In Tips & Advice

Pet food: check! Toys: check! Bedding: check! Medication: check! Missing something? When you move, your furry four-legged or feathered companions need just as much attention as anyone else. Maybe even a little extra. It’s not easy to explain to your pets what all the commotion is about. Below are some tips for the time leading up to, and during your move to a new home, that can help make things easier on your pets. And you.

Pets, packing and moving day.

Moving is stressful enough for adults and children. What’s chaotic for you is extremely unfamiliar activity to your pet. There’s a lot to pay attention to—and remember. To start, here are some great ideas to make things easier on everyone:

  • If it’s possible, give your pet a tour of your new home before you move in, so it’s somewhere they recognize when they get there.
  • Begin packing early, and slowly over time, to reduce the shock of sudden and dramatic change.
  • Don’t leave packing materials unattended that a pet might chew and make them ill, or they could choke on.
  • On loading day, be very careful about leaving doors and gates open and make sure movers know you have pets, and where they are.
  • To prevent a pet from getting too worked up over all the commotion, keep them in a back room. Even better, have them stay away from home with a friend or somewhere familiar on moving day.

What’s different about cats and dogs when it’s time to move? Check out this great information from

Make your new house feel like a familiar home.

Make a list of everything that keeps your fur baby healthy and happy. Put it all in a clearly marked box and load it last so it’s one of the first boxes you unpack. Having their own possessions, like bedding and toys, when they arrive in their new home will help your pet get comfortable and relaxed starting on the very first day.

Look for a new vet before you move.

It’s important to find a veterinarian you trust before you have a health or emergency situation. Prior to moving, visit your vet for a quick health check, to update vaccinations if needed, and to obtain copies of your pet’s medical records. To find a new vet, you can visit the American Animal Hospital Association online to find an accredited hospital close to your new home, or get referrals from family, friends or coworkers who live in the area where you’ll be moving.

Get your pet a new ID.

Have ID tags ready with your new address and phone numbers before moving day. Make sure they’re wearing them when you arrive at your new home. Consider giving your pet a microchip. A study from The Ohio State University found that over 70% of the animals (stray dogs and cats) entering a shelter with a microchip were able to be reunited with their owner*. If your pet already has a chip, make sure to update the contact information before you leave.

Traveling with your pet to a new home.

Traveling to your new home can be as stressful on your furry companion as all the packing leading up to the day you leave. If you travel by air, get a carrier before moving to allow your pet to get comfortable being inside that space. Airlines have different policies and restrictions for pet travel. Call or check the rules of your airline early to make sure you’re prepared.

If you know your pet doesn’t enjoy car rides, consult your veterinarian about anti-anxiety or anti-nausea medications. Consider using a carrier in the car which can give your pet a calming sense of comfort and security. And for a warm overnight welcome each night along the way, try these resources to find pet friendly hotels.

With a little careful planning, moving can be more stress-free for you and your pets.

*The Microchip World: Recent Advances and Options for Shelters and Veterinarians, Linda K. Lord, DVM,PHD, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine,  The Ohio State University.

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