The Ultimate Guide to Moving With Pets

Moving to a new home is an adventure filled with excitement and the promise of new beginnings. However, when you have pets, a big move can become more complicated. Pets, much like humans, like their routine and familiarity, so the disruption of a move can be stressful for them. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the challenges of moving with pets, how to ease their transition, and why finding the right home is crucial for our furry friends’ well-being.

Understanding the Challenges

Stress and Anxiety

Pets are highly perceptive and can pick up on the chaos and changes associated with moving. The commotion of packing, the arrival of strangers (movers), and the upheaval of their environment can cause a lot of anxiety. 

Signs of stress in pets may include excessive barking or meowing, clinginess, changes in appetite, or even destructive behavior.

Safety Concerns

During the move, pets can face a range of potential hazards. Open doors, moving equipment, and unfamiliar surroundings can all pose risks. Pets might get spooked and try to escape or hide in unsafe places. It’s so important to keep them safe during this time.

Adjustment to a New Environment

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, your pet will need to get used to an entirely new environment. This includes new sights, smells, and sounds. If you have a dog, they might need to learn new walking routes and places to do their business. For cats, a new home can be especially unsettling due to their territorial nature. 

Preparing Your Pets for the Move

Familiarization and Routine Maintenance

Before the big day, try to maintain as much of your pet's routine as possible. Be consistent with feeding, walks, and playtime to provide a sense of stability. If possible, visit your new home with your pet beforehand to familiarize them with the new space. For cats, bring along a blanket or toy that carries the scent of the old home to ease the transition. 

Packing Strategically

When packing, keep your pet's items out until the very end. They should still be able to access their bed, toys, and food. On moving day, keep these essentials handy so you can set them up quickly in the new home. This will provide a sense of comfort and familiarity amidst the chaos.

Secure Transport

Your pet's transport needs to be as stress-free as possible. For short distances, secure them in a comfortable carrier with familiar bedding. For longer moves, especially by air, check with your veterinarian for any special preparations. Make sure to update their microchip information with your new address.

During the Move

Create a Safe Space

On moving day, choose a safe, quiet room for your pet to hide away from the activity. This could be a bathroom or a room with their bed and some familiar items. Provide food, water, and a litter box for cats. This sanctuary will help reduce their anxiety and keep them safe while movers are in and out of the house.

Supervision and Comfort

Consider having a family member or trusted friend supervise your pet throughout the move. If that’s not possible, consider pet daycare or a boarding facility for the day. Having someone keep an eye on your pet will ensure they receive comfort and prevent any escape attempts.

Settling Into the New Home

Gradual Introduction

Introduce your pet to the home slowly. Start with a single room where they can get used to the new smells and sounds. Then, allow them to explore the rest of the house at their own pace.  

For cats, set up their litter box in a quiet location and keep it there to avoid confusion.

Reinforce Familiarity

Bring familiar items into the new home to create a comforting environment. Place their bed, toys, and food dishes in similar locations as the old home. Keep their daily routine consistent with regular feeding, play, and walks.

Exploring the Outdoors

For dogs, establish a new walking route and identify safe places to explore. Be mindful of environmental hazards, such as busy streets or unfenced yards. Cats that are used to the outdoors should be kept inside for a few weeks to prevent them from getting lost.

Finding the Right Home for Your Pets

Consider Their Needs

When choosing a new home, consider your pet’s needs as much as your own. Dogs may require a backyard or nearby parks for exercise. Cats might benefit from a quiet environment away from busy roads. Small pets, like rabbits or hamsters, need secure spaces free from hazards.

Pet-Friendly Features

Look for homes with pet-friendly features such as durable flooring, secure fencing, and nearby green spaces. A home with easy-to-clean surfaces, room for pet beds, and play areas will make life easier.

Check out listings on websites like SpareRoom to find a new home that includes all the features you need for your pet.

Neighborhood Considerations

Research your new neighborhood to make sure it’s pet-friendly. Check for nearby vets, pet stores, and grooming salons. Meet the neighbors and their pets to get a feel for the community. A welcoming neighborhood can make a huge difference in your pet’s happiness.

Final Tips for a Smooth Transition

Have patience – It may take days (or even weeks) for your pet to feel comfortable in their new home. Offer plenty of reassurance and affection to help them settle in.

Monitor their health – Keep a close eye on your pet’s health during and after the move. Signs of prolonged stress or illness should be addressed immediately with your vet.

Establish new routines – This might include new walking paths, play areas, or feeding spots. New routines will eventually help to build a sense of security and normalcy.


Moving with pets needs careful planning and consideration, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth and positive experience for everyone involved – including our four-legged friends. By understanding their needs, maintaining routines, and creating a safe and welcoming new home, you can help your pets thrive in their new environment.

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