Moving can be hard on everyone involved. Adults, kids, and yes…even your pets! While your pet may not understand exactly what is going on, they can sense the stress (good or bad) that the whole family is experiencing. Add to the fact that animals are creatures of habit and do not like changes to their usual routine, and you can understand why they become so confused. They also become quite anxious when all of a sudden, they see their human family busily throwing everything around them into boxes. Naturally, we always want to keep our pets happy and healthy because we love them, but we also want to lessen the chances of their “acting-out.” Animals, just like people, can behave rather badly when under stress, and so we need to do all we can to help them feel secure throughout the moving process.

What we really need to know is: when faced with an upcoming move, how do we reduce the amount of stress that our pets are going to experience, and what can we do about the unavoidable disruption to their daily routine? We posed this very question to industry experts, took their invaluable input, and created the following list of tips.

During The Packing Process:
– Try to keep your pet’s daily routine as close to normal as possible. Adhering to his usual feeding, exercise, and bedtime schedule is important.
– When packing, leave your pet’s belonging to last. If possible, allow your pet continued access to his same food dishes, litter box, pet bed, and toys right up until moving day.
– Lessen the chances of there being any “mistakes” by keeping your cat’s litter box in the usual spot, right up until you load him into the car—or until you confine him to a “transition room.”
– Leave a couple of empty packing boxes open on the floor for your pet to explore. Allowing your pet to familiarize himself with these new, strange objects will prevent him from being afraid of them.

Moving Day:
– It is best to remove your pets from the house BEFORE you start moving your possessions. Allowing your pets to roam free in the house while the front door is propped wide open, and people are rushing in and out lugging boxes and furniture just creates a recipe for disaster.
– If it not possible to remove your pets beforehand, then you should select an empty room with a door to safely house them for the day. Place their food and water dishes, toys, bedding, and litter box in the room with them. Many pets find the background noise of a radio comforting, and it helps to muffle some of the loud and unsettling noises that come from moving heavy furniture and boxes.
– Be sure to put collars with identification tags on your dogs and cats as many pets do escape during the confusion of moving day. To avoid possible injury to your cat, always use a breakaway collar. Although many pets today are microchipped, having your pet wear a collar remains a good idea, as only pet care industry workers have access to the tool that reads the chip, while anyone can read your name and phone number on a tag.
– For transportation to the new home, cats should be placed in a cat carrier on the floor of the back seat, and dogs should be properly restrained. Dogs should either ride in the back of the vehicle, separated from passengers by a dog crate, or should sit in the back seat, strapped into a dog seat belt. This protects both your dog and the passengers in the vehicle—a quick stop can send you dog hurtling forward, seriously injuring her, and those in her path.
– Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. While the temperature in the car may seem just a little warm to you, animals overheat very quickly. Sadly, every year there are thousands of pets who succumb to heatstroke as a direct result of being left in a hot car.
– Bring your pet’s dishes, food, leash, toys, bedding, litter box, and any medications in the car with you and your pet. Providing consistency for your pet is important, so when you arrive at your new home, set up your pet’s things in those spots where you intend to keep them.

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