When it comes time for a family to move, it can be hard enough on the humans involved what with giving up and saying good-bye to friends, neighborhoods and other familiar surroundings. It is equally hard on pets, both in terms of moving and getting used to a new version of ‘their home.’ Here are some tips for making the journey less stressful for all concerned.
1) If moving by car, make sure that there is a large enough pet carrier for your cat or dog to stretch and stand in. Place familiar objects like a favorite rug and a soft toy inside. Make sure there is always food and water available. There are now handy clip-on water dispensers for long ride.
2) Do not put the animal carrier on the roof of the car! Remember that when the car is driving 65 mph, and approaching insect will hit inside the carrier with the force of a slingshot.
3) Just as the driver needs to get out of the car and stretch every two hours maximum, so should the pet. This may sound obvious, but have the leash in the passenger compartment and put it on every time.
4) If a dog in particular is prone to car sickness, here is an odd tip that actually works. In the animal carrier, place thick Sunday newspapers under the rug mentioned above. This seems to absorb the vibrations and prevents nausea. The same trick incidentally also works on humans.
5) If flying, check the airline regulations first. Not all planes have heated luggage compartments. Not all airlines accept pets. Those that do may have strict regulations for check-in times and pre-inspections.
6) Before arriving at the new home, here is an important tip. Are there new carpets laid? If so, make sure they are thoroughly and deeply steam-cleaned first. The chemicals in new carpet are highly toxic to animals.
7) On arrival, take time to walk around with the family pet. Especially if the fencing is low or non-existent, demonstrate where the boundaries are.
8) Finally, if there will be a day of furniture moving in, it may well be wise to kennel the animal over-night. Strange doors and windows being opened and closed can lead to furry escapees and no one needs that stress.
With thought and preparation, a move can be smoother than expected, even for pets.
Pam Buttikofer is a co-founder of Imperfect Women. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 36 years and enjoys spending time with her husband, sons and her lovable pups.