Our pets are always there with a wag or a purr when we need some serious stress relief—so we owe it to them to return the favor when we can. And unfortunately, moving is a stressful time, not just for you, but for your favorite four-legged friend, too. Pets thrive on routine, so the disruption from relocation can exacerbate behavioral issues and cause anxiety and aggression to manifest. And of course, pets often mirror their owner’s emotional state—so if you’re feeling tense or depressed from a move you can bet your cat or dog is feeling it too. But enough doom and gloom! Just like every aspect of your relocation, a little planning goes a long way, from the very first stages of your move right down to the big day. Here’s how to keep your pet at ease throughout the whole process!
Plan with Your Pet in Mind
Most of us view our pets as members of the family, which is why their needs should factor into your move as much as anyone else’s—right from the start. If you’ll be renting at your next location, make sure the leasing company or landlord is okay with pets. Word to the wise: don’t plan on breaking any rules banning pets. You don’t want to experience a tearful goodbye or painful fees later if you’re found out. Make sure your pet has all the things they need: space to run around, a safe outdoor area, and room in your new abode—essentially, everything they need to call the place home.
Give Yourself Extra Time to Pack
Change is hard for everyone, but especially for pets, some of whom spend their whole lives in the house. Cats, in particular, often have trouble when the boxes start coming in. Felines tend to make sense of the world through environmental markers, so moving furniture and other objects is understandably very disruptive for them. To help your kitty friend out, try to space out the packing process so that you do just a little each day—or maybe even go room-by-room. This will give your pet time to adjust—and a safe space to run to—while the packing proceeds. And guess what: giving yourself extra time will help you feel a lot more sane throughout the whole process too!
Microchip Your Pet Before Moving Day
Some pets are already expert escape artists—and the likelihood of a lost pet only increases on moving day. Stressed cats and dogs are a lot more likely to bolt during a move, and meanwhile, there’s ample opportunity to make a quick run for it while movers are coming in and out of your home. If you haven’t yet done so, have your pet microchipped as a precaution. If the worst does happen, you’ll at least have some method to search for your furry friend from afar, since most microchipping organizations keep universal databases of lost pets. Keep your pet’s microchip number among your important paperwork for safekeeping—you’ll at least ease one worry come moving day!
Keep Pets Away From the Action When the Movers Come In
The main part of your home needs to be a pet-free zone while the movers do their thing. Keep cats and dogs from getting underfoot by closing them in an unused bathroom or bedroom—as long as you move everything out of it first! Or keep dogs or outdoor cats outside in a secure, fenced-in backyard. If that’s not possible, take them to a neighbor or family member’s house the night before, or try a doggy daycare or boarding service. In fact, the online app Wag, which is available in most large cities, will let you hire an on-demand dog sitter to come take your pup away for a few hours—and a few hours is usually all you’ll need!
Keep Long Distance Travel as Stress-free as Possible
Some pets make better road-trip companions than others, but on a long-distance move, your pet needs to come along, whether they like to travel or not. If you need to stop along the way, make sure to book a pet-friendly hotel and bring supplies like disposable litter boxes and baggies to take care of their bathroom needs along the way. If you’ll be flying to your destination, read through the airline’s rules for pet transportation ahead of time. Many have specifications for the types of carriers that can be used and may require a veterinarian to sign-off that your pet is fit to travel and up-to-date on their shots. If your pet is a little on the high-strung side, your vet may also offer herbal supplements to help keep them calm; however, most do not recommend using sedatives on a flight and will not prescribe them.
Help Them Adjust to Your New Pad
The job of keeping your pet happy and healthy doesn’t stop once you make it to your new place. Pets are understandably overwhelmed from the stress of moving and travel, and will probably need time to adjust once you start to get all settled in. Introduce your pet to your new home one room at a time—this way they won’t be bowled over by all the new space. Moving can be hard on your little furry companion, but with a little patience and some planning, they’ll be back to their old selves in no time and ruling the roost!