While moving can be stressful for those who are planning the moves, and even more stressful for children who may not understand the full extent to what is happening – can you imagine the kind of stress it has on an animal who doesn’t speak your language? What they can do, though, is sense your stress and anxiety as they are in tune with the anticipation of change. Not only is prepping for a move going to cause undue stress on a pet, but just the new physical environment they are moving to will also be stressful.
There’s no “one size fits all” answer to moving with your pets, but here are some tips to help make the process slightly easier on your beloved pets.
6 Tips to Moving State to State with Your Pet
1. Inform your veterinarian and ask for recommendations
To make moving with pets easier on YOU, it helps to prepare. This means contacting your veterinarian to ask if you could have a copy of your pet’s records, immunizations, or prescriptions with you. You can also ask your vet if they have any recommendations for a new veterinarian in your new residence.
2. Pack a “suitcase” for your pet
Similar to how we suggested that you should pack a bag for every person in your family when traveling with children, you should also have an “overnight” bag for your pet(s) as well. This could include their food, toys, grooming tools, kitty litter if needed, or anything to keep your pet comfortable. Familiar items such as chew toys and blankets may help them acclimate easier.
3. On “move day” – keep them away from the “movers”
Moving day is also very important to consider. Not only could it be dangerous to have a cat or dog roaming around while you are trying to lift and move heavy boxes and furniture, but it is very stressful for the pet. This could mean keeping your pet in a room that they are familiar with, with a closed door. But, it would be even better if you could bring them to a friend or family member’s house that they are familiar with – or boarding or kennel for the day. It’s important that you choose a location that isn’t brand new to them though!
4. Bring your pet in your vehicle while moving
Your pet should stay close to you when you’re moving state to state. Cats should be transported in a carrier or crate in the back seat, as should small dogs. Large dogs can be secured with a special seatbelt in a car or in a crate as well. You can consider throwing a blanket over their crate to keep the stimulation low.
5. Keep your pet indoors when you arrive at your destination
Because the new home is unfamiliar to your pet, and they are probably very confused, you should wait to release them out of their crate or carrier until after they are indoors. If an outdoor cat is left on its own accord, it could get lost, scared, or try to find its way home. If you have a skittish dog, it may try to escape back to its previous home. Keep your pets indoors for a period of days (aside from scheduled walks with dogs) to get your pet acclimated to its new surroundings. This is also a great opportunity to make an outdoor cat into an indoor cat.
6. How to move with small pet animals
We talked a lot about dogs and cats, but people have all sorts of animals such as fish, birds, or small rodents to name a few. Did you know that moving a fish could be traumatizing to them? If your move is short, you can try to put them into a bag filled with tank water until they get to their new home. Otherwise, it’s really best to give your fish a new home locally and when you arrive at your new home – buy new fish. That’s how traumatizing it is for them! Guinea Pigs have susceptible hearts and therefore you should move them very gently and in a small confined carrier. Birds, similarly, should be in a cage. Even a very smart bird may fly off due to the anxiety of the change. A cage is your friend.
Experienced state to state movers, like MiniMoves, have moved countless families and their pets. Our biggest advice for move day is to make sure that small pets are out of the home during the move to allow for quick and swift movements of the crews without distractions or accidents. Animals tend to run away in times of transition and can easily place themselves in harm’s way without seeing that bookshelf careening around a blind corner. If you’re looking for movers who can help ease your worries about moving with pets (or children!), contact MiniMoves to get a free quote today!