Moving house with a pet adds a whole new dimension to the process. Your pets are particularly precious cargo and require special consideration.
Make a short-term plan for moving your furry or feathered friends with as little fuss and frenzy as possible, and also think longer-term about how to ease their transition to a new and unfamiliar home. Before you move
We hope that in the process of renting or buying a new home, you’ve had your pets’ best interests at heart, too. Have you asked yourself the following questions:
- Does your new home have enough space for your pets?
- Is your new home pet-proofed? For example, if your dog will spend time in the backyard, will he be safe from other animals or obstructions? Is he at risk of getting out and running away? Are there other hazards in the home, such as open staircases or a pool, that could pose a danger to your pet?
- Have you found a reputable local vet who can care for your pets?
You’ll also want o make sure your pet’s microchip is working properly and updated with your new address. It’s a good idea, too, for the pet to wear an ID tag. Moving day
When moving day arrives, the key words for your pets are safety and stress-free. If you’re moving by car, make sure you invest in safe, sturdy and comfortable travel equipment for Fido, Felix and Tweety. For dogs, this may mean a crate, a carrier or a seatbelt restraint. For cats, a proper travel box or carrier. For birds, their cage. If possible, include some of their favourite toys or familiar-smelling bedding or items of clothing. If your pet suffers from anxiety or motion sickness in a car, talk to your vet about medications or other alternatives. And don’t forget: plenty of treats and words of encouragement!
If you’re moving interstate, you’ll need to work with the individual airlines to coordinate your pet’s travel with your own. Alternatively, companies such as Jetpets can help you with travel arrangements. Most airlines do accept animals, and they may be able to be on the same flight as you, but in Australia, your pet will travel in cargo in the undercarriage of the plane. Again, speak with your vet if you have any concerns around flying with your pet. After the move
Your new home will be full of new nooks and crannies and new smells to explore and investigate. Let them – again, keeping safety in mind. Experts recommend keeping cats indoors at your new location for two or three nights, so they feel safe at home before exploring their new neighbourhood. Dogs, on the other hand, enjoy walking around their new surroundings. Now’s a good time to check out the local dog parks! And depending on how much you’re at home with your pet, you may also want to research local dog walkers/sitters once you settle in.
If you follow this advice, the hope is your pets will find moving house as exciting as you do. And did I mention treats?