Prepare your pet an overnight kit
Before the day of your big move, prepare an easily-accessible 'overnight kit' that has enough dog food, kitty litter, toys and grooming tools to sustain your pet and keep them comfortable during the first few days of unpacking. Does your pet have a favorite toy or treat? Make sure it’s accounted for and ready to be put into action!
Contact your veterinarian
Does your pet require any prescription medication or follow a yearly check up with the same vet? If you're moving out of the area, do not forget to inform your vet so you can take necessary records with you and refill any prescription medications. Them, ask if they can recommend another vet in your new area. If you’ve been seeing the same vet for a long time, they will know your pet and their needs and be able to recommend quality vets for your pets specific needs.
Keep your pet away from the moving action
During the move itself, the best way to reduce stress on an animal is to keep them in the quietest area possible. If you don't want to leave them with a friend or a kennel for the day, at least remove them from all the noise and hassle. This could mean emptying a bedroom on another floor and closing the door, or putting them in their carrier or kennel in the garage or car (take proper caution to ensure they'll be at a safe temperature and that they have water and food if they will be there for some time). If you do choose to keep them in a separated room, make sure you check in on them regularly, and try to feed or walk them at the time you usually would; having some sense of a routine in the midst of all the changes will help ease stress a lot!
Take your pet in your personal vehicle
Take the pet to the new house in your own vehicle, not the moving truck. Cats and small dogs can be put in a carrier in the back seat, which can then be secured with a seatbelt. A bigger dog can be moved in a kennel in the back of the car; and you may need to put seats down. Some animals feel more comfortable if you throw a blanket over their carrier during the car ride so they can't see the environment changing outside. If your pet loves rides though, these extra steps aren’t as necessary, as you and your pet probably have a routine for window gazing!
Don’t let your pet out until you’ve arrived
Be careful when transporting the animal to your new neighborhood because if they get out they can easily get lost. Once they're in the car, it's important to not open the kennel until the pet is in the new home, even if the pet is usually well-behaved or docile. Give them a few days in the new home to adjust. Tip for cat owners: more and more people are keeping their cats indoors for safety reasons, and a move is a good opportunity to get them used to being inside as they won't be used to being allowed out in the new home. Use this transition to your advantage.
At the new home, keep your pet secluded
Move the house before you move the pet. Set up as much as you can, even just in a room, before you introduce the animal to the new home. Confine them to a section of the house while they slowly adjust to their surroundings. Give your pet lots of attention and introduce familiar objects like toys or blankets as soon as possible. Make them feel as at home as you do!
Pet proof your new home
This is new territory for your pet, which means they might explore more than usual. It is a good idea to pet-proof your new home quickly. Tuck away electrical cords, plug up nooks where your pet could get stuck, make sure that all windows have secure screens, remove any poisonous houseplants and confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house.
How long does it take for a pet to adjust to a new home?
When you arrive at your new home at the end of your long journey, it will be tempting to set your dog or cat loose in the house to explore. However, a new and unfamiliar space can be overwhelming to your pets.
- Start by allowing them to adjust to one room—their “home base”—which should include their favorite toys, treats, water and food bowls and litter box for cats.
- When they seem comfortable, gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut.
- You can relocate your cat’s litter box from the “home base” room to a more permanent location by moving it slowly over time. Try moving the litter box one foot forward each day.
With patience, your cat or dog will be king or queen of your new home in no time!
How do you move long distance with a pet?
Many airlines allow pets aboard their flights, but some are more pet friendly than others. Comparing the policies, requirements, and pet fees will help you make a good decision about this method of travel with your pet. If your dog or cat is small enough to fit inside an airline-approved carrier, they can fly in the cabin with you.
Larger animals and exotic pets not allowed in the cabin will have to fly in the aircraft’s baggage compartment or be shipped as cargo. Be sure to thoroughly read the airline’s requirements for appropriate containers and their detailed instructions on preparing your pet for transport.
Also be aware that weather conditions may impact animals flying in the cargo hold. Airlines will not transport animals when extreme cold or hot temperatures could threaten their health, and that could impact your move.