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Moving with Pets: How to Make Relocation Simpler

October 1, 2021 | Moving Guides & Tips, Packing Guides & Tips

From their favorite spot in the sun to the blanket they always snuggle with, dogs, cats and other pets become accustomed to the way their homes look, smell and feel. Moving to a new home can be difficult on everyone in the family, but for your furry companion it can be especially stressful and confusing.

Moving with pets can feel daunting, but there are ways that you can ease the stress on your loved animal. To help your move go smoothly for both you and your pet, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks. We understand that every move and every pet is different, but we hope this general guide will give you a few ideas on how to make the experience easier on the whole family.

How Do Pets React To Moving? 

It’s the week or two before your moving day, and by this point a good amount of your things are packed away and ready for relocation. There’s no doubt that your pet has noticed this change and that they’ve seen you packing and moving things around. Understandably, this can make your pet pretty stressed or upset, no matter how easy going they’re usually known to be. 

Dogs, cats, and other pets alike are highly sensitive, and also territorial. They need to be comfortable and secure in their environment and routine to be comfortable at all, so when they sense that not only their owner is under stress or exhibits anxious body language, they immediately pick up on that. Combine that with the physical things in their home being moved around, packed up or otherwise disappearing, and it’s a surefire way to get them stressed, confused, or anxious as well.

Tips for Moving with Pets

You love your pet and you’ll do anything you can to keep them from feeling too overwhelmed during your move. Follow these tips to keep your furry friend happy: 

Before the Move

  1. Contact Your Vet

Check with your vet about any necessary medications, tips for keeping your pet calm during the move and even recommendations on vets in your new area. This way, you can feel confident that you’re setting your pet up for success and you’ll be taking them to a trusted and reliable vet wherever you’re headed!

  1. Get Your Pet Used to Being in a Vehicle

This tip is especially important if you’re moving across the country with your pet. Before the big day, take your pet with you on shorter car rides so they can get used to being in your vehicle. Plus, this will give you the chance to see how they react in the car so you can better prepare for moving day.

  1. Put Together an Overnight Kit

Just like you need to put together an overnight bag for you or your kids during a move, you also need to pack one for your pet. This kit should include anything they need to be comfortable during their first night or two in the new home, including:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • A favorite toy
  • A bed or blanket
  • Grooming tools
  1. Research Pet Rules

If you’re moving to a new state or county, make sure to research the rules and regulations surrounding pet ownership, and whether or not this new area requires your pet to have additional vaccines, licenses, or certificates in order to reside with you. This is especially applicable if you’re moving abroad. Get any paperwork, vaccines or certifications handled for your pet well in advance to avoid any delays in your move. 

If you’re moving to an apartment complex or into a rental, make sure your new complex or landlord allows pets, and if so, what costs or regulations are associated with having pets in your potential new home. 

  1. Get Them Used to Moving Supplies

Even just bringing a bunch of random boxes and moving supplies suddenly into your home and throwing your things into them without abandon can seriously confuse or stress your pet out, so try to get them used to having moving supplies around before you actually start the packing process. 

Dogs in particular can get pretty spooked by the presence or the sounds that come with cardboard boxes and large rolls of tape (or just the sounds of packing in general), so introduce them to these supplies and allow them to casually hang out in your home before you actually start packing. 

Additionally, if your pet already associates your suitcase or duffel bag (or whatever bag you usually take with you when you go for a trip) with you leaving them or other going on journeys, leave these items out without paying attention to them so that your animal can get used to them, and ease their worries that you’ll be leaving them shortly.

During the Move 

On moving day itself, it’s tough to know what’s best for your pet as far as whether or not to have them around during the moving process. If you’re moving long-distance or overseas, you may not have a lot of flexibility on the matter, but you might have a lot of options if you’re moving locally. If you have the flexibility, try these tips:

  1. Don’t Involve Your Pet on the Big Day

If possible, have your pet stay with a trusted friend or family member or at a kennel during moving day. Whether you have a cat, dog, ferret or something else entirely, there’s a good chance that the hustle and bustle of moving day will stress them out. Plus, knowing that your pet is out of the way will make it easier for you and the moving company to move boxes out of the house and into the truck.

Need to Keep Your Pet Around? 

During your move, if your pet cannot be housed or taken out during the moving process by a family member or friend, make sure to keep them as close to you as possible. While movers are taking out heavy furniture or moving in or around your house, keep your pet in a carrier or on a leash close to you, and only let them out of your site if you temporarily put them in a separate room for their own safety. Otherwise, keep them by your side and reassure them as much as possible. 

  1. Keep Them in the Vehicle

When going to your new place, make sure your pet is traveling with you in your own transportation. Never put them in a moving truck or van, even if it’s up front with you. Keep them in your vehicle that they’re comfortable and familiar with, and make sure to take them out of the car frequently for bathroom breaks and water if you’re moving a longer distance. 

If you’re moving overseas, try to break up the trip over a day or two if you can to allow them out of the airport and to eat, destress and stretch properly. It may make your journey longer, but it may help your pet in the long run to not be stuck on a plane (or worse, in a baggage hold) for long periods.

After the Move

  1. Keep Their Favorites

Keep your pet’s favorite toys or belongings so they have something that feels like home once you move in. Whether it’s a blanket that smells like you, a toy they always sleep with or their all-time favorite treats, make sure you have something “comfortable” to give them once you arrive at your new home.

  1. Update Their Information

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, update their tags or microchip information. This way, if they get lost in their new neighborhood, your new address is connected with your pet and someone will surely bring them right back!

  1. Give Them Time to Adjust

Just like you need time to adjust to your new surroundings, your pets do, too. Moving with pets is difficult, so make sure you allow yourself, your family and your pets time to adjust to all the changes that come with relocating. If your pet needs a little extra attention, it may be helpful to gradually introduce your pets to new rooms one at a time instead of all at once.

  1. Keep Them Entertained and Exercised 

A good way to ease your animal’s stress is to make sure they’re entertained and well exercised. Exercise and entertainment go beyond just making sure your pet is tired out and distracted from your moving activities—it helps their mental health as well. Your continued devoted time to them will also make them a lot happier and keep them secure that you’re not going anywhere without them.

Bekins Van Lines Can Make Moving Simple for You and Your Furry Friend

If you’re ready to relocate with your dog, cat, ferret, lizard or all of the above, get in touch with the experts at Bekins Van Lines today! We understand the importance of making your move hassle- and stress-free so you can focus on your pets, your family and your new home!

No matter where you and your pet are headed, having the right movers on your side to make your transition as smooth as possible will make a huge difference in your stress levels. Looking for the best movers for your relocation? See what Bekins can do for you today!

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