Most people aren’t a fan of moving houses; collecting boxes, packing up all of your belongings, hauling them, and inevitably unpacking everything, then sorting it out.
Sounds like fun to me!
I’m one of those people who actually likes moving. I know, strange as it may sound. I look at it as a new adventure. My pets seem to like the new adventure also. They like exploring a new place. I need to remember though, that while a new house is fun and exciting for all of us; it can be potentially hazardous for pets.
I would like to share with you my New House Pre-Pet Move-In Checklist. This generally applies to any dwelling, but if a point doesn’t apply to your specific home, skip it.
- Find out where the Animal Control Department is in relation to your home. This will be easier to figure out now instead of when you’re in a panic looking for your pet if they go missing. Make sure you put their number somewhere handy. A side note: Don’t forget to check with the county before you purchase a house. Some counties have different rules applying to animals. For instance, some counties could limit the number of pets you’re permitted to have. If you have any livestock or horses, sometimes zoning could interfere. Make sure you have checked it out!
- Check your fence for holes or damage. Loose boards, bent chain-link or holes that have been dug underneath the fence can all be hazards to your pet. Make sure you walk the perimeter (twice if you’re paranoid like me) just to make sure there’s no way your pet could get out.
- Check for debris or chemicals that could be appealing to your pet. Check the yard and house for any chemicals or items that could have been left over or out in the open by the previous owners or builders. Some things to look for might be; anti-freeze puddles in the driveway, nails, rodent traps or poisoning, insulation, bare electrical cords, etc. If anything looks suspicious, it’s best to clear it out of the way.
- Spy on the neighbors! Well, don’t actually spy on them, just look to see if their pets are kept in their yard or not. Neighbor pets that run free throughout the neighborhood can wreak havoc. It’s a good idea to walk over to your neighbors and introduce yourself, let them know you have a pet and that you keep them contained to your house and yard. You can even give them your number and if they ever get out of the house or yard, they can call you.
- Put up your fire safety stickers, smoke alarms and extinguishers! Make sure your smoke detectors have batteries, are distributed evenly and liberally throughout the house and that you have one fire extinguisher per floor of your house. Please also put a pet fire safety sticker on all of your doors to notify the firefighters that there are pets inside. This can save their lives in case of a fire. (don’t forget the carbon monoxide detectors, too!)
- Check for pet doors and window screens. I coupled these two together because they can easily be forgotten about or unnoticed. Make sure you know if any of your doors have pet access doors, and if they do, make sure your fence is secure. Pet doors are convenient when you know they’re there! While you’re checking doors, check your windows, too. If you open up a window to get some air, make sure there’s a screen in it. Otherwise, your cat (or dog) could be using that as an escape route to explore.
- Update your microchip and veterinary information. These items can often be forgotten from the “to do” list while moving, but are very important. It’s valuable in case your dog gets loose from the yard, or to inform you about updating your pet’s vaccinations.
- Save the pets for last. While you’re moving your belongings, find a quiet place your pets can stay; daycare, crates, family or friends house. Once you have finished moving into your new house, bring in the finishing touch to make it feel like a home – your pets. This will reduce their (and your) stress levels while moving and it will keep them safe during the moving process.
- Establish your pet’s “area” (food bowl, litter box, bed, water) before they arrive to the house. This will eliminate any confusion about where they’re supposed to go for what they need.
These are just a few things you can do to keep your pets safe and happy while you’re moving and after you’ve moved.
What else might you do for your pets when you’re moving?