Pets are a hugely important part of our families and lives, so it’s no surprise that ensuring their comfort while moving is a major priority. It is stressful enough for us as people, so imagine how hard it must be for them – not understanding what is happening or why. However, there are a number of things that can be done to help enhance the comfort of your furry friend during your move by car to a new home. If you have to move by plane, it’s a totally different scenario, and we recommend you check out this website with information about flying with pets.
One step to ensure the long term safety and happiness of your pet is to know any legal regulations that may apply to your animal. This is particular true if you have a large or exotic pet. For example:
- State rules: each state has its own laws and regulations about pets
- Requirements for rabies tags
- Apartment or community rules about pets, pet sizes, or other restrictions
- Local ordinances, like leash laws
To help your transition be more peaceful and enjoyable for the two and four-legged members of your family, be sure to follow these 5 tips for moving with pets:
Prepare and portion enough meals and toys for a few days. It won’t be practical to be dragging a 25lb bag of dog food with you in the car, so instead use Tupperware or paper bags of pre-portioned meals for your pet. Be sure to back enough for moving day and for the first few days in your new home. Don’t forget a water bowl! Put it all in a backpack that can be easily fit in the car and grabbed on the go.
Talk to your vet. Before you move, talk to your vet about what you can do to make your pet more comfortable or if they have any recommendations for vaccines or other preventative medicine. It may even be that your new state requires proof of inoculation, so be sure to find out before you go (and get any vaccines you may be missing, of course). If your pet tends to get a little carsick or stressed out, they may be able to give you medicine to help ease these symptoms.
Keep your pet safe with proper ID and tags. Make sure to have all your records up-to-date and tags with your current name and phone number in case your pet gets loose. Consider micropchipping your pet if you haven’t already and be sure to keep recent photos on your phone. Be extra careful to keep your pet on a leash and to close all doors securely behind you if your pet isn’t safely locked away behind a gate or in a room.
Plan ahead for the drive itself. Get a collapsible water bottle, comfortable place in the car, a towel, a leash (or two) and a few treats. Don’t feed or water your pet right before driving and just give them a little bit to drink during your breaks. If you’ve got a cross country drive, be sure to book hotels ahead of time that you know are pet friendly. Don’t want to book ahead? Keep a list of pet friendly options along your route and call ahead when you’re getting close.
Create familiar surroundings when you arrive. Try to have a room set up for your pet that is quiet, away from the action, and has familiar toys from ‘home’. These reminders and scents of their previous environment will help them to settle in better to their new home. Having a safe and quiet space will greatly improve your pet’s adjustment to their new surroundings and can also help to keep them away from open doors when you’re moving furniture in.
Moving can be a very stressful experience for all involved, but by taking a little extra time and effort, it is possible to make it less so. These tips will help you to not only have a smooth arrival with your pet, but also ensure that your time on the road goes as seamlessly as possible. And besides, once you’re settled into your new home, it’ll all be worth it!
Do you also have kids that are going to have to adjust to your new location? Check out our tips for moving with school age children. Are you looking for a home in Northern Virginia? Contact me to begin your search today.