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.

Purina recommends helping your pets acclimate to carriers before moving day. Familiarizing them with carriers will help them feel more comfortable during the drive.

They also recommend allowing your pets to watch the packing process unfold, instead of isolating them, which can cause stress.

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. Make sure that you look at local pet laws and license requirements where you are moving.

Label and store any food and medications your pet will need while you are packing and when you move to avoid packing them away. 

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

On Moving Day

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. 

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. 

If your energetic pets are spending moving days at home, be sure to feed and walk them early. Make sure you keep an eye on pets while you’re loading and unloading, in case doors are left open. If our moving professionals are assisting with packing and unpacking, consider a pet sitter or creating a dedicated space so movers can work without interruption or potential tripping hazards. 

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.