Moving with Pets
Dogs and cats are creatures of habit. Even though they eventually adjust to new settings, a new home is a very significant change in their world and can be quite disconcerting. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce the anxiety of the transition for these very special members of your household.
- In your new home, place things like litter boxes, food dishes and toys in familiar places. For example if you kept the water dish in the kitchen in your old house, put it there in the new house—at least at first. Don’t make any major changes right away. Also, maintain the same feeding, grooming and walking schedules.
- Cats especially do not handle change very well. Even the appearance of moving boxes, let alone the commotion of moving day, can be extremely traumatic. If your cat is comfortable being with a friend on moving day that would be best. If not, confine the cat to the room that will have the least amount of change and activity that day. At the new house, only allow your cat to explore the house gradually—expose and give them access to one new room at a time over a 2-3 day period.
- Dogs generally are more adaptable but it is important to keep them confined and out of the way on moving day so they don’t run away or get underfoot. As soon as you arrive at your new house, take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood so they can get acclimated to new sounds and smells.
Here are some other things to consider when relocating with pets:
- Make pet ID tags with your new address ahead of time and make the change the day of the move.
- Identify a new veterinarian ahead of time. Obtain your pet’s health records from your current veterinarian and ask if he or she can help you identify a good vet in your new neighborhood.
- Research pet licensing requirements and other pet-related regulations in your new state and town.
- Set up a get-acquainted appointment with your new vet for 1-2 weeks after you arrive when your pet has already acclimated somewhat.
Spend a little extra time with your pets in the first few days at the new location. A little reassurance and a slow and steady acclimation process will help your pet through the moving process with a minimum of psychic trauma—and that will be a big relief for everyone!
For more information, please take a minute to review the ASPCA’s insightful guidance about how to help your pets through what could be one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives—moving!