Back to Blog

Tips For Moving With Pets

A dog stands up on its back legs in an open moving box.

TLC Moving

TLC Moving

How to Reduce Moving Stress on Your Animals

Moving is stressful for people, but for animals, it’s even more of an anxiety-inducing event. Animals are creatures of habit, so when there’s a significant chaotic shift in their routine, it could affect them negatively for some time.

As you would take precautions to ease your kids’ stress during a move, do the same for your furry friends.

Here are tips on what to do before, during, and after your move to ensure it’s as stress-free as possible for you and your pet.

Get To Know Your Neighbourhood

Research your new neighbourhood for nearby dog-friendly parks, pet services, pet stores, and vets. Read reviews and ask friends for vet recommendations.

If your new home is nearby, visit your new neighbourhood with your dog so it can become familiar with the new sights and smells. You may also want to schedule an appointment with your new vet to make sure you have a vet close by if your pet gets sick after the move.

Preparing You and Your Pets for the Move

Contact Your Vet

Get your pet’s vaccination and health records, medication, and even a recommendation for a new vet if you are moving your pets long distance. Also, make sure your pets are wearing their IDs on their collars before you move in case they get out.

Pack with Your Pets in Mind

Have your pet’s familiar toys, bed, blankets, food, and water with them in the car. These will be one of the first things you’ll want to unpack at your new home. The new sights and smells of a new home will stress out your pet, so it’s important to have a few familiar-smelling belongings to help them ease into the new place.

Keep Them with You

While it might seem easier to leave your pet at a boarder while you move, this might only add to their stress. Your pet is better off staying by your side during the move, including in your vehicle during the drive to your new home. If you have a cat, keep your cat in its carrier until you are ready to let it out in the home in a safe room.

Moving Day – What to Do With Your Pets

Don’t Let Them out Of the Car until You’re Ready

It’s easier to keep your pets in the car while the movers are unloading your belongings into your new home. But if you feel like your pets have been cooped up for too long, take your dog for a walk. The exercise from walking will help relax your dog.

For your cat, set up a safe room, such as a bathroom, with its food, water, and litter box. Make sure everyone knows not to open the door and post a sign on the door as an extra precaution.

The stress of moving and being in a car can make your pets thirsty and have to go potty more often, so be sure to give them plenty opportunities to go and plenty of water throughout the day. And don’t keep them stuck in the car for too long.

Keep Your Pets Secluded, Away from the Chaos

A lot can go wrong during a move that is out of your control. But your pet’s safety is one of the only things that are in your control and that truly matter during a move. So keep your pets in the designated safe room with plenty of water until the move is over.

Keeping your pets secluded will help them stay safe and avoid anxiety during the chaotic move. It will also help anyone helping you move who is afraid of or allergic to animals. And it will keep your pets out of the way.

If you have a secure backyard and the weather is nice, consider keeping your dog in the backyard with food and water while the movers are loading and unloading the moving truck.

Helping Your Pets Adjust to Their New Home

Set Up Their Space Right Away

Before letting your pets loose in the new home, set up a space for them to start in. This room should have your pet’s familiar smelling bed, toys, scratching post, water and food bowls, cat litter box, and even a piece of your clothing with your scent.

Also, set up a second litter box for your cat in the permanent litter box location so they will know where to go once they are no longer afraid to leave their room.

Keep a Routine

Don’t stray from your pet-care routine in your new home. Stick to the regular meal times and make sure your dog gets regular walks. It will be easier for your pets to adjust to the new home if they see that your routine hasn’t changed.

Stay Home with Your Pets As Much As Possible During the First Few Days after the Move

For your sake and your pet’s sake, take some time off from work after your move if possible. Consider moving on a long weekend or at the start of a vacation so you can spend as much time at home with your pets after the move.

During this time, you can gradually spend more time away from the home so your pets will get used to being alone in the new home while you’re at work. But don’t leave your pets alone outside during this adjustment period. They might try to escape to go back to their old familiar home.

Lots of Walks/Play (Let Their Nervous Energy Out)

If you’ve hired movers, you can spend the duration of your move walking and playing with your dog while the movers load and unload the moving truck. Spending this time with your pets will help reduce your anxiety about the move and your pet’s anxiety.

Your dog will also need lots of walks if you are moving your dog from country to city and they won’t have as much space to run anymore. You can also tire out your dog out mental stimulation, such as with brain games, hiding their food around the house, or feeding them with Kongs or food-dispensing toys.

Give Them Lots of Attention (And Be Patient with Them)

Although you’ll probably want to unpack as quickly as possible, don’t ignore your pets during this time. Take breaks from unpacking to walk and play with your dog or pet and cuddle with your cat. You and your dog can also start exploring your new neighbourhood.

When to Talk to Your Vet

If your dog is already nervous, speak to your vet before the move to see if there’s anything you can do to relieve your dog’s moving anxiety. The stress of moving can make your pets sick. They might stop eating, or suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. So if these stress symptoms persist, you should bring your pet to the vet to rule out any other issues and help relieve your pet’s symptoms.

Whether you’re moving your pets across Canada or across the street, use these tips to relieve their moving anxiety and help make your move less stressful for both you and your furry friends.