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According to pet expert and author Sandy Robins, the first thing you should do is update your pet's tags and microchips. Unfortunately, Quimby's microchip still thinks she's a farm stray in Iowa. Whoops.
Next, you should stow all your pet's dishes, food, blankets, and toys in a box marked "Unpack First." Keep track of that box, and move it yourself. We packed all of Quimby's stuff together and labeled the box "Gold Star!" But then we forgot to actually set the box aside, so the movers stacked it in the center of a labyrinth of identical boxes in our new living room.
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Getting ThereIf you're planning a big move, try taking your pet on short trips in the same vehicles and carriers you will use on moving day. Should your move involve a car trip, be sure to make frequent stops to let your dog run around and urinate in exotic, exciting places -- for dogs, this is the joy of travel! And even though it looks cute when your pet sits in the passenger seat like a furry human, keep dogs and cats safe while you're driving by confining them to a crate or a carrier.
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Make a comfortable spot for your pet right away. It's important to provide tons of reassurance to your sweet creature, whom you love but whose brain is the size of a walnut and thus can't really understand what's happened to its comfortable little life. A plug-in synthetic pheromone diffuser (such as those manufactured by Ceva, available at wag.com) can provide comfort to cats and dogs in stressful situations.
Thankfully, after a few weeks, Quimby was back to her ageless ways. I just wish we had thought harder about how to keep her happy during the move. Next time. (Dear Lord, I never want to move again.)
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In With the New
While slobbered-on stuff is safe and familiar, a few new items can help your pet adjust during and after a move.
Put your new address on a handmade triple-layered ID tag. Custom pet ID tag, $19.50, etsy.com/shop/thecopperpoppy.
Playing Cat and Mouse
A 12-pack of catnip-filled toys will have Kitty purring in no time. Cat toys, by Martha Stewart Pets, in Natural, $10, petsmart.com.
For the Furry Jet-Setter
This carrier is airline approved and lightweight. Argo Pet Avion carrier, $79, teafco.com.