Moving With Pets

Tips For Travelling With Your Pets

Moving With Pets

Anyone who has moved home before is fully aware of how stressful it can be, so just imagine how anxious it makes your pets who are unaware of what all the commotion is about. Your dog, cat, or other pets have carved out their domain in your home and are now expected to adjust to a new environment. That’s not even considering the difficulty of what to do with your pets on move day and how to ensure they are comfortable during all stages of the move. While there is no simple formula for ensuring a relaxed and easy move for your pets, there are some general tips that you can use to try and make the upheaval as stress-free as possible for your pets.

1. Before the Move

Before you move to your new home, there are a couple of things you can prepare to ensure move day goes smoothly for both you and your pet:

Prepare an ‘overnight bag’ – The first few days in a new house generally consist of unpacking and trying to find a specific item during these first few days is extremely difficult. Therefore, it is a good idea to pack all of your pet’s supplies – food, litter, grooming equipment, toys etc., into their own bag to make them easily accessible during these first few days.

Setup a ‘pet room’ in your new home – Before making the move, try and set up at least one room in your new home which can use to introduce the pet to their new surroundings. Bringing your pet into an empty or messy environment is confusing and stressful for them. However, if you have one room setup before they arrive at the new home, they will at least have some familiar surroundings to help them get used to their new surroundings.

2. During the Move

On move day, the transportation and comfort of your pet is paramount. There will be a lot going on and you don’t want your pet to feel increased levels of anxiety or discomfort. Try these tips on move day:

Remove your pet from the mayhem – Some people choose to leave their pet with a friend or in a kennel during move day so they are far removed from the action. However, if you don’t wish to leave them somewhere else, you can empty a bedroom or other room first and leave them in there for the duration of the shuffling and moving of items onto the moving van. If you do this, ensure you check on them regularly and maintain your feeding and walking routines.

Use a familiar vehicle – When transporting your pet to their new home, use the family car or another vehicle they are familiar with and comfortable using. When you arrive at your new home, ensure your pet cannot run off before you bring them inside your new home. It is recommended to allow a few days for your pet to adjust before allowing them outside on their own.

3. After the Move

Once the move is complete and you are all beginning to settle in your new home, there are a couple of things that you can do to ensure your pet remains relaxed and comfortable in their new environment:

Maintain routine and familiarity – During the first few days especially, make sure you maintain a routine with your pet. Keep walking and feeding times the same as when you were at your old home and make sure your pet receives lots of attention. Surround them with blankets and furnishings from your old home that are familiar to help ease the transition process.

Update tags – If your pet has tags on their collar or a microchip, try to update the information as soon as possible after you move.

Moving with Dogs

Moving to a new home with dogs is perhaps more difficult than moving with any other pet. Dogs won’t just have to get used to their new internal surroundings, they will also have to get used to the whole new area – streets, parks, etc. Here are some tips you can use when moving with a dog:

More walks – Before you move to your new home, try to bring your dog on more regular walks. This benefits your dog as they can expend more energy and are less likely to get in the way or run around the home while you’re trying to pack and organize for the move. It’s also a good idea to coordinate walks with viewings of your home.

Remember your dog – When you’re looking at a new home, always keep your dog in mind. Check your potential new home for dog safety, ensure there is enough room for your dog in the house, make sure the backyard is secure and safe for you dog, and scope out the local area for parks and dog friendly areas.

Maintain your routine – Try to keep your previous routine as much as possible after the move. Take your dog for regular walks and help them get used to the new area. Even if you’ve switched time zones, try and take your dog for walks at the same time you would have at your previous time zone in the beginning.

Don’t wash the dog basket/blanket – Although it may be tempting to have everything fresh and clean in your new home, try to leave your dog’s items unwashed, at least in the beginning. The familiar smells and scents will help your dog adjust quicker to their new surroundings.

Moving with Cats

In general, cats aren’t very happy with change and moving to a new home with a pet cat can represent many challenges. Making the move as stress-free as possible for your cat can have many health benefits for your pet and make the move easier for you. Here are some tips to follow:

Keep a relaxed room – While preparing to move, try and keep one room in your home free from noise and movement. Allow your cat to stay in this room while packing boxes so they are away from the mayhem.

A small breakfast – On the day of the move, only feed a small breakfast to your cat. This will help to prevent an upset stomach during transportation.

Dedicate a room – When you arrive in your new home, immediately find a room that will remain relatively quiet and keep your cat in there for the duration of the unpacking. Make sure there is a comfortable bed for your cat in the room as well as a litter tray and food.

Slowly allow your cat to explore – Keep your cat in just one room for the first few days and then gradually allow them to explore the rest of the house. This gives your cat time to get used to the sounds, smells, and sights of their new home.

Moving with Other Animals

While every animal is different, there are some pets that do not cope very well with moving to a new home and require special attention. If you have any of these pets, extra caution is needed when moving home:

Fish – Fish can become stressed very easily and moving home can end in fatality if caution is not adhered to. If you are moving long distance, it is best to donate the fish to a friend or family member and buy new fish when you arrive. If you are moving a short distance, you can transport them in bags filled with tank water.

Guinea Pigs – Guinea pigs are also very susceptible to change and have been known to suffer heart attacks during transportation to a new home. When moving guinea pigs, ensure the carrier is warm, small, and extremely comfortable.

Birds – Birds are another pet which is extremely susceptible to change. While your pet bird might enjoy time outside of his or her cage regularly, when moving ensure they are kept securely inside their cage during the whole process. Also, when arrived make sure there are no open windows for them to escape through if you let them out of their cage. It is extremely common for birds to fly away on moving day and extra caution is needed.


Moving with pets requires extra attention to detail and caution. While moving is extremely stressful for us, it is equally or even more stressful for your pets. Due care is required from the day you decide to move and it is never too early to prepare your pet for a new environment. Pay close attention to tell-tale signs of stress or anxiety from your pet during the move or after arrival and reassure them as much as possible by keeping routine and familiarity.

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