Real Estate Tips: How to Make Your Move Easier on Your Pets

We always want to keep our pets happy and healthy because we love them, but we also want to minimize the chance that they will "act out".

Like people, pets can behave badly when under stress, so we need to do all we can to help them feel secure throughout the moving process. When faced with a move, we need to know how to minimize the stress our pets experience, and what we can do about the unavoidable disruption to their daily routine. We asked industry experts for suggestions, and used their invaluable input to create this report.

When You're Packing

  1. To the degree it's possible, keep your pet's daily routine as close to normal as you can.
  2. Adhering to normal feeding, exercise, and bedtime schedules is important.
  3. Don't pack pet belongings until the last possible moment.
  4. If possible, pets should have access to the same dishes, litter boxes, pet beds, and toys until moving day arrives.
  5. Decrease the chance for pet "mistakes".
  6. Keep cat litter boxes where they always are until you put the cats into the car or until you confine them to a "transition room".
  7. Leave one or two empty boxes on the floor for cats to explore.
  8. If you have cats, you know that most of them will explore anything new in the house. By leaving a couple of empty, open boxes around, they'll become familiar with the new objects and won't be frightened by them when the packing begins.

On Moving Day

  1. Remove pets from the house BEFORE you start moving your household goods.
  2. Letting pets run free while the front door is propped open and people are carrying out boxes and furniture can result in a disaster!
  3. If pets can't be removed, put them in an empty room with a door during moving.
  4. If you simply can't remove your pets beforehand, select an empty room with a door where they can be safely housed for the day. Put their food and water dishes, toys, bedding, and the litter box in the room with them. Pets may be comforted by the sound of a radio. And it will muffle some of the loud and unsettling noise that is inevitable when moving heavy boxes and furniture.
  5. Be sure that all your pets are wearing collars with identification tags on moving day.
  6. It's not unheard of for pets to escape during the confusion of moving day. Even if your pets have microchips, having them wear a collar is a good idea, since anyone can read your name and phone number on a tag, but only pet care industry workers will have the tool necessary to read the chip. To avoid possible injury to cats, always use breakaway collars.
  7. Transporting pets to your new home.
  8. When it's time to transport your pets to your new home, cats should be placed in cat carriers on the floor of the back seat. Dogs should be properly restrained and should either ride in the back of the vehicle, separated from passengers by a dog grate, or should ride in the back seat, strapped in with a dog seat belt. This protects your dog and passengers in the vehicle: a sudden stop can send a dog hurtling forward, which can cause serious injuries to both your pet and anyone in its path.
  9. Never leave your pet alone in an unattended vehicle.
  10. Even though the temperature in the car only seems a little warm to you, animals overheat very quickly. Every year, thousands of pets die of heatstroke as a direct result of being left unattended in hot cars.
  11. Bring all your pet's "stuff" with you in the car.
  12. Make sure to put your pet's dishes, food, leash, toys, bedding, litter box, and medications in the car with you and your pet. Consistency is important for pets, so when you arrive at your new home, set up your pet's things where you intend to permanently locate them.

Introduce Your Pet to Your New Home.

  1. Before you release your pet into his new backyard, do a quick safety check.
  2. Check to see if the fence in good shape, with no spaces your pet can wiggle through or under. Can your pet reach the neighbour's pet through the fence? If so, is the neighbours pet friendly? Look for any sharp objects that might be hazards for your pet. Have a look at the plants too; are there any that can harm your pet if she decides to devour them? Make sure there isn't any garbage lying around for your pet to get into. And pay attention to whether or not there is a shady area where your pet can cool off on warm days.
  3. After running through these checks, put out a large, cool, bowl of water for your pet, and spend some time sitting or playing with him in the new backyard.
  4. Experts recommend that cats stay indoors.
  5. According to one study, cats that are allowed to roam free outdoors have an average life span of only 3 years. Indoor cats have an average life span of 13 years. If you allowed your cat to roam in the past, moving is a perfect opportunity to break him of this habit. If you keep your cat indoors from your first day in the new house, he won't have had time to establish his own turf outside, and will view the indoors as his territory, and his alone!

Small Pets

  1. Small pets are easier to move.
  2. Birds, rabbits, lizards, and other small animals are easier to move than larger ones, since they are already used to living in cages, or at least to regularly spending "quiet time" in them. To safely move them to their new home, they should be kept in cages or in appropriately-sized pet carriers before you put them into your car.
  3. Keep small pets calm and quiet during the move.
  4. Place a light-weight cloth over small pets' cages to help keep them quiet and calm during the car ride. Make sure you allow for adequate air flow.
  5. Provide food and fresh water for your small pet.
  6. Most small animals do well with a drinking bottle that can be easily attached to cages. Remember to bring a supply of food, feeding dishes, and medications with you in the car.
  7. Small animals overheat faster than large animals.
  8. Never leave pets of any size in an unattended vehicle!

For additional advice on moving your pets, or for moving pets with medical conditions that require special care, be sure to contact your veterinarian. We have many articles on home buying and selling, as well as related topics, that are available to you at no cost.

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