The title of this piece says it all–packing and pets don’t mix. You know how stressed out you can become during the packing and moving process? That’s how stressed out your pets can become and they don’t even have the cognitive skills to rationalize or analyze the situation put in front of them. They just react to what they see and how they see you acting. That’s why I’m suggesting you take a few extra steps to make sure your pets make it through the moving process alright.
First, be aware of your things while your packing and where your unattended pets are. Even the best of animals can be tempted to chew up and destroy an errant item that has been displaced while packing. For example, my very well behaved, loving dog took it upon herself to shred one of my favorite shirts one day that had fallen under the bed while I was packing up my seasonal clothes. Never in a million years would I have thought that she’d have done something like that, but with the chaos of the day and the temptation to express her feelings through ripping apart that shirt, she did it anyway. I’ve learned to keep a close eye on what is still within pet reach while packing.
Next, your pet isn’t going to really care that you’re busy and don’t have time to go through their normal routines with them. If you walk your dog everyday, continue to walk your dog everyday. If you let your ferret or bird out of its cage for a while each day, find a way to safely do that while packing. This will help to keep the animals calm. Also, an energetic animal is only going to be more, well, irritating during the packing process than a tired one. It isn’t a bad choice to play fetch or exercise an animal well in the morning if you’re going to be packing so they are nice and tired while you’re trying to work.
Lastly, and most importantly, try to arrange it so that your pet isn’t home during major packing and moving days. A friend of mine just lost her cat during a moving day because it got spooked and bolted down the street when the door was left open. This happens a lot. Like I said before, animals don’t quite understand what is going on and just react. Aside from just bolting down the street, animals might not react well to strangers in their home and (perhaps worst of all) animals try to hide when they are spooked. That means that your little friend might jump into a box or the back of a truck to hide and nobody knows they are there. My last mover said he could tell me many horror stories about opening trucks and boxes and finding pets, but he didn’t want to ruin my day. Me, I prefer to put my dogs in “dog daycare” or even board them when packing and for sure on the big moving day. I won’t take any chances with my dogs on a big “moving truck is here” moving day.
When moving, be sure to keep your pets in mind. They might seem self sufficient and might not be at the tip top of your priority list at the moment, but keep an eye on them. Having problems with a pet is the last thing you need when moving.