Moving is a chore all by itself, but making sure your pet fares well in the adventure requires extra planning.
Read on for what to consider when choosing a rental — and how to make the move as smooth as possible for your furry family member!
The pet-friendly rental
Finding a rental that take pets is your first step in securing happy housing for you and your dog or cat. You’ll want your new landlord to welcome you both with open arms, so be up front with the fact that you have a pet. You can go one further by having a pet resume at the ready. This is a document that includes vaccination and spayed or neutered information (with supporting documents), references from past landlords, neighbors, your veterinarian, obedience trainers and any other positive information that will make your pet shine.
Look for housing, ideally, with a fenced yard, in a neighborhood which offers plenty of walking options and perhaps a dog park. If you worry about your dog or cat roaming loose, consider renting a house on a street that’s removed from a heavily-trafficked road.
Planning the move
Depending on how far you have to go and how you’re getting there, you may be using a pet carrier to transport your animal. If so, start getting your pet used to the carrier as soon as possible, making it readily available with a favorite toy or blanket inside. Once your pet sees the carrier as a safe haven, traveling in it on the big day won’t seem as traumatic.
If traveling by plane, check pet travel policies on your airline of choice to see what restrictions they have and to find out what paperwork and evidence of vaccinations you must provide — before making reservations.
Talk to your vet about whether your pet may need a sedative for more comfortable travel. Also, consider getting your dog or cat groomed just before the trip so that nails are trimmed for the event.
The day of the move is usually stressful for everyone involved, and your pet can pick up on all the expectant energy in the air. Be sure to keep your routine as normal as possible, while keeping your voice and body language as calm as you can. Plenty of affection and praise will assure your pet that nothing bad is happening.
Moving days also offer the opportunity for anxious pets to bolt out an open door. Choose a room in the home you’re leaving and make it your pet’s base while everything is moved out. Make sure to keep the door closed (warn friends and family members to do the same) and to supply your pet with food, water, a favorite toy and the crate, if you’re using one.
Depending on the size and duration of your move, you might want to board your dog at a kennel during the tumult, and pick her up in time to get in the car or plane, en route to your new rental home.
When you arrive
Getting used to a new home can be as unsettling to a pet as leaving the old one. Keep your pet in his crate or in a closed room until everything is moved in, and you can begin to create order. As with your exit strategy, supply your pet with everything she will need upon arrival—familiar food/water bowls and favorite toys. Now your pet can begin the process of exploring this new territory comfortably.
As you plan your move, begin making arrangements for your pet, too. Thoughtful preparation will make the experience easier on the two of you and help ensure a happy move into your new home!