Moving With Your Pets

Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, relocating all of your belongings is quite a hassle. From large pieces of furniture to tiny, breakable knick-knacks, each item requires special care. In addition to carefully packing your belongings, you’ll want to take extra precautions to ensure a safe move for your beloved pets.

Moving with a cat can be very stressful for the animal, as they tend to be more attached to their environment than to people. At least a week before you move, you should get your cat used to being inside a cat carrier and taking short trips in the car, if possible. Placing an item of clothing or a small blanket inside the carrier will make the cat feel more comfortable because of the familiar scent. On moving day, move your cat and his toys last. Keep him in a closed room while you’re emptying your place, away from loud noises and boxes they could hide in. Do the same when you first arrive at your new home. Confining your cat is better because cats feel more secure in small areas. Also, be sure to comfort, talk to, and pet your cat often during the move. Giving him plenty of attention will lessen the stress.

Moving with a dog is usually much simpler than moving with a cat. Opposite of cats, dogs are more attached to people than to their environment, so a new place will likely excite and interest your dog, so long as you are by their side. Some precautions should still be taken, of course. In the days before moving, you should practice basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ with your dog. These will be helpful on moving day. At both the old and new home, dogs should be confined to their own room while moving belongings to ensure they don’t escape. Make sure your dog has an ID tag with your new address on it, in case he does get loose. When getting settled in your new place, you should stick to your dog’s regular feeding and walking schedule, and be sure to keep the dog’s favorite toys, food bowls, and bed out for him. Be prepared to accompany your dog on many walks to investigate your new neighborhood.

Small mammals are typically easy to transport. If you’re not flying to your new home, your rodent can stay in its cage the entire time. You should remove your pet’s water bottle or bowl to avoid spills, and keep the cage covered to avoid drafts. Be sure to give your pet water every so often to avoid dehydration, and also keep the cage well ventilated while it’s covered. Some small mammals, such as rabbits, are more difficult to move. Rabbits cannot tolerate heat, so effort should be made to keep them at a consistent temperature. They are also easily frightened and stressed by loud noises, so this should be taken into consideration.

If you need to move a fish tank, there are several ways to do it depending on the types of fish and the size of the tank. Fish bowls and tanks under 10 gallons can be moved with the fish still inside, if the move is short enough to maintain the water temperature. For bigger tanks and longer distances, fish should be transported in plastic bags inside a Styrofoam container to maintain water temperature. Fish should not be fed for 2 days before the trip so that the water in the bags stays clean until the fish can be put back in the tank, and 80% of the original water should be kept during the move.

When moving your pet reptile, it’s important that you keep the animal at a consistent temperature, as too much heat or cold can be fatal. Ideally, your reptile should be kept at about room temperature at all times during the move. Extra care must be taken to avoid dehydration with reptiles when transporting them. This can be avoided by placing a damp cloth in the container - preferably a foam-lined box - with your snake or lizard. Be sure the container is well ventilated, and do not be surprised if your reptile does not eat for a day or two after the move. This is due to stress, and it is best to not handle your reptile for two to three days after a move to lessen stress.

When moving with pet birds, special attention must be paid to temperature changes, as birds are very sensitive to this. Birds are easily moved in their own cage, which should be covered throughout the move to reduce stress and avoid drafts. Remove swinging objects in the cage so they cannot injure your bird while the cage is being moved, and remove food and water to avoid spills. Once you’ve arrived at your new home, remove the cover of the cage so your birds can see you and begin to feel comfortable in their new environment. Keep the placement of their toys and perches consistent for several days to avoid too much change.

With any animal, consistency is key. Keep your pet’s favorite toys readily available, give plenty of attention and reassurance, and maintain any schedules your pet is accustomed to. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure a safe and smooth move for you and your pet.