If moving is stressful for us, can you imagine how our pets feel? Their small worlds change overnight with a whole lot of hullabaloo – and not a single how-do-you-do! But what can we do when moving with pets? It’s not like we can explain moving to Dallas, Texas to them!
While that’s true, we can still make moving with pets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area easier on our animal companions; we just need to make a few simple preparations and remember to account for them on moving day.
MOVING WITH PETS: PREPARATION
One of the most important stages when moving with pets in Dallas is preparation for the big day. Just like every other aspect of your move, really! Preparation gives you the chance to reduce the stress your pet will feel in moving and in adjusting to their new home. Of course, there’s not much prep work you can do to help pets like fish, reptiles, or birds – but there are some steps you can take to normalize the experience for your cat or dog.
Cats tend to be especially vulnerable to change – their home is their well-scented territory that never changes. And when you remove your cat from your home, it’s most often to go to the vet. Such unpleasantness can make cats scared of and angry at their cat carrier; you know, that thing you’ll be using to transport your kitty to their new home. There’s not much you can do about making a car ride less stressful for your cat, but you can remove the stress they have surrounding the cat carrier. Prepare for moving with a cat by getting them used to the cat carrier as a non-threatening place to hang out. You can do this by leaving it out (with the door off), leaving their favorite blanket or toys inside, and even treat-training them or feeding them inside the carrier. You should start this process at least a couple weeks before your move.
Dogs tend to be more mobile pets, accustomed to going places with us – maybe on walks, maybe in the car to the dog park. In some ways, this makes moving with a dog much easier. If your dog isn’t accustomed to taking car rides, start taking them on rides a couple weeks before you move. If you have a small dog, you may need to crate train them; bigger dogs should have a harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelts. You’ll need one of these methods to make sure your dog can be transported securely and not interfere with your ability to drive.
If your move is imminent and your pets are entirely too anxious about the carrier or crate or the car – it may be best to speak with your veterinarian. They may be able to prescribe something for your pets to help them relax.
MOVING WITH PETS: THE MOVE
Your pet priority on moving day should be to have them in a quiet place away from all the moving activity. It’s honestly best if you can arrange to have a friend or neighbor care for your pets during the actual move; it may even be better to board them with your vet or local kennel. If that’s not an option, arrange for your pets to be kept in a room that’s out of the way, emptied and cleaned. Clearly mark the room as off-limits and that the door must remain shut. Alternatively, if appropriate, you may keep your pet in the back yard. Make sure the area is secure and that your pets have access to food and water.
You should also plan ahead for who will be transporting your pets and how they will do so. If you can, transport your pets in your personal vehicle – they’re familiar with it already, and being near you will help keep your pets as calm as possible. If that’s not an option, you can make arrangements with a professional pet relocation service; they should be able to walk you through the rest of that process.
It’s equally as important to have a plan for your pets in place at the other end of the move. They’ll be at the height of their stressed period by this point – in a new house with all its strange smells. One good method for helping them adjust is to have another room selected as their staging room (many people choose a bathroom). Put your pet’s familiar blankets, beds, and toys in this space. Again, make sure they have food and water (and a litter box, if necessary). Surrounding them with familiar smells in a small space will help them begin adapting.
MOVING WITH PETS: PAPERWORK
Moving means dealing with a lot of paperwork, and that’s true for moving with pets as well! If you’re moving far enough that you need to change veterinarians, you should get all your pet’s records from your old vet. This is also the best time to make sure that you have documentation that your pet is up to date on all of their immunizations.
If your pet is microchipped, you should also make sure your information is updated on the microchip service’s website; likewise, it’s a good idea to carry a picture of your pet and have them wearing a collar with your contact info on it – just in case you’re separated during the move.
Before moving, check out all applicable pet rules and regulations at your new place of residence. If you’re moving over state lines, you may need to check each state’s laws regarding pets as well. In case you need to prove that your pet is healthy, keep all your pet’s paperwork together with all the other necessary paperwork for your move (checklists, moving contract, rental receipts, etc.). If you’re moving to an apartment or condo that has pet restrictions, make sure you’ve cleared your pet with them beforehand – and it never hurts to have their policies printed out in case you need to refer to them during the move.
Feel better about moving with pets now? We hope so! We aim to make your move as efficient and painless as it can be, from giving you suggestions on moving your pets in Dallas to giving you the rundown on how best to organize a move. Reach out to us at 214-390-6714 with any moving questions you have or to request a quote!