Moving or relocating can be just as stressful for your pets as taking care of all the planning and logistics is for you. Not only are they stressed out about all the changes that are taking place around them, and in their environment, they are probably picking up on your stressed-out vibe too.
Moving with a cat or a dog can be managed efficiently. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce the stress on your pets and yourself while ensuring a safe and simple relocation to a new home.
1. Pre-Relocation Awareness
Pay attention to pet behaviour before moving day arrives. Do they have a healthy appetite? Are they suddenly hiding or skittish? Do they seem overprotective of you, other members of the family, or their home (territory)? Are they behaving in a way that is not normal for them?
If you do note any changes in behaviour, this is a clear sign that they are feeling the stress. Try to stay calm and relax by meditating, doing yoga, or any other activity that lowers your stress level. A calmer you will result in a calmer pet. Also, let them be involved in the packing process allowing them to sniff and see what is being placed in boxes or packed away.
Plan as far ahead as possible and pack only a few boxes a day. This will help alleviate your stress allowing you to be prepared for moving day way ahead of time while allowing your pet to slowly adapt to the changes that are taking place in their environment. Pack up any of their precious belongings last.
Pay a visit to your vet if the changes in behaviour are severe, or the steps you take to reduce their stress have no effect.
2. Moving Day
Moving day is going to the most stressful time of all for your dog, cat, or bird. Below are useful tips to reduce stress:
If your pets are especially sensitive, visit your vet who will provide a sedative for a dog or cat. Sedation is more difficult for birds, but there are some natural remedies available that can help them be calmer for relocation. Birds are especially sensitive to change and to the relocation process, so visit a vet that specializes in bird care and ask for their advice.
Your pet’s home is going to be full of strangers that are taking away their stuff! It is best to get moving before the actual movers arrive or let your pet spend time with friends or family until you are ready to leave. Your movers will also appreciate this, and it will mean a quicker and more efficient relocation.
Taking your dog or cat in your vehicle is far preferable to using a relocation company. If they are with you, they are far less likely to become more stressed. However, some removal companies do provide a professional pet removal service and independent companies that offer this service if moving with a cat or a dog in your car is not an option.
Cats will fare better in a carrier. A carrier provides them with a sense of safety. Smaller dogs that are excitable or not used to travel in a car can also benefit from a carrier.
Plan for regular stops along your trip to feed your pet. Make sure that you find a pet-friendly hotel or motel if you are going to overnight on your way to your new destination.
Take a favourite toy or blanket in the car and use it for an overnight stay. Make sure all the windows and doors are closed before releasing your pet from a carrier or leash in the overnight location. Have a litter box, food, and water readily available.
Let them sniff around and check out their new surroundings. If you can, provide the same bedding as they used at home for them to sleep with.
3. Arriving At The New Home
Just because you have arrived at your destination does not mean that the moving process is over. Your pets will be excited, confused, and stressed at their new surroundings. Firstly, make sure all the furniture and other belongings have been moved in, and the movers are gone before allowing your pets out of the car.
Ensure that all the windows and doors are closed before allowing your pet to roam free in the house. It is a good idea to take your dog on a tour of the house and then the yard on a leash. Give them time to sniff around, do their business, and don’t rush them.
It is best to isolate a cat or cats to one room in the house for the first couple of nights in the new home. Then only allow them to roam around inside the house for a few more days (up to a week) before opening windows and doors.
Unpack your pet’s belongings first so that they know this is their new home. Make sure that food and water are readily available and litter trays for cats.
Go online to find a vet near your new home. Referrals or online reviews are a good way to verify a new vet. If your pet is showing any stress or other issues after the trip, visit the new vet.
Treat your pet in just the same way that you would your child, and you should have a safe, stress-free relocation with your pets.