(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Your furball is part of the family, so if you’re like most, you don’t make major life decisions without thinking of your pet’s needs — including where you live and how you move into a new home.
When people decide on new homes and communities, pet priorities are often equal to or more important than human-focused amenities, according to the 2019 Mayflower Mover Insights Survey. American pet owners say one-third of their overall decision to move was related to their pets. What’s more, survey respondents cited a willingness to pay significantly more in living costs per month (32 percent) and even forgo perks like shorter commutes and updated kitchens in favor of pet-friendly features.
Pets may get the priority for perks when their humans relocate, but moving is still a stressful activity for animals. Half of pet owners reported their pets struggled to adjust to new homes. However, there’s good news: more than nine in 10 owners say their pets adjusted to new settings in less than a month. And, more than 90 percent agree that wherever they and their pets are together is instantly home.
Moving with a pet? Consider the following:
• Yard Matters: Dog owners consider yard size 85 percent of the time, and 82 percent of dog and cat owners consider a fenced-in backyard. If you’re looking to let your dog off-leash or allow your cat into the yard, prioritize homes with fencing and plenty of space for pets to exercise.
• Walking Trails: Don’t just consider the house when home-shopping. Look for neighborhoods offering proximity to parks, dog runs, walking trails and other amenities that make dog-walking safe and enjoyable.
• Scope Out Pet Services: Try not to leave a gap in veterinary care or pet services. If you’re moving far enough away to require a new veterinarian, identify who that will be in advance. If anything arises as you’re settling into your new home, you won’t want to deal with the added stress of researching where to take your sick pet. Likewise, get recommendations for services such as dog walkers, pet sitters or dog boarding so you and your pet can hit the ground running in your new community.
• Anticipate Bumps: A move can be difficult on pets — dog owners reported their dogs had trouble adapting to new neighborhoods, while cats had more trouble adjusting to new houses. Nine out of 10 dog and cat owners recommend being patient, spending more time with pets and showing them where everything is in the new home.
• Pack Pet Gear Wisely: Make moving day a breeze by keeping all your pet supplies — food, medications, etc. packed in an easy-to-access box that’s clearly labeled. Consider keeping several days’ supply with you and transporting these necessities in your car.
Planning a move? For tips and insights, visit mayflower.com.
With a bit of extra preparation, you can pave the way for a smooth move for everyone in your family, including your pet!
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)