Wednesday, June 29, 2016 –
In 1960, John Steinbeck, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Grapes of Wrath,” set out on a journey across America to discover the country’s identity. He outfitted his truck with living quarters and with his poodle Charley as co-pilot, made a journey he’d later recount in his memoir “Travels with Charley: In Search of America.”
Charley had it pretty good; the cabin was spacious for him and he frequently stopped along rivers, forests, on mountains with sweeping vistas and watched the plains roll by the window. It was a dog’s dream, even if it was temporary. Of course, the trip wasn’t without its concerns and anxieties. But pets like Charley are members of the family. And like any family member making the move to a new location, it can be a difficult experience. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to keep your furry-family member stress-free during your move.
First Things First
Are you a cat or a dog person? Both? Cats and dogs react differently to new surroundings. While both can be territorial, cats don’t adapt to change as quickly or as easily as most dogs. Cats can also have a more difficult time traveling because they don’t like being confined to their carriers. Letting cats roam in the vehicle can also be dangerous. Cats love consistency. Here’s how you can prepare them for the move: If your cat doesn’t like your carrier, it can stem from memories it associates with going to the vet or coming home from the shelter. Prior to the move, leave the carrier out and open so the cat can explore it and become familiar with it. Place your cat’s favorite blanket and/or toy inside the carrier to increase comfort and curiosity.
Praise your cat when it goes inside the carrier with pets or healthy treats. Once you’re in your new home, leave the carrier out for the cat to come and go as it please. This will help acclimate it to its new surroundings by offering some familiarity. Cat carriers should be made with a sturdy material, like plastic, and not cardboard. Place a sheet over the carrier while riding in the vehicle. This reduces anxiety from watching things move by the window quickly.
When it comes to travel, dogs are temperamentally different. For the most part, dogs enjoy a good car ride with the windows down and frequent stops to sniff around new locations. But dogs can suffer from the same anxieties as cats, especially if they are shelter rescues or suffer from separation anxiety. Here’s some ways to make sure your pup is moving-day ready: On moving day, keep your dog in one room or a small area of the yard while you pack your belongings. This will help ease anxiety by preventing them from seeing you pack your stuff – this is especially true for shelter dogs that may think they’re being left again. Have a neighbor, or friend, watch and play with the dog while you pack your moving vehicle, or while your moves load their truck. Use a safety harness to comfortably secure your dog in the seat. Or use a safety gate that restricts its movement in the vehicle, but also gives your dog room to stretch out.
Like you, pets get hungry and thirsty in the car, especially on long trips. Even if your move is just across town, it’s a good idea to pack a bag for your pet. Make sure to include the essentials, like a gallon of water and mealtime portions of your pet’s food. Like with the cat carrier technique above, packing a pet’s favorite toy or blanket is always a good way to keep them entertained in the vehicle and distracted from any anxiety they might feel. It’s also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit for your pet on hand, especially if your pet requires any special medication. When you get to your new home, place your pet’s toys and other objects in similar locations to your old place. And don’t change feeding times or amounts. Routine is key to help make the transition easy.
Drive Around the Block
Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t fall asleep so your parents would drive you around the block until you nodded off? Maybe you do that with your children now. There’s something about the familiarity of riding in a car that’s relaxing. You can do the same thing with your pet. By taking them on short trips prior to your move, then slowly increasing to longer trips, you can acclimate your pet to riding in a vehicle. If they do well on these drives, show them affection or reward them with a healthy treat. Or, in the case of your dog, drive them to a location they enjoy, like a walking trail, a dog park, or the beach.
It goes without saying that pet safety should be your number one concern when moving with a pet. Make sure any belongings in the vehicle are secure and won’t hurt your pet during the ride. Also, never leave your pet in a hot, unattended vehicle. On a summer day in the high-70s, car interiors can reach between 100 to 120 degrees in minutes. Here are a few other safety tips to keep in mind: Though pets are usually more comfortable in a vehicle, if you’re flying with your pet while a moving company transports your belongings, make sure you check the airline’s pet policy. You should also talk to your vet to make sure its safe for your pet to fly. Once you have your new address, update your pet’s tags and registration documents. If your pet has a microchip, you will want to update that information with your new address immediately. Learn the pet regulations of your new town, city and/or state, especially if you’re moving abroad. Some restrictions include: health regulations, documentation (like rabies vaccination) and species/breed restrictions. Have a leash and collar with your at all times. This will prevent your pet from getting lost at a travel stop or in a new location, and will keep the pet safe from getting hurt.
Remember the old phrase measure twice, cut once? It’s better to plan ahead and make sure everything for your pet is ready-to-go come moving day than scrambling at the last minute. Make sure if you’re stopping overnight that the hotel, or other accommodation (like your in-laws), allow pets. Some hotels don’t have a pet fee, while others might charge $25-$50 per pet. Always let your hotel know you have a pet. You should also make a list of all the things your pet will need during the move, like food, water, a leash and collar and any medical records, that you can check off as you pack. Have those items easily accessible in your vehicle. While dogs and cats are most common, they’re not the only animal family members out there. Plan accordingly to your pet; whether it’s an iguana, parakeet, snake or hedgehog, each species has its own needs.
You and your pet are on a new adventure! If you’re trip is relatively long, take time to explore with your pet. Take photos, give them plenty of fresh air during the move. And with Earle W. Noyes & Sons residential moving services, you’ll have more time to spend with your pet while we do the heavy lifting for you!