Preparing your pet before your move
Moving is tough enough on humans, but animals don’t have a clue why strangers in uniforms are removing their owner’s furniture. Like the rest of us, pets need a little extra TLC at moving time. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make their move and life a little easier: Prepare Stretch out your packing time over several weeks and even better, employ a professional removalist to manage the packing for you – usually they perform the entire job in one very organised day. Avoid panic in the final days, particularly for cat owners as they are the most temperamental of all animals during the moving transition.
If your move involves air travel, contact airline carriers one month in advance. Ask about their pet regulations, and make reservations. Choose a direct flight to avoid unnecessary handling and air-pressure changes. Or contact your nearest pet transport company, they will take care of every detail for you.
Visit your Vet
A couple weeks prior to your move, obtain a copy of your pet’s veterinary records and arrange for a rabies vaccination certificate and a health certificate. Be sure your pets are up to date with all their shots. If your pet is older than 10 years old or suffers health problems, ask whether special treatment is required prior to travel
Pets love routine
Like children, pets love their routine. Aim to keep your pets’ routine i.e. walks and meal times as normal as possible in the week before moving. Cats and dogs sometimes become ill or lethargic when stressed, so try and give them a little more attention than usual.
Your pet’s special room
Professional pet transporters recommend that in the week of your move, choose a small room in your home to be the “special pet room.” Stick a big sign to the door of this room that reads “Pet: Please Do Not Open.” Make the sign large enough so that everyone, including the removalists can see it easily. Move food and water bowls, as well as toys, into this room. Better still, if you are using a pet transport company, they will arrange to collect the pet prior to moving day.
Always remember to include the pet’s favourite toys, drink/food bowls and familiar objects in their travel container, prior to travel day. Ensure the container intended for travel, is in the ‘pet room’ so they can get used to the whole idea and become familiar with this item.
Tips for the Road
If you’re travelling by car, keep cats and dogs in carriers large enough to accommodate food and water bowls. Aim to stop about every two to three hours to give larger pets some fresh air and a toilet break. Be sure to use a leash if you let your cat out, as they will run! Maintain a consistent temperature in the car for yourself and your pets. Birds, hamsters, guinea pigs and other small animals are especially susceptible to drafts and heat fluctuations. Cover cages to keep animals calm and well protected, and remove water bottles except during rest-stop water breaks.
Moving In – Arriving at the other end
Again, choose a small room to be the ‘pet room’, where dogs and cats can feel secure as you move in furniture and belongings. As much as possible, have furniture, bowls, and toys in place before you let your pets out of their crates. Don’t let pets outdoors without a leash until they’ve adapted to their new surroundings – several days to a week for cats and perhaps 2-3 days for dogs, as they tend to more quickly.
Remember your pets are sensitive to moving and may behave a little unusually or out-of-character for the first 1-2 weeks. Give them time and before you know it they will have settled in to their new home just like you!