Top Tips for Moving With Your Pets
Among life’s super-stressful activities, moving to a new Waterloo Region home ranks right up there. This is true for your dog as well. New spaces, unfamiliar sounds, a new yard, and new people and pets in the neighbourhood. It can be really exciting, but also daunting, to move your pet to a new home.
And although you may have the luxury of chilling out with a glass of red wine to ease moving stress, or venting to a friend, sadly, your beloved pup or kitty does not have those choices.
With this in mind, here are some tips for introducing your pet to their new Waterloo Region home:
Pack For Your Move Gradually
During the weeks when you are packing up your house, do your best to stay calm. There are plenty of things to get finished, from gathering packing supplies to organizing your moving boxes, and there’s no doubt that can be stressful and even nerve-wracking. But your dog will pick up on your emotions and also feel uneasy if you’re super-stressed.
During this transition, if you can remain organized and collected and pack up over time, your pet will feel more at ease, and, let's face it, you will feel a lot better too.
Let Them Try Out The Moving Gear
The move will be a new, and perhaps scary, experience for your pets. But there are ways to make it more comfortable. If your pets will be travelling in a kennel or crate, encourage them to sleep in it before the trip and reward them with treats.
Once they get used to the crate, use it to take them on short trips around your neighbourhood and then longer ones. Likewise, if your pets will be buckled up in pet seatbelts during the move, have them wear the harnesses around the house first and take them for short, buckled up drives before the big day.
Find a New Vet Before You Move
Your current vet may have recommendations for an alternative in your new neighbourhood. Or, if you’re relocating for work, check with your new employer. Their HR department may have referral services.
If your chosen vet’s office isn’t open 24/7, also find an emergency vet in your new area who’s available at all hours. Add the vet’s phone number and address to your phone, and learn how to find your way there, just in case.
Get Your Pet’s New ID Tags Now
Making sure that your pet is microchipped, and that it is up-to-date should go without saying in this day and age, but you should also get a new ID tag for your dog, and put it on before you move; many dogs get anxious and may try to run away in the first days in a new home.
With many new smells and sounds, if your dog does run away during the first few days at your new home they may have less of an idea of where to come back to, and not everyone checks for microchips until a pet reaches a shelter, delaying their return to their pet parents. All of this is why having these new tags is so important.
The way you can tag your pet has changed a lot over the last few years. Many pet tags now have QR codes that can be scanned and, if you are an iPhone user, you could even make use of an AirTag attached to their collar so that your furry friend can be as easily tracked as your AirPods should they get lost during the move.
Check Your New Home for Pet Hazards
Check your new house for possible pet hazards carefully before you move in. And check high and low. To check for hazards on the floor, stoop down to your dog’s level, and also check at levels where your dog might be able to climb or leap. Even if your dog isn’t a climber, stress can be triggered by a new environment and contribute to unusual behaviour.
Be especially careful to look for:
Possible poisons: Household cleaners, antifreeze, paint, pesticides, and unknown houseplants.
Choking hazards: Give your house a clean sweep before moving in and look for buttons, needles, Legos and other tiny toys or game pieces that may have been left on the floor.
Make sure window blinds and shades are well out of reach.
Check electrical or heat sources: Be on the lookout for malfunctioning small appliances, too easy to access fireplaces, and trailing electrical cords.
Check for escape routes: Make sure fences and gates are closed, and look for loose or missing window screens.
Make The Introduction to Your Pet’s New Home Fun
If at all possible, place your dog’s bed and toys, as well as their water and food dishes, in your new home before arriving. This will let the dog know that this is their space now, and it will be comforting to them to have familiar items and smells.
When you first arrive with your dog after moving to your new home, take them to the backyard to relieve themselves in the area you prefer. Showing your dog where the proper place to use the bathroom is located right away will help them learn this fast. Next, walk through the house and let your dog sniff around to their heart’s content.
Try not to leave them alone during the first day in the new home, they may be nervous and you are what they are most familiar with. If you do need to leave your dog in your new home alone, consider finding a new local pet sitter or using a pet camera to track how their day is going.
Introducing your dog to their new home can be difficult, but with patience and hard work, they will feel at home in no time, and, with a happy pooch, so will you.
Cats, being rather different to dogs, can be harder to get settled in. If they have travelled to their new home in a crate place that in a room where they will later have a litter tray, and set out their food and water dishes. Open the door to the crate but let them choose when to venture out.
Before you do that, ensure that all exits from the home are sealed. Cats can get very spooked by moving, and even a calm indoor cat may be tempted to bolt, and not knowing their new neighbourhood yet will not be able to find their way home.
Do not be too surprised if your cat hides for a few days, as many often will. As long as you know where they are, don't bug them too much. Leave them access to food and water - and their tray - and then let them explore their new place in their own time.