If your soon-to-be new home is in a new town or on the complete opposite side of town, take some time to research vets in the area. If you don’t have any connections in the area yet, perhaps look for a local Facebook group to join, introduce yourself there, and ask for suggestions! Who knows, you might even make a friend! It’s important to have somewhere picked out so you aren’t scrambling for a place if you and your fur baby ever find yourselves in an emergency situation. Once you narrow it down, we suggest going as far as setting up an appointment to take your pet in to see the vet you’ve selected so they have your pet’s information on file. Be sure to ask your previous vet for any medical records so you can take them with you for your new vet to include in their files! Trust us; this will be especially beneficial when it comes to reminders being set out when it’s time for shots!
Moving is a stressful and often chaotic time in your life and this is especially true for your pet. Try to keep things as normal as possible for as long as possible. Wait to pack your pet’s belongings until loading time. Not only will this make their belongings some of the first to come off the truck, but it will be one of the biggest helps when it comes to your pets’ sense of security, both in packing up to leave and getting settled in the new place.
This one ties into the previous suggestion. Animals, as you know, rely largely on scent for everything from their sense of security, communication, and even the way they see the world since their sense of smell is the biggest way they are aware of their surroundings. We tend to want new things for a new house, which is perfectly understandable, but save it for your personal things like your bedding and bath towels and let your pet keep his/her existing bedding and toys for a while in the new house. Once things have settled and your fur baby seems to have adjusted, then you can start looking at replacing them!
Take some time to look through the house carefully and think from your pet’s perspective too -their line of sight is much different than yours! Look for things like mouse traps or rat/insect poison that may be hiding in corners or under the edges of things like cabinets and appliances, blind cords that could be hazardous, and look the garage over carefully for signs of any antifreeze spills or other chemicals left behind by the previous owners.
Obviously every situation and move is different so we won’t even pretend this one is always an option, especially when you are changing home towns. That said, if it is an option for your specific situation, we highly encourage it! Not only will this reduce the stress of moving day for your pet (and you!) but also decrease the chances of your dog getting out the door or in the way of all the moving furniture. It will also give you time to unpack your pets belongings and find the perfect place for them so that when they do come “home” for the first time, their smell is in the house.
Our first home we bought was a foreclosure and about a month or so after we moved in and got settled, we adopted a dog! As it would appear, the previous owners/tenants had a fit of rage and broke several bottles leaving glass scattered in the very back part of the yard. Unfortunately, our dog found the glass before we did and we found ourselves in a situation where we didn’t have a vet yet. It was late in the evening, he had several gashes on his paws, and we had no clue where to go or who to call. I’m telling you this because I’d tell our story a hundred times over if it showed you the importance of these two steps –finding a vet and carefully inspecting the yard! We spent almost the entire next day cleaning up glass and went back again at night with flashlights hoping the light would catch on any pieces we had overlooked. It was a scary and expensive mistake that we absolutely learned from. While you are checking the yard, be sure to check the fence line too and make certain that there are no loose parts or open holes that they could get out of the yard through or non-pets could get in through. Observe the landscaping. Some plants and trees can be toxic to pets so take a look around your new yard and make sure you have identified everything and they are all pet safe. We also highly encourage you to take your dog outside on a leash the first few times he/she goes out! If he/she were to be separated from you, finding their way back home could be difficult with so many new smells.
Try to keep things as normal for them as you can, it will help them tremendously that some things have stayed the same. Keep their meal times consistent and try to give them just as much attention as you did before. Did you go on a daily walk before moving? Take a break from unpacking and let them sniff out their new neighborhood and familiarize themselves with any new sounds and smells.
This one is especially important as you begin to leave your dog home alone in your new home. Pets are curious by nature and depending on your pet’s temperament this may be stressful for him/her leading to destructive behavior as a release. We know life can’t stop completely but do try to ease into leaving your pet alone as much as life allows, starting with shorter increments of time and extending them gradually. When you do leave, be sure to give your pet something to keep them busy – from chew toys to treat-filled kongs.
From dog tags, to vet offices, and microchip profiles take the time do make sure your contact information is up to date with all of these places as a precaution!
Perhaps the most important thing of all is to remember that your pets had no say in this big life change for them and it’s as big of an adjustment for them as it is for you. Give them lots of lovin’ and treats, and a little extra grace too!