Moving to a new home is a major life event, even if you’ve moved dozens of times before. There’s a whole lot of planning to take care of, including packing everything you own into boxes, and preparing to start your life all over again in a new location. Now, if you’re a pet owner we don’t need to explain how valued a member of your family they are, but have you started to plan for how your pet is going to handle your move?
Animals are creatures of habit, so upsetting their routine can cause them to experience stress, which is the last thing you want. We’d like to share some tips for making your pet’s transition to their new home as stress-free as possible for both of you.
Make sure your tiny friend’s shots are up to date, especially for things like Parvo, Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough, for example. If their shots aren’t up to date now is as good a time as any for a trip to your vet for your pet to have a quick checkup before they head off on their adventure with you. During your visit you also have the opportunity to ask your vet if they can transfer your companion’s records to a new vet in the very near future.
If your pet has a favorite blanket or toy, please bring this with you while you’re on the road. Even a single familiar item can be enough to make your pet feel a lot more relaxed while they’re traveling. This means you should avoid washing their bedding and/or toys before your trip, but if you’ve already done that don’t worry – just give them a t-shirt or hoodie you’ve worn recently. Your scent will be all over it, and that’s enough to make them feel at home almost no matter where they are.
You’ve brought a bag containing the essential items you need for your trip, but don’t forget to pack a travel bag for your animal buddy. The basics to take with you are a supply of fresh food and water for them, some of their favorite snacks, a blanket, their collar, leash, license and any other documentation you have. Basically you need to pack everything your pet might need for 3 – 5 days, just in case you get delayed on your journey.
Bring your pet with you whenever possible, and this includes on flights. Most airlines will allow smaller companion animals to travel in the cabin with other passengers, but that’s not always the case. Check in advance if your pet is going to be kept in the cargo area of the aircraft, and then be honest with yourself about whether they’re going to be able for that, especially because of the temperature variations that can take place during a long flight. If you’re planning a road trip instead make sure there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels along the route you’re taking.
If you’ve never traveled any distance before with your pet you’ll need to get them used to a travel crate, or the travel harness they’ll have to wear while inside your car or truck. The travel crate needs to become a place they’re comfortable sleeping several weeks before you leave. When you do finally arrive allow time for your pet to get used to their new surroundings, making sure it’s as secure as possible. Ideally create a little refuge in a separate room for them, so they can explore their new home when they’re ready to.