Tips to Make Your Move
Easier on Your Pets
"It is best to remove your
pets from the house BEFORE you start moving your possessions.
Allowing your pets to roam free in the house while the front door is
propped wide open, and people
are rushing in and out lugging boxes and furniture – just
creates a recipe for disaster."
Moving can be hard
involved. Adults, kids, and
yes…even your pets! While
your pet may not understand exactly
what is going on, they can sense the
stress (good or bad) that the whole family
is experiencing. Add to that the fact
that animals are creatures of habit and
do not like changes to their usual routine,
and you can understand why they
become so confused. They also become
quite anxious when all of a sudden, they
see their human family busily throwing
everything around them into boxes.
Naturally, we always want to keep our
pets happy and healthy because we love
them…but we also want to lessen the
chances of their "acting-out". Animals,
just like people, can behave rather badly
when under stress, and so we need to do
all we can to help them feel secure
throughout the moving process.
What we really need to know is:
when faced with an upcoming move,
how do we reduce the amount of stress
that our pets are going to experience,
and what can we do about the unavoidable
disruption to their daily routine?
We posed this very question to industry
experts, took their invaluable input, and
created the following list of tips.
TIPS: During The Packing
• Try to keep your pet’s daily
as close to normal as possible. Adhering
to his usual feeding, exercise, and bedtime
schedule is important.
• When packing, leave your pet’s
belongings to last. If possible, allow your
pet continued access to his same food
dishes, litter box, pet bed, and toys right
up until moving day.
• Lessen the chances of there being any
"mistakes" by keeping your cat’s litter box
in the usual spot, right up until you load
him into the car – or until you confine him
to a "transition room".
• Leave a couple of empty packing
boxes open on the floor for your pet to
explore. Allowing your pet to familiarize
himself with these new, strange objects
will prevent him from being afraid of
• It is best to remove your pets from
the house BEFORE you start moving
your possessions. Allowing your pets to
roam free in the house while the front
door is propped wide open, and people are
rushing in and out lugging boxes and furniture
– just creates a recipe for disaster.
• If it is not possible to remove your pets
beforehand, then you should select an
empty room with a door to safely house
them for the day. Place their food and
water dishes, toys, bedding and litter box
in the room with them. Many pets find
the background noise of a radio comforting,
and it helps to muffle some of the loud and
unsettling noises that come from moving
heavy furniture and boxes.
• Be sure to put collars with identification
tags on your dogs and cats, as many
pets do escape during the confusion of
moving day. To avoid possible injury to
your cat, always use a breakaway collar.
Although many pets today are microchipped,
having your pet wear a collar
remains a good idea, as only pet care industry
workers have access to the tool that reads
the chip, while anyone can read your name
and phone number on a tag.
• For transportation to the new home, cats
should be placed in a cat carrier on the floor
of the back seat, and dogs should be properly
restrained. Dogs should either ride in the
back of the vehicle, separated from passengers
by a dog grate, or should sit in the back
seat, strapped into a dog seat belt. This protects
both your dog, and the passengers in
the vehicle – a quick stop can send your dog
hurtling forward, seriously injuring her, and
those in her path.
• Never leave your pet unattended in a
vehicle. While the temperature in the car
may seem just a little warm to you, animals
overheat very quickly. Sadly, every year
there are thousands of pets who succumb
to heatstroke as a direct result of being
left in a hot car.
• Bring your pet’s dishes, food, leash, toys,
bedding, litter box, and any medications in
the car with you and your pet. Providing
consistency for your pet is important, so
when you arrive at your new home, set up
your pet’s things in those spots where you
intend on keeping them.
TIPS: Introducing Your Pet to
their New Home
• Before releasing your pet into his
new backyard, take a quick safety check.
Is the fence in good shape – no spaces for
your pet to wiggle through, or under? Can
your pet reach the neighbor’s pet through
the fence, and if so, is he/she friendly? Are
there any sharp objects that could pose a
hazard to your pet? What about plants –
are there any that could be harmful to your
pet if she decided to devour them? Is there
any garbage lying around for your pet to
get into? Is there shade available for your
pet? After running through all of these
checks, be sure to leave a large, cool, bowl
of water for your pet, and spend some time
just sitting in the backyard with him.
• It is recommended that cats remain
indoors. One study reported that cats who
are allowed to roam free outside have an
average life span of only 3 years, while
indoor cats can be expected to live for an
average of 13 years. If your cat has been
allowed to roam in the past, now is the
ideal time to break him of this habit. If
you keep your cat indoors from day one in
the new house, he will not have had time to
establish his own turf outside – and will
view the indoors as his sole territory.
• Again, select a room with a door for
your cat to use as her "transition room".
Place an extra litter box, food and water
dishes, toys, and bedding inside with your
cat. After a couple of days, when most of
the boxes have been unpacked, the furniture
placed, and things have generally
calmed down – open the door and allow
your cat to venture out. Before moving her
belongings to where you want to keep
them, allow your cat the use of the room
for another 2 or 3 days while she becomes
more confident in her new surroundings.
• Birds, lizards, rabbits and other small
animals are much easier to move, as they
are normally used to being housed in a
cage, or at least are accustomed to regularly
spending “quiet time” in one. To make
the journey to their new home safely,
they should be kept in their cage, or
placed into an appropriately sized pet carrier
before being loaded into your car.
• Placing a light weight cloth over your
small pet’s cage will help to keep him
quiet and calm during the car ride; just be
sure to allow adequate air flow.
• Be sure to leave some food and fresh
water in with your pet. Most small animals
do well with a drinking bottle that is
easily attached to most cages. Remember
to bring your pet’s supply of food, feeding
dishes, and any medications with you in
• Small animals overheat even faster
than large animals, so again, never leave
your pets unattended in a vehicle.
For more information on how to make
moving easier on your pets, or if your
pet has a pre-existing medical condition
that requires special care, please
contact your veterinarian for advice.