Whether moving across town or out of state, it is an exhausting process for any family, including the furry children. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and thrive on predictable routines. The frenzied activity of a household relocation can cause as much stress for them as their owners, yet manageable with some extra planning. Pet sitters can help their clients by sharing these tips and offering special (off-site) pet care for clients moving locally. Pet Pro Tip: partner with local real estate agents to let them know you offer pet care services for their clients on the move.
Before any move, researching local ordinances and homeowner’s association by-laws that may restrict certain dog breeds OR the number of household pets allowed is critical. For multi-pet families, it’s important to know in advance what to expect before signing the housing or rental contract! Discriminatory breed bans are particularly prevalent when it comes to “bully breeds” with an unfair bias against Pit bulls. Breed stereotypes can affect homeowner’s insurance rates, rental property availability or restrictions against ownership.
If moving cross country, pet owners should consider climate changes that might require additional pet protocols for flea, tick, heartworm and Leptospirosis treatment. Leptospirosis is more common in warm climates and those areas with high annual rainfall. Many dog owners living in desert climates enlist professional snake-training for their dogs as an added precaution.
Maintain Pet Routines with Focus on Safety
It’s important to maintain a pet’s daily routines as much as possible, especially during the packing process. All those boxes and disappearing items will be unsettling for them. Leave their pet beds, bowls and toys for last and make sure they are the first items to be unpacked. Cats love cardboard boxes, which is a bonus for cat owners. Let the cat play with an empty box or two, and perhaps add a special treat inside to make those boxes extra fun for them.
If a dog or cat is not used to a carrier, a slow introduction is necessary. Leave the crate/carrier out with the door open. Add a favorite toy or treat inside so they can explore it slowly and on their terms. You can also serve their meals inside the crate, moving the food further back each time.
Moving day can be quite traumatic for both owner and pet. The commotion of movers may prompt a “fight or flight” response, and an open front door is not only likely, but an invitation for a dog or cat to escape. As an added precaution, create a safe, quiet and secure room for them. For highly anxious dogs or cats, calming aids, supplements or medications may be needed. This should be discussed with the family veterinarian.
Find A Local Veterinarian upon arrival!
Once settled, pet owners need to find a local Veterinarian and emergency 24/7 vet facility near their new home. Tips to finding a good vet include word of mouth, neighbors, rescue groups and breed-specific organizations. Searching on Yelp and Google can also be helpful. Ask about care costs and if a payment plan is available. A pet insurance plan should also be considered as part of a pet’s wellness program, for all life stages. Keeping vaccination records in an organized file to share with the new vet is always a good practice, yet often overlooked and easily lost in a move.
A family move brings many new and different changes that can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. Some pets may take a detour on potty or crate training when in a new place, as they adjust.
Getting them used to the new house, neighborhood, environmental scenery and noises can be viewed as an adventure if not an invitation to get back to basics with dog training and using high value treats as rewards during acclimation. Positive reinforcement with calming tones and praise will help pets adjust during the move and after settling into new digs.
Your Pet Pros @ AoPP