Did you know that nearly 70 percent of U.S. households have a pet (or two or more)? That’s 85 million families – including many here in Southern Maryland – with a finned or four-legged family member, according to the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owner’s Survey.
We all know that moving from one home to another can be stressful on children, but it can be equally challenging for our pets.
We’ve rounded up some tips from the pros on how to make the transition easier for your pets.
See your pet’s vet
Your schedule is packed the weeks before you move, but it’s important to fit a quick visit to your pet into your calendar.
If your pet is on medication, ask for refills for the prescription. Got an anxiety-prone pet? Ask the vet for medications to help during the move.
Most important of all, though, is to ensure your pet is microchipped.
If your pet gets out of your new house before he or she becomes acclimated to the area, there’s a good chance it will become disoriented and find itself lost. With a chip in place, the person who finds your pet will be able to contact you.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags as a backup.
Which leads us to the second part of microchipping: If your pet is already chipped, ask your vet how you can update your contact information to include your new address and phone number (if that will be changing).
Finally, get a copy of your pet’s records, including all visits and vaccination records so you have them for your new vet if you’re moving out of town.
Making a long-distance move with your pet
The best way to transport your pet is by car, says the American Humane Society (AHS).
The AHS also recommends that you transport your pet in a “secure, well-ventilated pet carrier.” Also, make sure that you have an escape-proof collar, leash, water and food bowls, pet food, and bottles of water for those potty/rest stops you’ll need to make.
On moving day, keep the pet in a room with a closed door or in a crate in a quiet area of your home. The last thing you need when you’re on a tight moving schedule is for your pet to attempt a great escape.
Pet-proof the new place
When you get to your new Southern Maryland home, secure your pet or pets in a bedroom with its bed, crate, and favorite toy or a piece of clothing that has your scent on it.
Then, go outside and check the fence from top to bottom, looking for holes and gaps that your pet can fir through. Naturally, if your pet is an indoor-outdoor cat, he or she can just go over the fence, so this tip is primarily for dog owners.
If there’s a lawn, check it for signs of being recently fertilized (pellets, etc.). Don’t allow your pet into the backyard until you’ve thoroughly washed away any fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides.
Run a quick check of the plants in the backyard to ensure they’re pet-friendly. Check the database at ASPCA.org.
Take your dog on a tour of the new neighborhood
During the first week or so in your new home, make a point to walk your dog around your new neighborhood. Soon, he or she will be acclimated to their new surroundings. This increases the chances that should your dog escape the house, it is familiar with the neighborhood and can find its way home.
Pets have different personalities and some will sail right through a move to a new area in Southern Maryland while others may become nervous and stressed. Don’t be surprised if your pet begins behaving differently. It’s all a part of becoming comfortable and acclimated with the new surroundings.
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