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For fur parents, moving to a new home will never be complete or successful without their beloved fur babies. Based on statistics, 7 out of 10 households have a pet. More specifically, around 70% of American households, or 90.5 million homes, had a pet as of 2022. In 2023, though home with pets has slightly decreased, the demands are similar for pet parents.

Moving With Dogs: At A Glance  

Most people consider moving houses one of the most challenging and demanding experiences they encounter. As per a survey of over 1,000 American respondents, the majority of them, 45%, have chosen moving houses as the most stressful event, even more so than having kids or going through a divorce.  

Essentially, the level of difficulty when moving long distance increases when you’re taking your furry friends along. Besides dealing with major aspects of moving (e.g., packing, lifting, organizing), you’ll need to physically, emotionally, and mentally prepare your dog for the move.

The same is true for pets. Your furry member can experience stress too during the moving process since you’ll be moving them to an unfamiliar environment. Dogs thrive best when they have a routine or a consistent schedule, and moving houses could affect their routine negatively. 

In fact, according to American Kennel Club (AKC), a sudden change of routine or environment can cause undesirable effects on their sleeping, eating, bathroom habits and exercise. Your fur baby may refuse to eat, chew on random stuff, or pace and whine during or after the move.

To make your move less stressful for both you and your pet, hire a moving company that offers the services you may need, such as packing and unpacking goods and storage services. If you’re moving from or to New York, for instance, you can hire long distance Manhattan movers who can handle everything for you. 

Read on to learn more about how you can prepare your dog for a long-distance move.

Check local pet laws 

Before making the necessary bookings or ticket reservations for your dog, check the local pet laws first in the state or country where you’ll be moving. Usually, dogs or any animal that crosses another country or state’s border in any form of transportation must have an accompanying health certificate. 

Since every state/country has different regulations or laws regarding pet travel, do your research, so you can prepare the necessary documents as early as possible and avoid delays and hassles later on. You must also talk to your dog’s vet about the available travel documents they can provide or issue for your pet.  

Prepare your pet 

Though you and your family are aware of your long-distance moving plan, your dog doesn’t. To keep your pet from feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or surprised about the upcoming change, take your time to prepare them physically, emotionally, and mentally. Here’s how: 

  • Don’t switch your dog’s diet all of a sudden during or after the move, as this could upset their stomach. If the long-distance move is bound to last for days, pack enough amount of food they usually eat and make sure it will last the whole duration of the trip. This way, you won’t have to buy a new dog food or a different brand during the trip. Ensure you also feed them at their usual feeding time to stay consistent with their routine. 
  • If you’re driving for the whole long-distance trip, give your dog at least a few months to get used to car rides with you. Let them smell the vehicle and everything in it, including their pet chair. 
  • Take your dog to their vet for a general check-up, so you can make sure that your dog is fit to travel. You’ll get to find out whether they have a history of motion sickness or travel anxiety. If they do, your vet may prescribe your dog nutritional supplements or sedatives that will help calm them down during the trip. Another advantage of a check-up is having enough time to see if the medications work or cause any side effects. 

More importantly, confirm whether your dog is up-to-date with all the necessary vaccinations. Get a copy of all their health and vaccination records to submit them when needed.  

Pack one bag filled with all your pet’s essentials 

Prepare an essentials box for your dog as well. Include all your pet’s essentials, such as their favorite toys, food and water bowls, treats, leash/carrier, favorite bedding (with a familiar scent from home), and a waste pickup. With this bag, you’ll have everything within reach whenever your pet asks for something during the long-distance trip. 

Plan for stops 

If you’re traveling on the road for several days as part of your move, create a plan of stops for your pet’s feeding or bathroom breaks. Preferably, these stops must sync with your dog’s usual feeding or bathroom time to stay consistent with their daily routine. You can find some pet-friendly hotels where you can stop for the night with your fur baby and do their usual feeding or bathroom breaks.  

Keep your pet safe and away from the action 

During moving day, your place is bound to be chaotic and crowded. Professional movers will be in and out of your home, lifting heavy furniture pieces and large boxes. All this chaos could be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming for your dog.  

To keep them safe, put your dog in an unoccupied room where they won’t see, hear, or feel the commotion of the moving process. You may temporarily place them under your friend’s, family member’s, or a pet sitter’s care until the commotion subsides.  

Keep your fur baby comfortable during the trip 

During the long-distance trip, ensure your dog’s wearing a collar with their identification in case they get lost or missing during the drive. But to prevent this from happening, keep your dog secured in a leash or a carrier, especially during stops or when the vehicle doors are open. Additionally, don’t forget to put some comfortable blankets and bedding around your dog’s carrier or car seat, so they feel relaxed and at home during the trip.  

Wrapping up 

Moving with pets can take a lot of time, work, and effort. But as long as you’re prepared and follow these steps, you and your furry member will go through the long-distance moving process with ease and comfort.

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