Moving Tips for Pet Lovers

fluffy dog sitting on moving boxes

If you thought moving was easy for your pet, think again. Sure, Fido and Fluffy don't have to pack boxes or worry about setting up the cable, but moving can still be stressful for them. They'll definitely notice all their favorite stuff is in boxes, and changes in their environment can cause anxiety. The best way to alleviate stress and help soothe your pet during the moving process is to plan ahead. We put together some of the best tips for moving with pets, so you can make sure your furry family members are well taken care of.

fluffy cat looking angry
Megan Ann via Flikr

Acclimate Your Pet to Transportation

Pet relocation typically can't happen without a car ride or maybe even a plane trip to get to their new home. If your cat or dog’s only experience with getting in the car is to go to the vet, she probably won't be too keen on jumping in the car and might show signs of anxiety like shaking and whining. And most of our furry friends have never been on a plane, so if your pet transport involves air time, acclimating them to the crate is even more important.

Before you move, start increasing exposure to get your pet used to the crate or the car ride so it's not so scary to them. A quick car ride to the park a few times a week ahead of the move will do wonders for your pet's nerves. If you're moving with pets across the country, you'll be glad you put in the hard work when Fido is able to relax for the long car drive. For crates, leaving the crate out with Fluffy's favorite toy or blanket in it will help create a positive association. Be sure to give praise and treats when Fluffy goes inside!

orange cat being pet

Keep Them Contained

Moving with cats and dogs gives you enough to think about without having a runner on your hands. On moving day, cats should be placed in their carrier and dogs should be confined to one bedroom with the door closed. Better yet, ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to take your pet while the moving truck is being packed. This will help keep them safe while people are moving in and out of the house and leaving doors open for convenience.

Once everything has been loaded onto your moving truck, it's time to get going. Be sure to keep your pets secure in the car, too: Cats should be kept in the carrier and dogs should be harnessed in a seat belt (yes, they make those for dogs!) or restricted to an area of the car with a barrier. This keeps both you and your pet safe. Fido won't be able to jump into the front seat and hit the gas or jump out at rest stops; and, if there's an accident, everyone will be restrained.

two kids cuddling with a dog

Prevent Pet Anxiety After Moving

Moving pets can be confusing for them, so introduce your new home to your pet slowly, and have patience. You may be tempted to just let them have the run of the house right away, but try introducing one room at a time. This will help them feel safe and comfortable in their new surroundings. Prepare the new home by designating locations for food and water, toys, and litter trays. Do your best to maintain your normal routine as much as possible (i.e., feeding and walking at the same times). However, if you're moving a dog from a house to an apartment, you may need to change the routine to ensure he or she gets enough exercise.

Lastly, but certainly not least, always make time to show Fido and Fluffy love. Especially when you first settle into your new place, set aside ample time for petting sessions and play. If you do, your pet will adjust much faster and before you both know it, your pet will be claiming your new home as its own.

About the author

The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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  • I have two cats and I am going to move in a house next month. I am so afraid that they won’t like their new home. Thank you for the nice advices here. It is hard to explain to a pet that it is OK to live in a house, not in a tiny apartment. Wish me luck!