What to Do with Pets as You Move

Moving can be just as stressful for your pets as it is for you, and stressed out pets can be a serious hassle — leading to aggression, accidents, or even them running away.

Though they don’t know exactly what’s going on, they know something is happening: strange people are moving in and out of the house, the environment is changing radically as everything is packed up, and they can easily pick up on any stress or anxiety you are feeling.

Here are some tips to follow to keep your pets happy, calm, and well taken care of during a move.


Before moving, do the following:

  • Get your pets groomed.

  • Update your pets’ vaccinations.

  • Make sure your pet can comfortably fit in its kennel.

  • To reduce stress, accidents, aggression, escape attempts, and/or excessive noise, slowly introduce your pets to their kennel in the weeks leading up to the move.

  • Prepare for accidents and line the kennel with towels or “puppy pads.”

  • Ask your vet if your pet requires any specific health certifications for travel.

  • If you know your pet is aggressive with strangers during traveling, consider asking your vet about mild sedative options. There are also anti-anxiety and motion sickness medications available.

  • If you’re moving long-distance, and will be driving multiple days, check beforehand which hotels will allow pets. Don’t trust the internet here — call the hotels for confirmation.

  • If you’re moving internationally, note that many countries require extra paperwork, vaccinations, etc.

If you’re going to be flying to your new home make sure to do the following:

  • Confirm whether or not your pet can ride in the cargo area — many can’t, including puppies, kittens, “pug-nosed” animals, and animals that are sick, in heat, pregnant, or especially weak.

  • Look up your airline’s policies regarding pets.

  • Book direct flights to reduce the risk of your pet being put on the wrong plane!

Moving Day

As a general rule, it’s a good idea on moving day to keep your pet in a quiet room, away from activity and foot traffic, to reduce stress.

If your pet is travelling with you:

  • Bring yummy treats, a first aid kit, and towels or puppy-pads for accidents.

  • Keep your pet secured. Driving with your pets loose in your car (that includes pickup truck beds!) can easily lead to injury or death, for you or your pet.

  • Make sure your pet has a collar with their name, ID tag, and your contact information, including your new address.

  • Include your pets on bathroom breaks! Keep them leashed, as the stress of a move can cause pets to run away, even if they normally don’t.

  • Don’t leave your pets in the car for too long, as over-heating can easily lead to injury.

If your pet will be in the cargo area of a plane, alert flight staff as you board. Flights can be scary for your pets — feel free to spoil them with some extra love before you hand them off!


Pets will generally be skittish after a big move; cats especially dislike change. Keep your pets in a quiet room during the hustle and bustle of moving in, and introduce your new home to them slowly.

And again, extra love and treats will go a long way!

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