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8 Tips For Moving with Your Pet

Events that interrupt our day-to-day routines (such as losing a loved one or getting a promotion at work) are called stressors and impact our physical and mental health. Moving is one of the top stressors humans can experience. Moving is also stressful on your pets. All animals want to feel safe and secure, which makes them highly susceptible to stressors. Dogs, for example, detect human emotions like happiness, anger, and anxiety, and respond to human emotion. When your pet notices household and environmental changes, and picks up on your stress, they get very anxious! But not to worry: we’ve done the research! Here are 8 tips for moving with your pet:

1. Talk to Your Vet Before Moving with Your Pet

Talk with your current vet before the big move. Get a copy of your pet’s current medical records and prescription medications, and ensure your pet’s vaccinations (and rabies tag!) are up-to-date. If your pet does not have a microchip, ask your vet to microchip your pet. Microchipping substantially increases the likelihood of a pet returning home by offering secure, reliable, unique and permanent identification.

If your pet is not a good traveler, ask your pet for advice about how to make transport easier on your pet. Your vet may offer tips or prescribe anti-anxiety meds for your pets. If you are moving out of town and will have to find a new vet, let your vet know what city you’re moving to, and ask your vet if they can recommend another practice.

2. Get an Up-To-Date ID Tag Before Moving with Your Pet

Beagle with Pet ID tag
It is wise to get a Pet ID tag before moving.

Before microchips, a Pet ID tag was the old-school way to unite lost pets with their owners. A Pet ID tag is a simple, metal tag you attach to your pet’s collar. This tag features your contact information so people in the community and animal shelter personnel can find you when they find your pet. Pet ID tags are available for purchase at local pet stores.

If your pet does not have an ID tag or microchip, it is wise to get one before moving. After you move, update their Pet ID tags and/or microchip to reflect your new address. You don’t want your pet taken back to your old house should they be lost in the neighborhood!

3. Crate Train Your Pet Before Moving with Your Pet

White cat in kennel
Crate training is important, especially before a move.

Whether you’re packing up your belongings, leaving the front door open to haul boxes out to the moving van, or transporting your stuff to the new space, accidents can happen–pets can get stepped on, wander outside, or worse. Keep your pets safe by keeping them in a kennel or crate when you cannot watch them. When crate training, it is best to start weeks in advance. Get started crate training your pet today

4. Find a Pet Sitter For Your Pet Before Moving with Your Pet

Crating your pet while you’re focused on moving is certainly safer, but being in the crate for hours can still stress your pet out–even if they like their crate! Keep your pet calm by letting them spend moving day(s) with a familiar friend, family member, or pet sitter. (If your pet is used to going to an animal daycare center or boarding facility, that works, too!)

5. Place Your Furniture in Your New Home Before Moving with Your Pet

Dog in kennel
Keep your pet in a calm, quiet, controlled environment as long as possible.

Keep your pet in a quiet, comfortable space at your old house for as long as possible while you get as many of your belongings in place at the new house. Throughout this process, maintain your pet’s regular routine as best you can. (For example, feed your pet at the same time as usual, and go for regularly scheduled walks.) This way, your pet’s new surroundings don’t keep changing, and your pet can get acclimated to your new space more easily. 

Also, remember to adjust the HVAC in your new space so that the inside temperature will be comfortable for your pet once you move your pet into the new place. This is especially important for pets with short snouts like Boston Terriers, English and French Bulldogs, and Boxers, who have more trouble regulating their body temperatures than dogs with long snouts.

6. Transporting Your Pet

German Shepherd dog with tongue out sitting in SUV open trunk
Take your pet with you in your car to the new house.

If at all possible, take your pet with you in your car to the new house. Uses crates and carriers whenever possible, and have leashes, collars, and slip-leads ready. Be on alert when transporting your pet and make sure there is no room for an escape. If they get out, they can easily get lost. It is also important to not open their crate or carrier once in the vehicle. Even if the pet is usually well-behaved, this will cause driving distractions and can be dangerous. 

If you’re planning an overnight trip, book with pet-friendly hotels, and be ready to stop at rest stops so that your pets can use the bathroom. 

If you’re flying, be sure to ask the airline about their pet travel requirements. Never let your pets be stored in overhead compartments, as this has resulted in pet death.

7. Gradually Introduce Your Pet to Your New Home

A new, unfamiliar home can be overwhelming to your pets. To avoid stressing your pet, give them a few days in the new home to adjust. Avoid letting your pet roam the entire house as soon as you arrive. Instead, set up a room where their food, water, and bedding will be, and have this be the first room they have access to. Once they have gotten comfortable there, gradually introduce them to the rest of the house, room by room. 

8. Shower Your Pet with Love

Love and affection will help your animals adjust to your new space.

Sometimes, a warm, assuring hug or snuggle makes all the difference. Give your pet lots of attention, and introduce familiar objects like toys or blankets as soon as possible. Make them feel as at home as you do! Try to be home as much as you can for them, taking lunch breaks to let the dog out or to play with your cat. If you can, give your pet’s access to your bedroom at night to make them feel comfortable and not so isolated in a strange environment.

At The End of the Day

These suggestions are to ease both you and your pet into your new lives with as little stress as possible. Not every pet is the same. And what works for one may not work for the other. It is up to you to remain vigilant and aware of your pet’s needs and behavior. We hope this list gives you plenty to work with as you start your new lives together in a brand new home!

Interested in learning more about moving to a new home? Learn how to move faster for more money here.

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