Tips for Moving with Pets


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As you prepare for moving day, it’s essential to consider all your family members as you’re making plans, and that also includes your pets.

For many families, moving can be hectic, and when you throw a cat or dog into the mix, there are plenty of extra considerations to be made. Here are a few of our favorite tips from some trusted resources to help you and your furry friends get ready for your big move!

Before Moving Day

There are tons of tips and tricks out there for ways to help your pet prepare for moving day. If you’re concerned about how your pet will handle changes in scenery or the drive from your old home to the new one, many experts recommend talking with your vet.

Carrier Training

Purina recommends helping your pets acclimate to carriers before moving day. Familiarizing them with carriers will help them feel more comfortable during the drive. Try to achieve their familiarity and how comfortable they are with the carrier before packing.


They also recommend allowing your pets to watch the packing process unfold, instead of isolating them, which can cause stress. When packing make sure to pack your pet’s items separately. You should also label and store any food and medications your pet will need while you are packing and when you move to avoid packing them away. This will help if you need to quickly access something during the drive or make it easy to find their things when you arrive at your destination. 


Make a list and check it twice, here are some things to keep in mind when making a checklist for your pet. This checklist can serve as a reminder to keep all of these items in one box or so that you don’t forget them.

  • Bowls
  • Bed
  • Leash/collar
  • Food
  • Medication
  • Water bottle
  • Toys

Home Visit

When planning for a local move, consider taking your pet to visit your new home prior to moving day to help them become more familiar with space. Take your dogs for a walk in the new neighborhood to let them get comfortable with smells and sounds. 


It is recommended that you take your pet to the vet to make sure they are up to date on all vaccinations. If your move is long distance, start researching new vet options. You can start by asking your current vet if they have any recommendations for a vet near you.


Make sure that you look at local pet laws and license requirements where you are moving. Some towns are known to have stricter regulations when it comes to certain dog breeds. If you are renting be sure to double check with your landlord to see if your dog’s breed is allowed. 


Keep your daily routine as normal as possible to reduce the stress on your pet leading up to moving day. 

On Moving Day


The big moving day is here. Don’t forget to get your dog lots of exercise before the moving begins. If your dog is prone to be more anxious, exercise is a must! This will help calm their nerves while their whole life gets boxed up and moved.


Before the movers arrive at your home make sure your pets are in a secure place. You won’t want them accidentally getting out and making a run for it before it’s time to go. Better yet, if you have a friend or family member who can watch them for you, take that opportunity. This way your pet doesn’t get stressed out from the noise and you have one less thing to worry about. 


If you plan to board your pets during a local move, or send them to doggy daycare for the day, be sure to plan accordingly for pickup and drop off so that it does not interfere with loading and unloading time. 

Load Up & Head Out

If you have acclimated your pet to a crate or carrier, once moving day arrives hopefully they feel comfortable loading up for the drive ahead.

If you’re traveling a substantial distance, be sure to make arrangements for potty breaks along the way, and treats are always appreciated! Take the necessary precautions to keep your pet safe during the move such as up to date ID tags, microchips, collars, leashes, records, and possibly a physical photo of your pet to show neighbors. 

Pack extra cleaning supplies, litter boxes, puppy pads, etc. for any accidents while traveling. 

Final Destination

Once your pets arrive at your new home, the ASPCA recommends taking time to help them adjust to the spaces, as opposed to letting them roam free in the new home as soon as you get there. They say that starting with one room at a time will keep them from feeling overwhelmed by all the changes.

Moving Cross-Country with Pets

Moving across the country with your pet can seem daunting at first but with these steps in place it’ll be a breeze.

Prepare an overnight kit: As we shared above, having an overnight kit for your pet is essential. This will ensure that your pet has access to everything necessary for the long ride ahead and while getting settled.

Separate pets from unloading: It can be stressful for your pets to watch you pack/unpack. It is best to keep them separate to avoid extra stress. If you are a cat owner then you know how much cats love to play with boxes. It is also beneficial to keep your cats separated from the boxes to avoid broken items. 

Monitor your pets: Keeping an eye on your pets while they are outside is always a good idea when settling in. If your pet is easily spooked then having you next to them can help. Watching your pets outside can also avoid any unwanted digging from anxiety. 

Let them adjust slowly: Instead of allowing your pet to roam free within your new place try introducing them to one room at a time. If needed, you can use toys or food for familiar scents. 

After Moving Day


After moving day, take time to help your pets become acclimated to your new home, as well as your new neighborhood. Take your dogs for walks to help them learn the lay of the land and establish clear boundaries.

If you have a cat that likes to roam, make sure that you aren’t letting them out to wander until they become familiar with their new environment.

Update Information

Don’t forget to update your pet’s identification tags or microchip information with your new address. Moving can be hectic and stressful for you and your pets, and accidents can happen, so you want to make sure if your dog or cat gets out that they end up back at their new home!


Unpack your pet’s items and pet-proof your home first. Stress can exacerbate bad behavior so be sure to remove any potential hazards or temptations. 

Find A New Vet (If you haven’t already)

If you’ve made a long distance relocation, take time to find a new vet that will provide the level of care and service you and your pet need, and be sure to have their records transferred from their past vet, as well.

Extra Resources

United Van Lines has some great resources, including a Moving with Pets booklet, which offers information and tips on handling relocations of any size or distance with your four-legged friends.

ADSI Moving

Are you preparing for a move with your whole family? Contact one of our experienced relocation consultants to learn more about how we can help you tackle the task!

GET A FREE MOVING TIMELINE GUIDE Get your guide today and start developing your moving timeline.