Pets seem to realize something is going on once we start packing. They may already be aware that change is afoot. Use these tips to keep your cat or dog calm during a long-distance move and help them adjust to their new environment.
1. Do your research and make a plan.
Does your new neighborhood have a dog park? Have you figured out where you’ll take your cat for veterinary appointments? When you keep the needs of every family member in mind before moving, you’ll have less to stress about when you get there. Make sure your new house is already pet-proof, and if you plan to let your dog out in the yard, ensure the fence is high and sturdy enough to keep your pup secure.
2. Get them used to moving.
Make sure your cat is acquainted with and comfortable with their pet carrier by starting a couple of weeks in advance. Leave it out in the open and place treats and something familiar-smelling inside (like a blanket or article of clothing), allowing them to go in and out freely with the door open. Once they’re not wary of going in and out, close the door while they’re inside and immediately offer them a treat. Practice going longer and longer in the carrier and extending the time between treats.
If your dog isn’t comfortable traveling in the car, you can put them at ease using a similar method. Offer something they enjoy every time they get inside with you, whether that’s a treat or a play session. Once they can sit comfortably in the car while it’s in park, try taking them on short rides and offering upbeat praise. Once you’ve stopped the car and can do so safely, offer them another reward.
3. Tire them out.
On moving day, engage in a long play session with your cat or dog until they’re about ready to take a nap. As long as they’re comfortable in the car, they may sleep most of the way! Make sure you’ve taken your dog for a walk to relieve themselves, and that your cat has used the litter box one last time.
4. Introduce them to their new home.
Once all potential exits are closed off and it’s safe to let your cat out of its carrier or your dog of its leash, allow them to explore at their leisure. Don’t panic if your cat becomes scarce for a day or two—they most likely haven’t escaped but have found their preferred hiding spot until they can acclimate to their new surroundings. For a puppy or kitten, you may want to confine them to one small room of the house, like the bathroom, until they get their bearings. Follow your normal routine, feeding your pets the same food at the usual times and allowing your dog their scheduled bathroom breaks. Before you know it, they’ll feel right at home.
Have more questions about how to move pets? Ask us!