Moving with pets: Avoid these common mistakes
It is every pet owner’s responsibility to keep their pet happy and safe at all times. There are times when this task is more difficult than usual. The days preceding and following a house move are not ordinary days. During this period, life becomes a little more chaotic and stressful, not only for the owners, but also for the pets. Pets feel that something is going on but we cannot talk to them and explain what is happening. However, there are ways we can ease the transition from one home to another. We’ve put together some of the most common mistakes owners make when moving with pets, so you’ll know what to avoid during the process.
Picking a home that isn’t pet-friendly
When choosing a new home for your family, you should keep in mind both your pets’ current needs and potential future needs. For example, most dog breeds require regular outdoor exercise. There should be a fenced-in yard or a nearby park for walking your four-legged friends and playing with them. Also, checking for possible escape routes is an important task to do before moving in. And remember that dogs can jump higher than we think.
A home near a busy street can be dangerous even if you only have indoor pets. You’ll need to be extra cautious if you pick a home near a road with a lot of traffic because your pets could get lose.
Furthermore, consider things like pools and stairs when selecting a home. A lot of people love pools and multiple-story houses; unfortunately, both features can present hazards for pets.
Make sure your backyard is safe before moving with pets.
Not updating your pets’ ID information
Having your pets microchipped is a must, and so is making sure the information is always up-to-date. People are often so busy when moving house that they forget about updating their pets’ microchip and ID. Returning a lost pet to its owner gets very complicated if their address and phone number are incorrect. Bear in mind that pets are more likely to run away during a house move. Even if your pets don’t normally wear a tag with their name and phone number inside the house, they should wear one during the move.
Washing their stuff before moving with pets
Familiar scents can help relieve your pets’ anxiety. A house move seems like a great time to clean your possessions. And that is true when it comes to your own stuff. No one should take a dirty carpet or a greasy stove to a new home. However, when it comes to your pets’ belongings, washing them is one of the most common moving mistakes. Avoid washing or throwing away their toys, beds, blankets, water bowls or litter boxes. These familiar objects and their familiar smells will bring your pets some comfort.
Dogs are calmer around familiar smells.
Keeping pets in the house during the move
Moving with pets is easier and safer when they are not around on moving day. Pets can get scared or even hurt during a move, so it is best to keep them away. They should stay elsewhere (a friend’s home or a pet daycare) for the day until you finish moving furniture and other heavy items. Alternatively, they can stay in a room where movers are not allowed. Just place a ’’Do not enter’’ sign on the door and make sure your pets have enough food and water.
Not preparing for a long-distance journey
Moving with pets long-distance requires additional preparation. In case your move involves a long drive, you’ll need to think about your pets’ needs during the trip.
- Do not feed your pets just before setting off to avoid travel sickness. It is alright to give them a few cat/dog treats to help with the stress though.
- Bring a pet travel bowl and enough water for your pets.
- Bring their favorite blanket or toy and comfort them if they act nervous.
- If you drive to your new home, make frequent stops along the way. Keep your pets in their carrier when stopping in case they try to escape.
- When moving to a new country or continent, make sure you check the country’s legal requirements for moving with pets well in advance. If you have to fly there, check with the airline what your options are.
Not introducing your pets to the neighbors
Introduce your pets to your new neighbors as soon as possible. The neighbors should know what they look like and the pets should get familiar with these new people. Give the neighbors your phone number in case a pet gets lost. Explain that they are still adjusting and apologize if the dogs bark too often.
In case your pet gets lost, always have their microchip numbers, medical records, and newer photos on hand.
Changing your pets’ surroundings too much
Both cats and dogs like having a sense of familiarity. Still, most dogs adjust quickly to new surroundings as long as their owners are around, while cats are more territorial and feel safest in familiar places. Moving home may cause unusual cat behavior, such as hiding and anxiety.
Therefore, the less you change, the better. Try to arrange your furniture and everything else so that the new home feels similar to the old home. Pack your pets’ stuff last when packing for the move, unpack it first when you arrive, and put it in a similar place to one where it used to be.
Changing your pets’ daily routine
Both cats and dogs like routines. Therefore, keep the same schedule they have always had. Regular walk times, feeding schedules, play activities, and other familiar activities will bring a sense of stability in their lives.
Watch your pets closely as they adjust!
After moving with pets, it is recommendable to watch them closely as they explore their new home. A new home and neighborhood can be overwhelming for a pet. Introduce your new home to your pets gradually, one room at a time, instead of letting them run around the whole place. And don’t forget those treats!