Pet Owners: Top Tips for Stress-Free Moving

They are our most beloved companions, our best friends and most loyal partners. They are the family pet and when it comes to moving, they need to be treated with very special care.

Moving can be as stressful for pets as it can be for adults and children alike. Pets become very attached to their home and surroundings and any drastic change can be quite serious for them. But as most pets experience at least one relocation in their lifetime, most manage to get through it and adjust to their new homes with ease. Here are a few simple tips to help make this transition as easy as possible for your pet.

Cats and Dogs
•The first precaution you must take is to ensure the safety of your pet on moving day. With the chaos and confusion of people and objects coming in and out of the house, it is easy to lose track of your pet. To be sure your pet doesn't make an unplanned escape during the move, keep her in a separate locked room with a clearly marked sign on the door - "Keep Door Closed - Pet Inside". This will prevent moving helpers from letting your pet out.

•If you are planning on using a crate to transport your dog or cat, it is important to introduce your pet to the carrier slowly. Each day let your pet play with the crate and encourage your dog or cat to enter and fetch a treat or favorite toy. This will allow your dog or cat to become familiar with the crate in the days and weeks leading up to the move. Never force your pet into a carrier suddenly without prior exposure. This will cause unnecessary fear and confusion.

•On moving day, let your pet travel with any favorite blankets or toys that will help make him feel at home. Helping your pet feel secure is the first hurdle when moving.

•Once you have arrived at your new home, let your pet out of the carrier and walk with him to explore his new surroundings. Keep his routine as close to normal as possible. Make sure you have food and water ready for your pet after a long time spent in a car. But be sure to hold off on feeding beforehand if your pet seems stressed or suffers from motion sickness.

•If you are moving to a location that requires air travel, look into specialized services that will keep your pet safe. It may cost a bit more, but it will give you great peace of mind to know that your pet is being specially handled and treated with the utmost care. Also, try to book a direct flight that doesn't require stop overs or lay overs. Additional air and handling time will just cause more stress for your pet.

Moving with Small Animals and Fish
•For small family pets like hamsters, rabbits, and reptiles, the best way to transport them is in a clean cage with you in a vehicle. When traveling in the car, be sure to keep the temperature comfortable to avoid overheating your pet or making them too cold. You may also want to keep the cage covered with a dark cloth to avoid added stress for your animal.

•When traveling with fish, it is best to transport them in their current environment. If it is not possible to move them in their aquarium, fill a large bucket or bag with water from their tank and move your fish that way. When you are settling into your new home, remember to gradually replace the current water in the tank with water from your new home. This is the best way to be sure that your fish will adapt to the new water source.

•You may want to avoid feeding your fish for a few days prior to moving. This will cut down on the amount of waste produced by your fish during the relocation and help keep their water clean for an extended period of time. If you are worried about the safety of your fish during the moving process, there are companies that specialize in moving fish.

Moving with your pets can be a daunting task, but as cherished members of the family, it is important that they are well cared for before, during and after any relocation. They will repay you by enjoying many more years with you in your new home.

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Tina Hare
Tina Hare