Moving with Pets: Tips for Keeping Them Safe and Calm

They’re members of the family, so it’s not surprising that anxiety over how Fluffy or Fido are going to manage through your upcoming move is high on your worry list. Some pets take to change better than others, but it’s fair to say most pets will go through some level of stress when moving from one home to the next.

Here are some tips on how to reduce their stress (and yours!) and help them make a safe and healthy move. 

Exclude them from the chaos

Your pet is bound to be anxious by strangers moving in and out of your home, carrying boxes and belongings. Remove them from the chaos by either enlisting the aid of a friend to keep them for the day or at the least, put them in a room with a sign posted on the door for movers to stay out. In the weeks leading up to moving day, get your bet acclimated to whatever carrying crate you plan to use for the trip. Be sure it is well-ventilated but sturdy enough to withstand stress-chewing. 

Order tags with your new address

You would be devastated if your pet ended up missing as you move into your new home, but the matter would be made worse if your pet still has your old address on their tags. Order new tags and put them on as you get ready to transport your pet to your new digs. Include your mobile number and email so you’re easily reached. Be sure their collar is not overly loose. 

Find a new vet and have your veterinary records transferred

If your move will make it inconvenient to use the same veterinary service, seek out a new one before making your move. Ask your current vet to transmit your pet’s health history to the new vet service. Have contact info handy in case of an emergency.

Secure a week’s worth of food and any medication

If your pet is on medication, be sure you have at least one week’s worth on hand or get the prescription filled before your move. Changes in diet are disruptive, so be sure you have enough of your pet’s usual food on hand as well. This is especially critical if your pet is on medicated or therapeutic foods. 

Keep your pet safe and secure in your vehicle

Be sure you have a crate or carrier that fits safely in your vehicle and can be secured with the seat belt. Never put your pet in the bed of a pickup truck or the storage area of a moving van. Remember not to leave them in a parked car. If your move has you staying overnight on your journey, arrange for pet-friendly hotel stays before hitting the road. Keep plenty of plastic bags and kitty litter on hand. 

Know before you fly

If you will be traveling by air, check with the airline about weight restrictions and whether you need to purchase a special carrier for the trip. Ask your vet for advice on minimizing stress during air travel.

Keep a pet first aid kit handy

First aid kits aren’t just important for humans. You should have a kit made up for your dog or cat, too. Be sure it includes your vet’s phone number. You will also want to stock it with gauze, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs and 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

Understand local health concerns and laws in your new city

Familiarize yourself with the laws and health concerns of your new community so you aren’t caught off-guard. If you are relocating to a new country, you can usually learn about special concerns and requirements by contacting the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country where you’re headed. You’ll also want to learn about quarantine requirements.

Limit access when you first arrive

Prepare one room in your new house with everything your pet requires, including food, water, familiar bed and toys, and for cats, litter box and scratch post. Set up one room Be sure the windows and door are secure. Let them relax for a bit before introducing them to the entire home. If your old home isn’t too far away, provide the new owners and your old neighbors with your phone number in case your pet escapes and attempts to return home.

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