Moving with Pets: Steps for an Easy Transition

by Dusty Rhodes on May 07, 2021  in 
  • Moving
  • Long Distance Move
  • affordable moving
Moving with Pets


Moving can be a stressful experience for anyone, and that includes your furry family members. Whether you are moving down the street or across the country, change can be very stressful for cats and dogs. With so many other things on your moving to-do list, it can be easy to forget about your animals. However, it’s important to consider their needs and plan accordingly so that your pets have a smooth and safe transition.


The following guide will help you navigate the moving process in order to make your move as stress-free as possible for everyone in your family, including your pets.

Before the Move: Prepare Your Pets

Moving day is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start preparing for your pet for the big day. Chances are, they will need to be in a carrier for a period of time during the move so you want to get them used to their carrier in advance. Start by putting a blanket and a few treats inside and leaving the door open so your pet can explore the carrier on their own. You want them to associate the carrier with a positive experience. After a few days, you want to familiarize them with riding in the car in their carrier. Take a few 10-20 minute rides to help them become accustomed to the sights and sounds associated with the car. If you are moving locally with dogs, it can also be helpful to take them to their new neighborhood for a few walks prior to your move. Walk by your new house and let your dog get familiar with the scents around their new home.

It’s Moving Day: What to do with Your Pets

Moving day is going to be hectic and chaotic and there will be a lot going on. It’s best to keep your pet isolated away from all of the noise and chaos. Assuming the weather is nice, you could keep your dog outside in the backyard with a bowl of water. Just be sure the gate is closed so your dog cannot escape. Another option would be to have a friend or family member dog sit for the day. Cats generally need to be kept in a quiet space indoors. A bathroom is a great choice for a cat. Be sure to put the cat’s litter box, food, water, and carrier inside the bathroom and place a note on the door so your movers know not to open the door and let the cat out.

What to do for a Long-Distance Move

If you are moving long distance, your pets will need to be well-acclimated to their carrier well before the move. You also want to make sure your pet is wearing a collar with updated rabies tags and contact information. If your travel involves staying overnight, make sure you choose pet friendly accommodations. You will also need to plan extra stops to give your pet time to get outside and move around during the long car trip. If you plan to fly with your pet, be sure to check with the airline regarding pet travel requirements.


Welcoming Your Pet to Their New Home

Before bringing your pet into their new home, be sure to inspect it from their point of view. For dogs, you want to make sure there aren’t holes or gaps in the fence where they could escape. For cats, you want to check for dangling cords on blinds and ensure that all windows and doors are closed. You also want to check for any crawl spaces where your cat could get stuck.


Take your dog outside and let them smell the perimeter of your home. This is also a good time to take them on a walk around the new neighborhood so they can check out new scents and sounds. Try to stay with your dog for the first couple of days so they feel secure and comfortable in their new home. Make sure you provide extra potty breaks for a few days because your dog might have accidents out of nerves or stress.


Cats may take a little more time to adjust than dogs. Cats are often frightened and nervous about new surroundings so don’t be surprised if your cat disappears for a few days. Be sure your cat’s litter box is in a place where they can easily find it and be sure to let them know where it is. For the first few days, you may want to keep your cat in one room with their litter box, food, and water until they acclimate to the new environment.


With both cats and dogs, it is important to maintain their normal routine. Keep them on the same feeding schedule. Walk your dog at the same time. Spend time relaxing and cuddling with your pet. Sometimes your pet might not eat for the first day or two so be sure to watch them closely during this time. Soon enough, they will get used to their new home and they will be back to their normal and lovable self.

Other Considerations When Moving with a Pet

  • ●Make sure you have a copy of all of their veterinary records and look for a new vet right away if you are moving to a new city. You don’t want to miss important treatments and checkups.
  • ●Try to keep a routine as much as possible. For dogs, this includes regular exercise. For both cats and dogs, make sure you maintain the same feeding schedule and try to spend a little extra time with them until they adjust.
  • ●Make sure you bring something with the scent of your old home. A blanket, t-shirt, or stuffed animal with a familiar scent can be very comforting for your pet.
  • ●Be patient with your pet. It can take a little time for them to adjust so be considerate of their needs during the transition.

Dusty Rhodes