or excited, but everything familiar to them is disappearing, too.
There are ways to ease the transition, though. First, try to maintain your pets’ normal routine as much as possible. Make sure your pets are getting enough exercise during this period remember, a tired pet is a well-adjusted, happy pet. A good, long walk or hike can do wonders for your pets’ stress levels (and yours, too!). Here are some other tips for a safe and = successful move with your pets:
Before you move:
- Find out your new city or county’s pet licensing requirements and apply for a license
- Before you pack, make a set of photocopies of your pets’ license, microchip documentation, and proof of spay/neuter and vaccines. Keep them in an envelope in your glove compartment, or in your carry-on luggage, if you’re traveling by airplane. Also keep a recent photo of your pets, in case they get lost.
- Have a new tag made for each of your pets, and attach them to their collars. Even if you don’t have a new home phone number yet, put your cell phone number or the number of a close family member on the tag. If your pet should get lost during the move, it is crucial that whoever finds him can reach somebody right away.
- Take a few minutes to locate the closest 24-hour emergency vet clinic to your new home. Any veterinary office in your new town should be able to give you this information. Print out a map and directions from your new home to the emergency vet and keep a copy in the glove compartment of all family cars. Tuck a copy into your wallet, too. Make sure you do this before you move, since you may not have phone or internet access when you first arrive—trust us, emergencies can and do occur any time. The last thing you want to do if your pet needs help is to scramble to figure out where to take him or her!
- If your pet has a microchip, call the microchip company and update your contact information.
- Pack pets’ food, dishes, and other important belongings in boxes that will be easily accessible right away, and label them clearly!