Moving with Pets: Tips from (at this point I should be) a Pro

In my last post, I talked about my top five tips for renting with pets. Of course, moving goes hand-in-hand with renting. So here are my hard-earned top five most helpful tips for moving with pets!

  1. Keep a routine. From my internet search for moving-with-pets tips, most experts advise that disruption moving entails is the source of stress that causes most pet melt downs during relocation. To mitigate this nearly inevitable pet trauma, several weeks before and after our move, we try mightily to stick to a routine with our pets: food is doled at twice a day at the same time, walks occur precisely (more or less) on schedule, and we try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. alliebox
  2. Pack a pet overnight bag. Avoid hasty unpacking to find your cat’s food or dog’s medication by packing everything your pet needs  over the timeframe of your move (for example, 48 hours for a move occurring overnight) PLUS 50% (so 72 hours in my example). This is my method because, well, moving always takes longer than you think it will.
  3. Pheromones work (for most pets). I’m not going to lie: the only reason I tried pheromone products was my no-holds-barred approach to relocating ~450 miles a little over a year ago. I did not hold my breath for a miraculous reaction from my pets and I would say that a “miracle” has never occurred whilst my pets were exposed to pheromones. However, I will say that there was much less whining, crying, puking, and upset-potty-ing during the actual driving. When we arrived at the new rental, our cats spent far less time cowering in closets, etc. than usual. I have used pheromone products (diffusers, as well as impregnated collars, sprays, and wipes) in two subsequent moves and I will be using them for every move in the future!
  4. Talk to your vet/trainer. One of our cats gets legitimately car sick, so we talked with our vet about giving her a sedative for the 8 hour+ drive so she could sleep instead of staring out the car window and getting ill. (We just cover her kennel for shorter drives.) Conversely, one of our dogs has a real coping problem with stressful events and our trainer strongly discouraged the application of a sedative for this pet. Giving a sedative to an anxious animal doesn’t prevent the pet from feeling the anxiety – it just reduces her ability to perform her coping (or lack of coping, in our case) behaviors. So a sedated anxious animal is now trapped in a terrifyingly sluggish body that unable to do much to pacify her herself. Not a good combination! Especially when an anti-anxiety medication would actually address the pet’s real issue. So do your pets and yourself a favor: talk to a professional (and preferably more than one!).
  5. Keep your pet on leash/in a carrier and identification on your pet at all times. Typically stoic pets can get freaked about the noise and commotion of rest stops and bolt. Car accidents happen. Unfamiliar fences may have weak spots that may not go unnoticed by pets. For everyone’s safety, I always keep my pets on leash/in a carrier while traveling. In the worst case scenario that your pet does get away from you, make sure your pet has up-to-date contact information on her body. Get engraved tags from a pet store, use a sharpie to write your phone number on a collar, and/or call your pet’s microchip company to ensure your contact info is correct.

If you’re reading this in preparation of a move, I wish you smooth travels and the best of luck in your new home! Are you renting? Check out my last post about tips for renting with pets!

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