A Few Traveling Tips to Make the Move Less Stressful for Your Pets
May 24, 2017 03:02PM
● By Linda Ditch
As moving day approaches, the best way to keep your pets’ stress levels low is by sticking to their regular routines. Schedule a visit to your vet ahead of the move, especially if your move means that you’ll be changing veterinary care. This is a good time for a checkup and to make sure your pets are current on their vaccines, tests, and other health-related issues.
If a pet takes meds, be sure to have enough on hand so you don’t run out before you have a chance to find a new veterinarian. Experienced vets such as those at Norwich Regional Animal Hospital can also advise you about ways to prepare pets for a move and products that can ease stress. They can also give you advice about choosing a new veterinary service that aligns with your pets’ particular health needs.
If the move is across state lines, get a health certificate from your vet and find out what vaccines are necessary in your new state. Don’t leave anything to chance: if you’re a dog owner, make sure your pet’s breed is not banned in your new community and that the homeowner’s insurance you buy covers that breed.
If you keep things as normal as possible and rein in your own stress, most pets will do okay. But for those who experience fear and stress, ask your vet about tranquilizers to help calm them. Natural products such as homeopathic Rescue Remedy might work but if not, you’ll want a prescription for a pharmaceutical product. To avoid unwanted surprises, it is not a bad idea to try the product a week or so ahead of moving day. That way, if your pet has a serious side effect or allergic reaction to the med, you’ll have time to explore other options. The vet can also provide medication for motion sickness.
Perhaps the most important step is to make sure your pets have proper identification in case they get away from you. The most common is a collar with an ID tag. It is also a good idea to write your cell phone number on the actual collar material with a permanent marker in case the tag comes off.
While at the vet, consider having a microchip inserted into your pet. This small radio-frequency chip is the size of a grain of rice and is injected just under the skin between the shoulder blades. Most shelters and veterinarians have scanners that can read the chip, which directs them to a central registry with the pet’s contact information. Microchip insertion is a relatively pain-free, five-minute procedure.
If your pet is not accustomed to riding in a car, drive him around town in the weeks before the move. Some pets settle down after 10 to 20 minutes of driving, but others will continue to be agitated. Medication will help.
On moving day, confine your pets to a quiet room in the house or inside a crate at home to help them stay calm and keep them out of harm’s way. The bathroom is a good choice since not much stuff needs to be moved out of that room. Place a sign on the door to remind everyone to keep the door closed. Another option is boarding your pet for a time at a kennel.
Bring along the pet’s regular food, water, the cat’s usual litter and box, and any favorite beds, toys, or blankets. For long-distance moves, be sure to secure reservations at pet-friendly hotels along the way, and check out the room before you let the animal loose. A frightened pet can crawl into the smallest space. The bathroom is often the best place to keep your pet for the night.
Once you arrive at your new home, continue to follow your pet’s normal routine as much as possible. Dogs usually adjust well as long as they are with their owners, but they may become stressed by new noises or new dogs on the other side of the fence. Cats adjust better if they are housed in a room all their own until they become familiar with the new space and sounds.
Don't forget to check out this handsome fella Archie who is waiting to be adopted at the Upper Valley Humane Society.