Notes from the Vet – Dr. Jim Lowe – Relocating? A Pet’s Perspective

In all the excitement, sweat, and logistics of relocating one’s residence, details regarding your pet’s health and well-being can be overlooked. A sound plan can ease their transition.

A week prior to your departure, provide access to your pets’ crates and cages that will be used to transport your companions. Leave the doors open, place a favorite toy or blanket inside, and consider feeding them near or inside so they become very comfortable with them. Pheremones placed in and around crates can also assist in making your pet comfortable on the day they are placed in them and confined for an extended period during your move.

Make sure pet vaccinations are up-to-date and place a copy of rabies certificates in the glove box. Check with your state of destination regarding requirements for health certificates for travel.

To address travel anxiety and/or nausea, pets should travel on an empty stomach with feeding to occur at the end of the day’s travel. When making rest stops, keep dogs restrained with a leash or harness system. Frequent stops allow for elimination breaks and allow the dog to burn a little energy. Avoid areas where trash or other debris may be present. Offer small amounts of water at this time.

Upon arrival at your new home, consider confining cats to a single, quiet room for a period of time to acclimate to their new surroundings. Food and litter boxes can be placed in these areas and allow cats to become more adventurous at their own pace.  Appreciate that cats may be especially nervous and hyper-excitable during this transition, so minimize loud noises and other stressors if possible.

Assure the new backyard is free of any dangers to your dog and the fence is secure before allowing access. 

Before, during, and after the move, supplements to minimize anxiety and its symptoms can provide additional support during your family’s exciting transition.