Moving is stressful—anyone who’s ever done it (and that’s nearly everyone) can tell you that.
But how do our pets feel about it?
It turns out that pets are just as prone to moving-day (and pre-moving-day) stress as we are.
Moving With Pets: What to Know Before You Go
ASPCA President Larry Hawk, D.V.M. says, “Moving is very stressful for a family. That stress is also experienced by the pets. They want to know that they’re part of the family and that they’ll be going, too.”
Before you move, know that dogs and cats react differently. (If you’re moving with fish, here’s how you can make the move easier.)
Because dogs tend to be more socialized, they seem to adapt better to change. Cats, on the other hand, are more focused on their immediate surroundings; they thrive on consistency, whereas dogs can bounce back and readjust… as long as you’re with them.
Tips for Moving With Cats
Now is the time to get your cat familiar with his or her carrier. Leave it open where your cat can examine it each day. Ideally, your cat will be able to hide in it when he or she feels stressed.
Make sure that when you do move, your cat is confined to a hard-sided carrier. (The same is true with other small animals, such as birds, rabbits, ferrets and hamsters.) If possible, cover the carrier with a light sheet for the first few hours of the trip.
“Cats get a little freaked out when they see the world moving by,” says Arnold Plotnick, D.V.M.
Tips for Moving With Dogs
Make sure your dog is restrained when you move—for your safety and for his. If your dog is disoriented, he may bolt when you stop for gas or to stretch your legs; further, he or she will be safer in case something happens.
On Moving Day
Make sure your pets are confined to one room on moving day. All the activity can be overwhelming—and you want to keep them as calm as possible before and during the trip.
Bring along a separate bag for your pet that includes water, treats, and food. You’ll also need a pet first aid kit, some extra towels (in case of accidents), and extra ID tags attached to your pet’s collar.
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