11 Tips To Make Your Move With Pets Easier

Moving can be a stressful experience, especially for the furry family member. Whether you’re moving a pet across the street, change can be stressful for cats and dogs alike. Pet owners need to consider that their animals may be sensitive to such a big change and plan accordingly.

Cats can be especially anxious about clutter and new scenery, while skittish dogs can also be susceptible to emotional stress throughout the moving process.

In this guide on moving with your pet, as an expert mover, we’ll explain how you can work to ensure your four-legged family members have a safe, happy transition to their new home.

1. Get your pet used to packing supplies and boxes.

Many pets love to play with packing supplies… who doesn’t enjoy the endless fun of an empty box or some rippable tissue paper? To help your pets get used to having boxes around, start packing early.

If you have room, start stocking up on boxes several weeks before your move. Place less commonly used items in the boxes and leave them open. Your pets might be curious at first, but soon they won’t give them a second glance.

Conditioning your pets ahead of time helps reduce disruptions and box attacks as you get closer to moving day and packing begins in earnest.

2. Avoid changing your routine to reduce stress on your pet.

Pets (especially dogs and cats) are creatures of habit. The more your schedule changes, the higher their anxiety is likely to go.

It can be tempting to skip the everyday routines with your pets if you’re on a roll with packing or organizing your to-do list, but the small disruption to your flow now will pay off with a happier pet in the long run.

To keep your pet’s stress levels down in the weeks leading up to moving (and on moving day itself if you can!), make sure you do the following:

  • Feed them at the same times as usual
  • Never skip their regular walks or playtime
  • Give them a little extra love and patience: it’s stressful for them too!

3. Keep your pets entertained.

You’re going to be busy while you’re moving, but making a little extra time to entertain and exercise your pets is essential. One of the best antidotes to stress is burning off all that anxious energy! A tired pet is a calm pet, which will make your whole move more peaceful for everyone.

If things are just too busy to fit in an extra walk or play session, consider asking a friend to come help and take your furry friend for some outdoor playdates. Dog walking services are also a great way to help your pup get some exercise and time away from a hectic household. Check out an app like Rover or Wag to find a reliable dog walker in your area.

Consider using brain games as an additional way to help keep your pet occupied. They will be less likely to get bored and misbehave, and it will free up time for you to focus on other tasks.

4. Keep a comfortable, secluded space for your pet.

Boxes, piles of clothes, half-taken apart furniture… moving can quickly turn your once organized home into a mountain of clutter. While some mess is unavoidable, keeping at least one space clear and comfortable for your pet throughout the moving process is a necessity for a happy pet.

Whether that’s a small room, corner, or even an open closet, having somewhere they can retreat to when the chaos overwhelms them is key, especially for cats and dogs.

Close up portrait of gorgeous black and white cat with heterochromia, lying on its back. Playful kitten with multi-colored eyes. Unusual eye color. World cat day.

It can be ideal to have a friend, family member, or trusted kennel keep your pet for a couple of days as you make the actual move, but sometimes that doesn’t work. If your pets are along for the move, prioritize getting your pet’s space ready first when you arrive at your new place. Place their blanket, cage, or crate in a comfortable spot that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the move, but not so far that they can’t hear you. You don’t want them to feel like they’ve been left alone in a brand new place.

Consider putting dogs and cats in a room with a door that can be closed during move out and move in, as the front door is likely going to be open a lot as you move all your things inside. The last thing you want is an escapee to chase after during your already exhausting day.

5. Get in touch with your vet.

Vets know a lot about helping pets manage stressful situations… especially since most pets don’t enjoy their visits! They are an excellent resource for questions about reducing your pet’s anxiety levels.

It’s a good idea to book a visit with your vet a few weeks before you move so you can do the following:

  • Double-check that all vaccinations are up to date and obtain a current rabies vaccination certificate (if needed).
  • Make sure your pet is healthy and stocked up on any regular prescriptions so that you are less likely to have to make an emergency visit during your busiest time.
  • Chat about potential stress-reduction tactics or supplements to help ease anxiety.
  • Request a copy of your pet’s medical files and records if you are moving away from your current neighborhood or city and will need to switch vets.
  • Ask your vet for a recommendation for a new vet if you haven’t found one in your new community yet.
  • Ask about additional tests or vaccinations if moving out of state.

6. Inform yourself of new pet laws if you’re moving to a new Estate

You don’t want to be caught off guard about leash and pet laws if you move to a new city! Do your research beforehand, so you know what to expect. If you’re moving into a new apartment (or rental home), it’s important to know the pet requirements for your lease. The last thing you want is to be turned away when you show up with a pet!

It is a good idea to have newly updated pet tags made before you move. If your pet is microchipped, don’t forget to update their information online.

7. If you’re moving across the state, make sure you plan pet-friendly accommodations.

When booking your accommodations, make sure your pet will be welcome wherever you are staying. Many popular booking websites let you narrow your search to only include those places that are pet-friendly, but don’t assume all pets will be welcome!

Check with the accommodation provider if you are moving with a venomous snake or a pet that is a bit out of the ordinary.

8. Secure your pet and make sure they stay close to keep them safe.

During the moving process, doors will be left open, and people will be going in and out. Keep your pet secure so they have no opportunities to run away due to fear or confusion. Place them in a kennel in a quiet part of the house or in a separate closed room.

Do not leave your dog unattended in the backyard of your new home while moving in! Have a current photo and updated tags/microchips just in case they escape.

9. Pack a separate emergency moving bag for your pet.

Reduce the stress of moving for both yourself and your pet by having all your pet’s necessities packed and on hand. Water bowls, favorite toys, a blanket, food, treats, kitty litter, etc., are a good start.

Don’t forget a roll of paper towels and disposable plastic bags to help with unexpected clean-ups!

10. Prepare your pet for a safe move in your vehicle.

The best place for your pet is secured by a seatbelt in their crate or carrier in the backseat. Make sure seat belts are securely fastened in case of an accident and that there are no loose objects or boxes that could fall and hit your pet. You can put a blanket over your pet’s crate or carrier to reduce visual stimulation if you think this will help reduce their anxiety (a definite must for our bird friends).

It is important to remember that this should not be the first time your pet has been in their crate or carrier! Familiarize them with it beforehand, so it is a safe and comfortable travel space. You can even take them out on a few test drives beforehand, so travelling in the car is not a new and scary experience.

11. Pet-proof your new home before your pet arrives.

A new space can mean unexpected hazards for your pet. Follow these pet-proofing tips to make sure they will be safe in their new home:

  • Secure all screens, windows, gates, and doors
  • If you have a balcony, ensure your pet cannot squeeze through or jump over the railing
  • Scour outdoor fences for potential escape routes
  • Make sure all vents have covers
  • Close toilet lids so small pets cannot fall in, and dogs cannot drink water that may contain chemicals
  • Check for any pest control traps or poison that may have been left behind
  • Plants can also be poisonous, so check the backyard and remove or isolate any plants that present a threat to your pet
  • Don’t just look for the obvious! Mothballs, firestarter sticks, and electrical cords are just a few things that can harm your pet

Keep in mind that dogs are prone to chewing when they feel anxious. Be proactive and provide them with plenty of chew toys so they will not be tempted to chew on less desirable options (your shoes or an electrical cord for example).

Try your best to keep your space clean and clutter-free to reduce the ch

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