By Lisa Ragsdale, Charlotte, NC
Once you heard the word move, your stress level just ratcheted up a few notches. If it is more than a local move, the stakes get higher.
When moving animals a significant distance, determine if you need boarding upon arrival until move is complete or overnight accommodations that allow pets to stay with you if your closing is the following day. In hindsight, we should have boarded our animals the day we closed on the house and moved in…we closed at 1pm, but in North Carolina you can’t take possession of the home until the deed is registered at the local courthouse which in our case wasn’t until 5pm. Luckily it was a cool day since we had two golden retrievers and a cat and it was July and we had to hang out with them for about five hours waiting on the house and fenced in backyard.
Different hotel chains will accept even large dogs or cats with pet fee that may be less expensive than boarding. Look online for a listing of different hotel chains with a variety of price points that allow you to bring your pets. We called a few and they recommended sister chains if their particular hotel didn’t offer pet accommodations.Traveling a long distance may be challenging to arrive at a certain check in time for a kennel in your new destination. Since there is plenty of stress for both the humans and animals in the moving process for us being together in your new town the first night may help minimize that anxiety as well. With everything else unfamiliar having your animals with you and knowing they were safe and happy was comforting as well for our family. I know we slept better in our hotel suite with all of our animals with us.
- Bring a bag specifically with food, leashes, litter, pet toys to sustain your pet and help them acclimate as well. Especially if you are driving the leashes are essential to stopping for bathroom breaks and a short walk around rest stops. If possible take pets with you in your vehicle. Remember if moving in the summer months some airlines will NOT transfer animals in cargo because of heat depending on where the destination is. Cats and small dogs can ride in a carrier inside car and large dogs a kennel. Be sure to have leashes handy if you are traveling long distances.
- Before moving have pets up-to-date on all their shots and have a supply of any regular medicines. If possible see if you can get a referral to new vet in area and transfer records. Update your contact info on microchips or tags with new address and phone number.
- Try to maintain the pets’ routine as much as possible as well to keep them comfortable and be sure to exercise them whenever possible. Walking them is a great option for both you and them to manage the stress of moving. Don’t get so caught up in checking off your to-do list that you neglect giving pets some attention as well – both of you will benefit from the break.
Plans for Pets on Moving Day:
- Have pets away from movers to not get underfoot or injured. If possible board them or have them stay offsite. If they must be there try to keep them in a separate area shut off from move with food and water. Try to have someone walk them to maintain regular routine. We could tell that our pets were out-of-sorts as well with the change in environment as well as picking up on our stress from the move in general. No matter how much planning you do ahead of time it is next to impossible to not have hiccups.
- Once you arrive at new home, give them some time to adjust to new neighborhood. Create their space with familiar toys, blankets, food etc and try to stay as close to their normal routine as possible. Pets are very much creatures of habit and will take comfort in the routine. We let our indoor/outdoor cat out after a few days for short periods of time as she got familiar with the new neighborhood. Once you begin settling in your new home get out in your new neighborhood with your pets to explore and meet neighbors. Pets are an instant icebreaker for many people and help you acclimate to your new environment as well.