K9 Corner, Nov. 22
By HELEN PALMER
Last week I gave my ideas of how to prepare your pet for a move to a new home. Since then I have received a newsletter from Dr. Karen Becker (email@example.com) with her ideas on moving with pets. Totally different, I feel those planning on moving might benefit from her take on the subject.
Becker says that the first rule is to make sure that the place you are looking at as a possible new home allows pets. She mentions that some homeowners associations forbid pets, while others “limit the number, size and types of pets.” Although I have never had to worry about homeowners associations, I remember stopping with my three dogs at my cousins’ condominium in a gated community; I was allowed to stay one day only. I needed to arrive early and leave before dark. (I wouldn’t want to live there!)
Becker lists five tips for moving day.
1. Have identification on your pet as well as on the crate. I like a collar with a plate giving your name and (new) address as well as your cell phone number. A microchip is also recommended but be sure the company has your new address before you start your trip. If traveling by car, make sure your dog is restrained with a safety harness or in a crate that is firmly tied down.
If traveling by air, Becker recommends checking with the airline first and make the trip non-stop, (no layovers or changing planes) if possible.
2. On the major moving day, be sure to keep your pet confined. Dogs, and especially cats, are traumatized with strangers loading furniture and with the doors propped open, the pet will bolt outside to get away from the commotion. I would recommend crating the pets and putting the crate(s) in a room away from the activities.
3. On travel day, Becker says to feed a light meal at least four hours before your departure. She also recommends adding a piece of clothing that has your scent on it in the crate. Your scent calms your pet with the feeling that you are close by. (I have provided my veterinarian with such an article when my dog had to be hospitalized for several days.)
4. On arriving at your new home, keep your pet confined inside and let your dog out only on a leash until he realizes the boundaries of his territory. Let your pet(s) explore the house one room at a time under supervision for a while. (Some pets will mark with urine.) I will add to supervise your dog the first week he is off leash in your yard. I adopted a dog who just had to explore the neighborhood which he did by digging under the fence.
5. Becker’s final tip is to keep an eye on your pet’s mood as some pets are so traumatized by the move that they need calming scents to help them adjust. My experience is that if your pet trusts you, your presence is enough to calm him down.