Moving can be stressful for all members of the family, pets included. As I sit here writing this, I’m surrounded by high stacks of boxes that just seem to loom over everything from our recent move. It’s intimidating and scary to me, so I can only imagine what Ralph and Luna must be thinking.

When it comes to moving, one of my biggest stress points is keeping the dogs safe and preventing them from getting out or running away. I remember when I was about 6 or 7, my family was moving from our temporary home in a townhouse rental to the house my parents still live in today. I don’t remember the details, but I remember that somehow over the course of the move one of our dear family cats, Pandora, managed to slip out the front door and we never saw her again. As a kid, I was heartbroken for the loss of a family pet, but it also had an impact on me for how important it is to keep pets are safe during moves.

Our recent move happened to coincide with Lost Pet Prevention Month, hosted by PetHub. Though everything has gone smoothly during our move, I know that is not always the case and wanted to share some tips on how we ensured Ralph and Luna were safe. So this month we’re joining the conversation to talk about how to prevent your pet from getting lost and what to do in the event it happens.

Lost Pet Prevention Month

How to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Move - Lost Pet Prevention Month

Risk #1: Combating Open Doors

On moving day, it doesn’t matter if you hire a moving crew or just paying a few friends in pizza, chances are that you’ll have a revolving front door or just prop it open. It makes moving furniture in and out a whole lot easier, but it also gives all your four-legged friends a much quicker escape route. They could get spooked, be looking to explore, or just try to follow you when they go out that door.

To prevent your pet bee-lining out the door, consider these ideas:

1. Book a day at Doggie Day Care. It may add a little extra cost to your moving budget, but it’s worth it if it keeps your pet safe! Plus, this gets them out of your way on moving day, which means potentially less stress for everybody! You don’t have to worry about them and they won’t worry about the strange people or where all your furniture is going.

2. BUDGET FRIENDLY OPTION! Call in a favor from a family member or friend. Perhaps you have someone who wants to help with your move, but isn’t capable of moving a bunch of heavy boxes? Check to see if they wouldn’t mind watching your pets for a few hours while you get all your stuff to the new place. Or call in a favor from Mom… hey, it works for me!

3. If all else fails, pick a room in your home where you can shut the door and keep your pets inside. I’d recommend a bathroom or laundry room where there is less to move out and less to damage, especially if you have a pet who might dig at the floor to get out. Go ahead and move out the furniture and boxes so you don’t have to disturb them. Make sure to supply a dog bed, a few toys, and fresh water. Don’t forget to check on them a few times and maybe even take them out for a walk if the move runs long.

Risk #2: Handling Your Pet’s Anxiety

During a move, there is a period of time where things are constantly changing. A pile of boxes turns into a pile of your belongings that, if you are anything like me, you have to move around your home one to many times. It is a brand new environment and often even the outdoor surroundings aren’t familiar. All these changes make it a bit challenging for pets to adjust and get used to a new home.

To make this transition easier, pack a special box or bag for your pets that contains all their normal daily items. Include their regular food and water bowls, typical food and treats, a familiar bed, and maybe even a few toys. Don’t forget to pack any medications your pet might need over the next few weeks and of course a leash and harness.

It also doesn’t hurt to bring your pets over to your new home before all your stuff arrives. It gives them the opportunity to explore, sniff, and get accustom to their new home even if they don’t realize that is what it is yet. Before we had our movers come and move all the furniture and boxes, I took over a few trips of more fragile items in just my car. On one trip, I brought the pups with me so they were able to scope out the place before it was full of boxes.

If you notice that your pet is acting overly anxious, pay a little bit of extra attention to them and give them enough affection so that they know that you’re family isn’t changing because your home is.

And make sure you don’t leave boxes full of the good stuff within their reach because trust me… they’ll find it!

Moving with pets can be tough. Here are some helpful tips!

Before moving day comes, don’t forget to take these steps to ensure your pet is protected and has the best chance of being found in the event they do get lost.

1. Update your pet’s microchip information. If you haven’t microchipped your dog or cat yet, GET. IT. DONE.

2. Order new tags with your updated address information. BUDGET TIP: We just put phone number and an email address on our tags, so we don’t have to buy new ones each move.

3. Consider getting a QR code tag like those from PetHub. You can update this information online just like a microchip, so don’t forget to do that either!

4. If you have a GPS tracker, now’s the time to use it. Make sure it’s charged and you’ve updated your home address.

5. Keep a folder of all your pets current information including vet records and a recent photo.

What steps do you take to protect your pets during a move?

Jessica Shipman
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