If you have a pet, you’ll probably agree that the number one question he’ll have about your upcoming move is: Where’s the food? There will be food, right? Which box is the food in? Where’s the food? WHERE’S THE FOOD??
Beyond that, your pet has lots of questions about moving. Whether your buddy is a dog, cat or other animal variety, you can expect him to be very curious about what’s up with all of those boxes, and why everyone is so stressed out!
1. Who are those guys and why are they taking all of our stuff?
Your pet probably isn’t going to love the moving crew, at least not at first. Strangers in the house packing up everything and taking it away in a big truck? That can’t be good! You’ll have to reassure your pet that it’s OK with you that movers are in your home.
If you have a sitter or pet day-care that your dog or cat likes, you might want to get them there while the movers are in the house. Doors are going to be left wide open and you don’t want anyone AWOL at the end of moving day. Cats have a tendency to slip into small dark spaces. You may have seen the story going around about the cat that was packed in a box and survived 36 days before arriving at its new home. So, keep close and constant track of your pets during the chaos of moving.
2. Is the airplane going to be cold? I hate being cold!
If you’re flying your pet, you’ll have lots of decisions to make: Do you take your small pet with you in the passenger cabin of the airplane? Will your large pet be alright in the pet area of the plane? Which airlines provide the most TLC for pets in the air? What should you feed your pet before the flight? Can he be medicated? And how much will it all cost?
It’s important that your pet be placed in a pressure-controlled and temperature regulated area of the aircraft (he really does hate to be cold!). Pet transport companies can provide you with lots of information and take care of your pet from beginning to end. At the very least, be absolutely sure to consult with your veterinarian on what your pet will experience during a flight and how you can best prepare him.
3. What’s my new home going to be like?
You can’t take your pet house-hunting with you, but you can keep him in mind when you’re deciding what house to call home. Yard space, fencing, proximity to parks, and interior space are all things to consider when moving with a pet. Morris the Cat isn’t the only finicky animal when it comes to home amenities, especially floor surfaces and stairs. Remember, they’ll adjust to your new home just like you will!
If you’re making a local move, take your pet to visit your new neighborhood at least a couple times before you make the move. Let them sniff around, walk around, and get to know the lay of the land. That way it’ll at least seem a little familiar when you move there…especially if they already marked some territory.
4. When I get to my new home will my toys and treats be there?
During your move, don’t forget your pet when you’re setting aside the essentials that you’ll need to keep with you. Your pet will need his bed, food, water and food dishes, medications and other must-haves – including toys and treats! – at all times during the move. Be sure to put these items in your suitcase or boxes that you’ll be keeping with you. It’s a good idea to always have bottled water handy. You might find yourself without fresh water and it’s so important that your pet is hydrated.
When you get to your new home, set up your pet’s dishes, bed, and whatever cozy little corner he loves the most, and he’ll be calling it home sweet home in no time. Here’s that list again of pet essentials to keep with you:
- water dish or bottle
- food dish
- favorite toy
5. Can I stay with my human the whole time?
If your move requires that you and your pet be separated for periods of time, give him lots of attention before and after the separation. He’s going to miss you and with all the confusion that surrounds a move, he may not understand that he’ll be reunited with you in short order. Big, wet kisses are recommended!
You may become separated unintentionally, so be prepared. It’s all too common for a pet to go missing on moving day. Snap a picture of your pet with your phone on moving morning so you have one immediately handy in case you need to start canvassing the neighborhood showing off their picture in case they go missing.
6. This is scary! Are you sure you know what you’re doing?
Moving is scary! It causes a lot of anxiety for us, as humans, so you can imagine how your pet must feel, not knowing what lies ahead. Many animals can sense when their humans are anxious and stressed out, so as your move progresses, your pet will be picking up on your signals.
Your pet will have a period of adjustment, similar to yours and your children’s adjustment. He’ll have to get to know a new veterinarian. Walks will have new sights and smells. The dog park will have new friends to meet. And a long-distance move with a climate change may affect your pet’s mood.
Expect your pet’s habits to change temporarily until he can feel settled into his new home and routine. Depending on how anxiety prone your pet is, his appetite and energy level might be affected.
This is all temporary. Soon your pet will be back to his old self and enjoying his new home!
Diane Fitzgerald is a writer for HireAHelper.com and author of ‘Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves’