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Moving With Pets: Tips to Make the Transition Smoother

July 31, 2019

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Moving can evoke mixed feelings, from happiness and excitement to stress and anxiety, and the same goes for your pets. Animals can easily become stressed by unexpected activity, change, and new environments.

Keeping your animal companions safe and calm throughout the process of moving is a large concern as a pet owner, and rightfully so. The AAA moving team has compiled our best tips for moving with pets to help make the transition smoother for you and your furry, feathered, or scaly friends.

Pet tips for before your move

Just like with the other aspects of your move such as packing and arranging for movers, preparation is key. There are several things you should make sure are taken care of ahead of time so you aren't scrambling or stressing at the last second.

Veterinarian examining cat in a clinic

Visit your vet

Take your pets to their regular vet to get one (or several) things taken care of before moving day:

Update your pet's info

When you're working on all your change of address forms and ID updates, don't forget your pets. Make sure your pets' collars and ID tags list your name and current phone number (and your new address if you choose to include that info). If your pets are microchipped, update the chip info shortly before or immediately after the move.

Prepare a pet overnight kit

You should be preparing an overnight kit or "first night bag" for yourself, and if you have pets, they need the same consideration! Pack the essentials plus a few creature comforts. Things to consider packing depending on your type of pet:

Sun Conure bird in bird cage

Identify pet-friendly pitstops

If you are traveling a longer distance, make sure you stop periodically to take breaks for yourself and your pet. Give your pet the chance to go potty, have some fresh water and perhaps some food, and check on their general comfort. Keep your animals leashed or otherwise contained. Even the most well-trained or docile animals may run (or fly) away due to the stress of an unfamiliar situation.

If you will need to stay at a hotel as you travel to your new home, research and book pet-friendly accommodations ahead of time.

Pet tips for moving day

Moving day is a flurry of activity. You'll likely be busy whether you are moving yourself or hired movers to make the job easier on yourself, but don't forget that the hustle and bustle will be hard on your pets.

Keep your pets away from the chaos

The noise, movement, and uncertainty of what is happening can make pets anxious, agitated, afraid, or even aggressive. For their safety and comfort, keep them away from all of the activity as much as possible. There are several ways you can do this:

Check on your pets regularly and make sure they have access to food, water, and bathroom breaks.

Dog waiting in car looking through seat

Bring your pets in your vehicle

Your pets should be transported securely in your vehicle. Cats and small dogs should be in carriers (and the carriers preferably secured with a seatbelt). Medium to large dogs can be in kennels, a pet seatbelt, or in the back area of your car.

Cages containing birds, lizards, rabbits, or other pets can also be seatbelted in. Some pets may be calmer if their cage or carrier is covered with a light blanket.

NEVER transport pets in the storage area of a moving truck or van, the trunk of a vehicle, or in a truck bed.

Keep your pets secure until inside

Keep your pets safe and secure in carriers, cages, or on leashes until they are safely inside the new home. The new home will be unfamiliar, and you don't want any chance of your pets running away and becoming lost.

If items are still being moved into your new home, follow the same recommendations for moving out of your old home and keep your pets safe and secure — and away from the activity as much as possible. Don't let them loose until all of the moving is over and the doors of your home are all closed.

Terrier dog hiding under a bed

Give your pets time to adjust

Every pet is different. Your pet may start eagerly exploring your new home right away, or it may hide for some time. Let your pet take its own time to adjust to its new surroundings and begin to explore. Consider setting up a "home base" somewhere in the home it can retreat to in order to feel safe. It can take a few days or even a few weeks for your pets to start feeling relaxed and at home.

The team at AAA Movers is experienced in all kinds of moves in Minneapolis, the surrounding area, and across the country. Give us a call to get a quote on your move so you have one less thing to worry about on moving day!

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