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Moving to a New House? 8 Tips for Helping Your Pet Adjust

Cat in box


Moving to a new house, whether across town or the country, is a big undertaking. And the more drastic your relocation, for example, from the city to the country or vice versa, the more challenging it becomes. If you're moving with pets, there's another layer to consider, like helping your furry friend adjust to their new environment.

When moving with pets, keep your pet's same belongings and set up their new area immediately. Spend as much time as possible at home with your pet when you first move into your new place and stick to their same schedule. Provide lots of chances for your pet to exercise and for mental stimulation.

These are just a few ways to ease your pet's transition to a new environment. It's vital to provide them with a sense of familiarity and introduce new things gradually to keep the experience from getting too stressful. (Which is good advice for the humans in the household too.)

8 Tips for Moving with Pets to Ease the Transition

You can have a successful move with your pets with extra preparation, patience, and follow-through. Here are eight tips to help you and your furry family with the change.

1. Consider a Calming Aid

If your pet gets anxious during long car rides, air travel, or simply being in a new environment, a calming aid could help. You can try a product like Adaptil or Feliway, which typically come in sprays, diffusers, or even collars. 

You can also try calming chews to help take the edge off your pet so they can adjust to these new changes with less stress. A lick mat is also helpful for your pet to relieve stress and keep calm.

2. Pack a Pet Essentials Bag

It’s crucial to ensure your pet has everything they need during the move and when you’re in your new place. But, as you’ve probably already guessed, unpacking everything you need right away is easier said than done.

Therefore, gather your pet’s essentials into a special bag you keep on hand en route to your new home. It should have enough food for during the move, food and water dishes, and your pet’s favorite treats.

Also include your pet’s harness or leash, litter, potty pads, medications, toys, and anything else they need daily. It’s also a good idea to include enough supplies for your first week in your new place to buy some time to unpack (including items to clean up pet messes). This will make it easier for you to do the next step.

3. Set Up Your Pet's Area Immediately 

To help the transition go smoothly for your pet, set up their particular area in your new house as soon as possible. You want them to feel secure and comfortable. So, ensure you can designate their spot, place their bed, cat tree, litter, toy box, etc. Also, set up their new eating area with their familiar food dishes and have enough food and treats for your first week.

4. Keep Your Pet's Same Belongings

It can be tempting to run out and buy all new pet supplies for your place. You might think it’s a way to give your pal a fresh start, but it can actually stress them out. Instead, keep your pet’s same belongings throughout your move and at least for the first few weeks.

If your pet’s belongings are old or damaged, you can replace them after a couple of weeks. Of course, if anything poses a safety hazard, replace it as soon as possible. Your pet’s safety is always the top priority.

5. Maintain Your Same Routine

Moving to a new house, no matter how far or close it is to your current place, can be extremely overwhelming. Even though things get hectic, try to stick to your regular schedule as much as possible. Your pets, especially dogs, are creatures of habit and thrive on a predictable routine.

Keep their feeding times, walks, play sessions, training times, and anything else you usually do the same. It can help maintain a sense of sameness for your pets even though you’re in a new location.

6. Provide Lots of Opportunities to Exercise and Play

Give your pets ample opportunities for play and exercise so they can blow off steam and release pent-up energy. Engaging in more physical activity and mental stimulation makes them less likely to feel anxious or stressed. Plus, they’ll be less likely to get into mischief.

7. Stay at Home as Much as Possible in the Beginning

If you’re able, try to arrange to be home for the first few days with your pet. Maybe you can take a few days off work or work from home for the first week or two. Depending on where you work, you might even be able to bring your pup or cat with you to work.

If not, at least try and go home during a lunch break or see if you can head home early. If you have friends or family in the area that your pet knows, you could also ask them to check in on your pets during the day. 

8. Remain Calm 

You’ll feel stressed during your move, but it’s wise to remain calm. Pets sense their owners’ stress, so if you start to get frantic and chaotic, you’ll likely trigger anxious feelings in your pet.

Cat in cat tree

Moving to the Country from the City, or Vice Versa?

Setting up a new house is different enough for your pet, but a more dramatic move, like the country to the city, involves even more changes. If you go from the city to the country, your pet will welcome some new spaces to explore.

You could set up a catio outside for your cat to enjoy the outdoors without getting into trouble with local wildlife. You can also provide a safe dog run area for your pup if they aren’t used to big, wide-open spaces yet. 

If you’re going from the country to the city, the change will likely affect your dog more than your cat.

If your dog is used to having lots of space to run and play, increase their daily walks. Also, find a local dog park where your pup can run and socialize in an open area. 

Your cat may be used to more space, so make sure they have plenty of opportunities to exercise and flex their claws. Set up a few cat trees for them to be able to climb, hide treats around the house for them to continue their hunting skills, etc.

Dog on plane

What If I'm Moving My Pets to Another State or Country?

Prepare your pet for long car travel by leaving several days ahead to break up the drive if possible. You’ll have to make special arrangements for certain pets if you plan to fly. 

Some small dogs and cats can travel in TSA-approved pet carriers in the plane cabin, but others cannot. Contact your local travel authority to find out the rules and regulations for where you are moving to.

It’s also a good idea to check with your vet to see if your pet needs additional vaccinations. Moving to a new state or country can mean your pet is exposed to a heightened risk for various illnesses. Sometimes, even going from the city to the country can warrant additional vaccines.

Make Your Move

Don’t let moving with pets stress you or your pets out. When you take the time to prepare and follow these tips, you can ensure a smooth transition for everyone. You can even handle your pet trying to crawl into your suitcase whenever you want to pack. 

For more helpful pet-parenting tips, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find valuable resources to help you tackle a variety of pet puzzles so you can do the best for your furry companions.


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