Moving to a new home isn’t just a big change for you. It’s also a big change for your pet. While it may not seem like it at first glance, there are actually a lot of things you’ll need to consider if you’re planning to move to a new home with your pet.
Here are five things to think about when moving to a new home with your pet.
A new home means new hazards that could potentially harm your pet. Before bringing your pet into a new space, do a walk through and consider everything from your pet’s perspective. Are there places where your pet could get stuck? If you have a yard, are there areas where your pet could get out under or through a fence? Where will you set up an area for your pet with their bed or crate, toys, etc?
In addition to general safety considerations, you’ll also want to consider your pet’s specific behaviors when pet-proofing a new home. For example, if your cat has a habit of trying to dart out the door in your current home, and your new home doesn’t have storm doors, how will you prevent your cat from getting outside every time you open the door? While there will probably be some things you can’t foresee, taking the time to pet-proof your home before bringing in your pet will make the transition smoother for both you and your furry friend.
Moving is always expensive. When you add a pet to the equation the costs can increase significantly, especially if you are renting a home.
Potential pet-related costs to consider if you’re moving to a new home:
- Pet fees, pet rent, pet deposits: Many apartments and rental homes charge additional fees for pets. Fees can include refundable pet deposits, non-refundable pet fees, and monthly pet rent. Depending on the property and how many pets you have, the costs can quickly add up to several hundred dollars or more.
- Wear-and-tear: Whether they chew up the wood trim from stress and anxiety or ruin the carpet by having an accident when they’re sick, even well-behaved pets can damage home. If you’re renting a property, you’ll be charged for fixing any damages when you move out. If it’s a property you own, you’ll be paying for those repairs yourself.
- Pet-proofing: As noted above, your new home might require pet-proofing. While the costs to pet-proof a rental property should be minor, since you usually aren’t allowed to make material changes to a rental space, the costs to pet-proof your own home could get very pricey if you need to make big changes, like fencing the yard for your dog.
It’s hard to account for every expense that might come up when moving to a new home with your pet. But if you do your due diligence, you should be able to make an informed choice about your new home and avoid being blindsided by unexpected costs.
Depending on how far your new home is from your current home, you might have to consider finding new places to shop, bank, get medical care, and more. In that case, you also would need to find new places for pet services, such as veterinary care, daycare and boarding, emergency veterinary care, grooming, and more. If you know people in the area of your new home, you can ask for recommendations for service providers or search online sites for local places with excellent reviews. You should consider searching those providers out before you need them. You don’t want to find yourself in an emergency situation with your pet and have no idea who to call or where to go.
In thinking about the pet-related logistics of your new home, you’ll also want to consider your pet’s habits. For example, if you take your dog to the dog park every weekend to run and there’s no off-leash park near your new home, how will you adjust to that? Or if you usually let your dog out in the yard unsupervised, but your new home doesn’t have a fenced yard, how will you keep your pets safe when you let them out to do their business?
Moving to a new home will be stressful for your pet, but there are a lot of things you can do to minimize or alleviate the stress and anxiety for them.
- Moving day: If possible, board your pet, or have them stay with a friend for the actual moving day. Going to a new place and having people coming and going as you move things out of your old home and into the new home can be very stressful. In addition, there’s the possibility that in the chaos of moving, someone will leave a door or a gate open and let your pet out. That can be especially dangerous in a new neighborhood where your pet doesn’t know the way home. Boarding them for the day or leaving them with a familiar person means they aren’t caught up in the stress of the actual moving day, and you can focus on moving instead of worrying about your pet.
- Introduce them to the new home: Try introducing your pet to the new home in a relaxed way. If possible, bring them into the space after everything is moved in and the house is quiet. You can show them their bed or crate and let them explore. If you have a fenced yard, go outside and explore the yard with them while they learn the new smells and get acquainted with any other outdoor pets nearby. Take walks as often as possible to let them learn the new area and become accustomed to it.
Once everyone is settled in a routine in the new home, your pet should relax and resume his or her normal behavior. If your pet continues to act anxious in the new home, you’ll want to see if there’s something specific about the new space that’s causing anxiety for your pet. Your vet is a great resource for understanding what might be causing anxiety for your pet in the new environment.
Everything in life seems to be accompanied by some type of paperwork, and moving with your pet is no exception. Since a lost pet can’t tell someone where they live, it’s critical to make sure all of your pet’s documents are in order when you move to a new home. Some places you’ll need to update with the new address include:
- Veterinarian’s office
- Boarding or daycare
- Your pet’s tags
- Dog license, if required by your city
- Identification microchip and/or GPS tracking company
Keeping your contact information current with your pet’s service providers is critical in the event your pet becomes lost, especially if they are lost in a new and unfamiliar area. Having accurate contact information on file for your pet will give you the best chance of reuniting with your pet quickly.
Pets bring a lot of joy to our lives, but with that joy comes the responsibility of making sure your pet is happy and healthy. Taking the time to plan ahead and incorporating your pet’s needs into the process will make moving to a new home with your pet much less stressful for everyone, including your pet.