Steps to Take for a Smoother, Low-Stress Move with Pets

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Kim Marcelo)

Moving is nerve-wracking enough for the humans of the family. Can you imagine the stress on our furry friends when they’re uprooted from the homes they’ve come to know? Here are some ways to keep pets’ anxiety to a minimum during a relocation.

Introduce New Stuff Early

Try to bring boxes and moving paraphernalia into your current home as early as is reasonable. This gives animals time to explore and become accustomed to the influx of new and foreign objects.

Get Them Used to Their During-the-Move Digs

Start acclimating your animals to their crates well before your trip. Take it out, leave it open, leave treats inside, and lavish praise when they venture near and in their crates.

Pack a Box Just for Them

Don’t forget to pack a moving box with the pet supplies, including their dishes, food, toys, and any medication they need.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Set Them Up With a Place to Stay on Moving Day…

On moving day, try to make arrangements for your pets, if possible. Sending them to a friend’s house (one they are familiar with) will eliminate the need to worry about possible escapes or other incidents. It will also spare them from the stress of having many strangers entering their home.

…Or Give Them a Room of Their Own

If you can’t send your animals to a place where they are comfortable and safe, designate one room for them to stay in while movers are taking things into the truck. Make sure to put a large sign on the door so everyone knows the animals are in there. Restrain them or put them in their crate so there aren’t any escapes.

Manage Their Stranger Danger

Be mindful of the fact that movers may be wearing uniforms — and your dog may not like that. Take special care to keep movers and your animal safe by warning the movers and keeping the dog away.

Widen Their New World, Little by Little

Once you arrive with your pet at the new place, resist the temptation to let them explore all over the place. They’ll be more secure if you confine them to one room at first. Be sure to keep their food, water, litter box, and toys in there with them. Gradually let them explore other rooms, while keeping some doors shut.

For more information, check out Pet Finder, 10 Tips for Moving With Pets, and the ASPCA’s tips.