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Moving 101: Pet Safety

Moving day is here, your bags are packed, boxes loaded, and movers are en route. Everything seems to be going smoothly, then suddenly, you realize you can’t find Fido…

More than 10 million pets go missing each year. A good number of those wander off while their families are preparing for a move. To avoid this situation, you must take preemptive measures to ensure your entire family (even those with furry paws) make it home safely. Keep reading for a few tips on how to keep your canine secure, calm, and confident while planning a change of address.

Before the move

The first step toward purchasing a new home is to sell your current one, and as a seller, your number one goal should be to make potential buyers feel as comfortable as possible when they come for a showing. The biggest piece of advice any Realtor® will give you is to remove your pet during showings via boarding, leaving them with someone else, or taking them for a walk during the scheduled showing. Not only will this put buyers at ease, but it will reduce potential stress to your dog due to having strangers come in and out of the house such as agents, buyers, or home inspectors. After you’ve made sure your dog is safe and secure, don’t forget to address any potential odors too, as this is often a turnoff for buyers. Sweep up any dog hair, make sure the yard is free of droppings, and put pet supplies away. Remember, you love your pup more than anything, but it could be the deciding factor for someone else.

ID is key

According to the Brittmoore Animal Hospital in Houston, microchipping your pet gives them their best chance at returning home in case of an accidental escape. This simple procedure involves implanting a chip the size of a grain of rice under your dog’s skin. It is a safe and effective way to create a tangible bond between you and your pet. Before the move, make sure your dog’s tags are up-to-date with current contact information. Pets that are easily identifiable are more likely to be returned!

Try the car, but not too far

If your pet isn’t used to traveling, get them accustomed to being in the car well ahead of moving day. Start with short trips, perhaps to the local dog park. This way, your beloved best friend will associate driving with something positive and won’t be as skittish later on. Increase your distance gradually and always offer treats for good manners. Consider investing a few dollars in a vehicle restraint system for your dog. These comfortable tethering systems keep Poochie in place, meaning you’ll be less distracted and she will be safer during a sudden stop.  GoPetFriendly.com points out that it is illegal in some parts of the country to drive with a dog in your lap, so harnessing may save you from an expensive ticket.

Board not bored

Short of locking Lucy away in a room by herself, consider boarding your dog or hiring a dog walker to keep her entertained in the days before the move. This will not only allow her more freedom but will give you the peace of mind that your precious pup isn’t underfoot and out the door. Hiring an off-site pet sitter for the day is especially beneficial when you’re selling your home. Sellers can (and should) take advantage of local boarding facilities, too. Dogs, as creatures of habit, tend to get nervous during showings, walkthroughs, and open houses. And anxious animal may exhibit signs of aggression toward perceived intruders, which may result in a missed sale. Most buyers prefer a pet-free possibility when purchasing a new place. The question of what to do with pets while a home is on the market was posted on Trulia back in 2008. Nearly a decade later, agents are still responding with an almost universal cry of, “Keep the dogs out of the house!” Rover, which recently partnered with DogVacay, is a great nationwide resource for finding trustworthy pet parent proxies.

Acclimate instead of crate

While you may have been looking forward to this transition for weeks, months, or even years, this change of scenery will be a shock to the family pet. When you arrive at your new home, allow your dog to explore his new surroundings. If possible, have a few of his favorite toys waiting in various rooms upon arrival and some special treats from your new town. Be patient, and let him check out each new room in his own time. Perhaps most importantly, give your bewildered bow-wow the love and attention he’s used to. This will ease his fears and make the move a tolerable task for all concerned.


Cindy is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started Ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.