Moving with Pets

Moving house is a stressful time for humans. But it can also have some negative effects on your furry friends. Cats and dogs can sense when “something’s up” and often become stressed or anxious. Here are some tips and tricks for moving with pets so that they are comfortable, safe and happy on moving day.

Get Your Pets Ready for Moving Day

Before moving, take your pets to the veterinarian for a check-up to see if they are healthy enough to make the trip. Discuss ways to keep your pets calm and content. If required, take records and any prescription medications with you.

Pets and Moving Day

Make pet sitting arrangements for pets on moving day – take them to a kennel or leave them with a friend. If that’s not possible, keep them secluded some place away from open doors, chaotic movement, noise, and strangers walking in and out.

Update ID Info

Update pet tags with your cell phone number, an alternative contact person’s number, and your new address. If you can microchip your pets, it is the best chance to have them returned to you if they are separated from their collars. If you don’t have any recent photos of your pets, take some and have them with you should you need them.

Get Your Vehicle and Pet Ready for Travel

Take your car to be serviced. You don’t want to breakdown in the middle of nowhere with anxious animals.

Decide how to transport your pets and what part of the car they will be traveling in. The best place is away from airbags, usually in the backseat. Even though their movement should be restricted, pets still need to be able to shift position and sleep with a bit of room.

If your pet isn’t used to car travel or is active by nature, choose a method to ensure they stay put when you’re driving. Options include backseat barriers, travel harnesses, and pet carriers with blankets thrown over them. Carriers can also be secured with a seatbelt. Larger dogs can be transported in a kennel in the back of the vehicle.

Most cats will require a pet carrier to keep them secure to reduce the risk of escape when in transit.

Pets not used to car travel may fuss if housed for a period of time inside a pet carrier. Start taking them on dry-run car trips about one to two weeks before moving day.

Cover the back seat with three layers of protection – a plastic sheet (bottom layer), the pet’s blanket, and an old towel (top layer). Should your dog become sick, it will be easier to clean.

Plan to make frequent stops – fresh air and freedom of movement will help keep dogs calmer during periods of confinement.

Pack a Pet Travel Kit

Pack a pet travel kit for each animal. Include a small first aid kit, vet records, regular food, bottles of water, a travel bowl, a blanket, and a couple of their favourite toys.

Pack a Pet Survival Kit

For each one of your pets, pack a box that has the supplies to keep them comfortable during the first few days at the new house. Keep items such as pet food, kitty litter, toys, and grooming tools in a convenient box.

Moving with Other Types of Pets

It’s not only dogs and cats than can sense changes in their environment. If your household includes a parrot, rabbit, rat, guinea pig or lizard, they too need to be prepared for moving day. During the last few days in the old house put small caged animals in an empty room away from packing and other moving prep activities.

Fish can be traumatized by a move. If moving to another neighbourhood in Vancouver, you can transport them in bags of water from their old tank. However, if moving across the province, it’s advisable to find a new home for the fish, take the tank with you, and purchase more fish once you’ve settle into your new house.

When moving with birds and reptiles, transport your pet in its regular cage or glass tank. Secure it in the backseat with a seatbelt. Cover bird cages with a thin sheet or a bird cage cover to keep them from stressing out. If the reptile’s regular home is too big to fit in the vehicle, downsize to a smaller tank, preferably one that is dark but with enough space to move around in.