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8 Simple Tips for Moving Homes with Pets

Planning a residential move with pets might seem overwhelming at first, but thankfully, there are many easy ways to make the process less stressful for everyone involved. Taking small steps like spending extra time with your pet and setting up your pet’s area first in the new house will make a large difference in helping your pet adjust to the new space. During the moving process, pets don’t understand what is happening so pet parents need to do everything possible to make the transition as easy as possible.

1. Set up your pet’s area in the new house first.

Setting up your pet’s area in the new house first will be a large help to them because it will provide a sense of familiarity to the new space. Pets are like children and can’t process all that is happening, and seeing their items in the new space will help them adjust to the new environment. If possible, pack up your pets’ items last and unpack their items first when you arrive at your new house.

2. Update your address with the veterinarian and shipping companies.

If your pets receive any of their supplies by mail (ex. medication, food, toy boxes), you need to ensure the company is updated with the new information so the supplies won’t be delayed. It’s also smart to update your address with your veterinarian’s office so you don’t miss any appointment reminders or mailouts.

3. Pack their essential items separate from the moving boxes.

With all the changes that come with moving, make it easier on yourself and your pets by packing their essential items separate from the moving boxes. Packing their items (ex. leash, bed, blanket, toys, food/water bowls) in a bag that you move with you will save time and frustration because you won’t have to unpack boxes looking for the specific items. Similar to how we pack for a vacation, you should pack a few days’ worth of food and medication for your pet so you’ll have all the items they need for the first few days while you start the unpacking process.

4. Spend extra quality time with your pets.

Your pets might not understand what is happening, but they understand that change is happening. To help alleviate their stress, you should spend extra quality time with your pets. Extra time with you will help them understand that even though their surroundings are changing, you’ll still be there for them even in a new house. The moving process will be tiring for you, but spending a little extra time with your pets will go a long way in making the transition easier on them.

5. Have a plan for moving day.

No matter what type of pet you have, you need to have a plan for moving day and transportation. For more agile pets like dogs and cats, you might consider boarding them or having them stay with a friend so you don’t have to worry about them when moving boxes in and out. For other pets, you need to have a plan in place so the moving day will be as smooth as possible. For example, moving a fish tank requires planning and organization so it’s important to think beforehand on how you can best achieve the task.

6. Stick to their schedules and have consistency.

When making a huge change like moving homes, sticking to the same routine is key for pets to have consistency. If your pet is used to eating or walking at a certain time, you should try to keep the same schedule. As much as possible, you should try to stick to the same rules that you had in your old home. For example, if your pets weren’t allowed on the couch, you should stay consistent and not let them on the couch.

7. Give them grace as they adjust to a new environment.

While having consistency is key, you also need to give your pets grace as they adjust to their new environment. Even the most well-behaved pets might act out for attention as they process the changes. It’s important to correct your pets when they need it, but you should try to be understanding and empathetic as to why they are having behavioural incidents. If you notice your pet is having a particularly rough time adjusting, spend extra time with them or find a few activities to help redirect them.

8. Speak to your veterinarian about how to best help your pet.

Especially, if you are planning a long-distance move, you should speak with your veterinarian on how to best help your pet handle the transport and adjust to the new space. Your veterinarian might recommend anxiety medication or other coping mechanisms to help your pet handle the moving process. If you’re moving from the area, your local veterinarian might know of a veterinarian in your new area or be able to help you find a reputable one.

Moving to a new house can be too much for your pets to handle alone, and as a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to do whatever you can to make the process less taxing for your pets. Your pet is counting on you to help them process the change and adjust to the new house.

Valerie Cox is a contributing writer for North American Van Lines. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, playing with her dog, and volunteering in her local community.

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