May kicks off what many think of as the unofficial Moving Season. During the warm months, relocations hit their peak. While moving proves difficult enough for humans, there are other members of the family to consider: pets.
With all the upheaval involved in a move, pets often get lost in the shuffle. As Dr. Larry Hawk, DVM and former ASPCA president, says, “Moving is very stressful for a family. That stress is also experienced by the pets.”
Between frenzied packing and unfamiliar places and smells, cats and dogs often become anxious during the moving process. Owners must not only familiarize themselves with their new house and neighbourhood, they must also prepare their four-legged friends — and prevent them from escaping, wandering, and becoming lost.
With proper preparation, the move can proceed smoothly for you and your furry friend.
Keep Your Pets Safe on Moving Day
- To overcome feelings of unease in a new place, it’s best to pack an “overnight” kit with a few days supply of pet food, litter, toys, bedding, and grooming tools. The goal is to keep dogs and cats comfortable while you unpack.
- If you are moving out of the area, you should inform your vet, transfer your pet’s license, records and prescription medications, and ask your vet for recommendations in their new neighbourhood.
- Before the “big” move — during which pets are transported to the new location — it is advisable to set up as much of the new home as possible, even if just a room with the animals’ bedding, toys, and favourite objects. This will give your pets a “home” in the new home, in which they can be confined during unpacking and allowed to adjust gradually.
Taming Moving Day Madness
When the big day arrives:
- You can reduce pet stress by containing them in a quiet area.
- During the move itself, animals are best transported to the new house in a familiar vehicle, secured in a carrier or kennel. To further calm them, a blanket can be placed over the carrier.
- The carrier or kennel should not be opened until your pet is inside the new home. Even well-behaved and obedient, dogs, and, especially cats, may want to explore new neighborhoods — or they may get scared or confused and run off.
A Smoother Post-Move Transitions
After the move, you can help keep your pets where they belong — in their new homes:
- Your pets’ tags and/or microchip information should be updated to reflect the new address and phone number.
- If you are moving to a new city, check the pet registration bylaws to make sure your pets are properly licensed.
The Best Laid Plans
Sometimes, despite the preparation of owners, pets attempt daring escapes during a move. Or they simply slip away while their humans are busy. If this happens:
- You should begin searching immediately. Most pets stay relatively close to the area in which they became lost, so chances are good that they can be found quickly. The longer they’re gone, the harder it is to find them. When searching, a pocketful of high-value treats is a must.
- File a Lost Pet Report with HomeSafe so DocuPet can help with the search.
- Scent-heavy items, such as bedding and favourite toys, and food can lure pets back home. You can place them by the door, or in a humane trap. This can keep them contained and secure while you are searching!
- You can take the opportunity to meet the new neighbours and inform them about your lost friend. Additionally, you can contact friends and post on social media. The more people aware that a pet is missing, the better.
- Contacting local animal shelters, humane societies, and vet offices is critical. Even if the pet hasn’t been “captured,” and brought to a sheltering location, you can alert them. It is important that they follow-up regularly in case the cat or dog has been sent in.
- Worried pet parents should contact their city/municipality to check that their ID and registration information is current. When it is up-to-date, it enables people to contact you if they find the pet.
Dealing with a move is stressful enough; adding a lost pet to the mix is more than you want to handle. Taking steps to prevent animal anxiety and loss is essential. If they do run or wander away, remaining calm and following these steps will help bring them home.