Moving across state lines can be a stressful and exhausting experience no matter how large or small your family is. But adding a pet to the mix can make it significantly more difficult, because you’re now traveling with a family member who has no real understanding of what is happening, and who really can’t be entertained easily in a car. If you’re moving cross-country with your pet, here are a few tips to make the move easier on everyone involved.
Before the Move
It’s important that you give your pet an appropriate amount of time to adjust to all the changes happening around your house. Try not to pack everything up overnight, as the sudden change will stress most pets out—especially dogs and cats. Get your moving boxes early on, and set a few up for your pet to sniff at and explore. (Or, in the case of cats, climb into and hide in.)
Pack up casually and slowly, so that your pet is not overwhelmed. Odds are, they’ll realize that something is happening, but smaller changes over time will keep most pets from feeling too stressed. If your pet will be in a carrier or kennel on the drive, make sure you expose them to the kennel or carrier several times beforehand, so they’re used to being in it.
Additionally, be sure to get new pet tags with your updated address before your move, and put them on your pet’s collar on the day you leave. This way, if your pet gets lost along the way, they can be returned to your new residence, rather than your old one. (If you only have your phone number on the pet’s tags, and that number is still current, you can skip this step.)
The Day of the Move
On the day of the big move, keep your pet in a quiet room away from all the ruckus. Have this room cleared out of anything that needs to be packed ahead of time, and keep your pet in there with their food, water, blankets, and favorite toys.
Not only will this help to keep them from feeling stressed by all the activity, but it will help to ensure that your pet does not accidentally escape as friends or professional movers are loading up the moving truck. Try to keep your pet’s breakfast light on this day too, to avoid an upset stomach in the car.
On the Drive
Your house is packed, and it’s time to load up in the car for your cross-country trip. Make sure you bring your pet’s favorite toys. If they will be riding in the car with you, instead of in a kennel, make sure they have a secure and safe space to ride where they are comfortable and won’t impede your driving.
Keep music in the car on the quieter side; your pet will likely already be stressed, and you don’t want to add to that with extremely loud music. If there are others in the car, have someone sit near the pet to help soothe them and entertain them throughout the ride.
You should also make sure to let your pet stretch their legs about every three or four hours. For dogs and well-behaved cats, you can let them out of the car on a leash to run around a little and relieve themselves.
If you have other animals, or a cat that won’t wear a leash, let them out of their cage or carrier to move around in the car for a bit. You might want a small litter pan in the back of the car for the cat to use during these breaks. For birds or other caged animals, use this time to clean out their cages so they’re not riding in a dirty space—and so your car doesn’t begin to stink.
At Your New Home
A new home can be difficult for pets to adjust to (especially for dogs and cats). Stay with your animal as much as possible when you first reach your destination. Walk around the home with them, and show them the space. Set out their food, water, bed, and other items, and show them where those things are.
If you have a cat that spends at least part of its time outdoors, you should consider keeping the cat inside for a few days, and up to a week. Then, supervise them in the backyard if possible. You want your cat to be very familiar with the new home, so that they’ll be able to find their way back easily if they get lost.
Try to get back to a routine as quickly as possible when you reach your new home. Resume your usual feeding schedule. Go on your regular morning walks. Anything you can do to return your pet to a sense of normalcy will help them to adjust to their new space.
If you’re preparing for a cross-country move, contact Quality Moving Experts for assistance.