The Bekins Blog

Tips for Moving with Pets

Are you planning a move, and worried about how to keep your pet safe, secure, and well-adjusted to not only the process itself, but also your new home? Being worried about how your pet will adjust to things is actually a good thing, believe it or not – it shows you care and that you’ll do what you can to make sure your pet gets through this transition period as well as they can. Moving with pets can feel daunting, but there are ways that you can ease the stress on your loved animal.

So how do you get your pet ready for a move, and how do you move with them in general? Additionally, how do you get them properly adjusted to your new home? We’ve got all the best tips for moving with pets. 

How Do Pets React to Moving? 

It’s the week or two before your moving day, and by this point a good amount of your things are packed away and ready (hopefully!) for moving day. There’s no doubt your pet has noticed this changed, and that it’s seen you packing and moving things around. Understandably, this can make your pet pretty stressed or upset, no matter how easy going they’re usually known to be. 

Obviously, there’s no way to explain to your pet that you’re not leaving them, and that they’ll continue to be happy and taken care of with you in your new home. They can’t understand the situation, and are bound to have some sort of reaction, or at least sense the stress or chaos of the moving process. 

Why do pets react this way to a move? It’s pretty simple, really: they read you, and they read the environment. Dogs, cats, and other pets alike are highly sensitive, and also territorial. They need to be comfortable and secure in their environment and routine to be comfortable at all, so when they sense that not only their owner is under stress or exhibits anxious body language, they immediately pick up on that. Combine that with the physical things in their home being moved around, packed up, or otherwise disappearing, and it’s a surefire way to get them stressed, confused, or anxious as well. 

Looking for the Right Place for You and Your Pet

Keeping your pet in mind when you move really happens before you even start planning your move itself. When looking at new homes or apartments, make sure their place would be safe and a good environment for your pet. Even if you love the place, it might not be the ideal space for your pet. If that’s the case, you’ll have to pass it up to keep their best interests in mind. 

Research Pet Rules

If you’re moving to a new state or county, make sure to research the rules and regulations surrounding pet ownership, and whether or not this new area requires your pet to have additional vaccines, licenses, or certificates in order to reside with you. This is especially applicable if you’re moving abroad. Get any paperwork, vaccines, or certifications handled for your pet well in advance to avoid any delays in your move. 

If you’re moving to an apartment complex or into a rental, make sure your new complex or landlord allows pets, and if so, what costs or regulations are associated with having pets in your potential new home. 

How to Ease Your Pet’s Stress Before Moving Day

Though family pets are bound to get stressed or confused by the moving process, they’re also very smart and can still tackle your move with you as calm companions who help you through the process and provide firm support as all of your items are moved around. Moving with pets can be planned thoroughly to keep the stress at a minimum for them.

Keep Your Daily Routine

A great way to keep your pets calm and as stress-free as possible leading up to moving day is to stick to you and your pet’s daily routine as much as possible. Even if you’re trying to fit packing and prep activities into your work schedule, or just running around in general, don’t forget that your pet doesn’t know what’s going on, and need to stick to their routine to be as secure as possible leading up to the transition. Continue to feed them and walk them (if they require that) at their usual times, and don’t stop your usual relaxing or bonding time with them. 

Get Them Used to Moving Supplies

Even just bringing a bunch of random boxes and moving supplies suddenly into your home and throwing your things into them without abandon can seriously confuse or stress your pet out, so try to get them used to having moving supplies around before you actually start the packing process. 

Dogs in particular can get pretty spooked by the presence or the sounds that come with cardboard boxes and large rolls of tape (or just the sounds of packing in general), so introduce them to these supplies and allow them to casually hang out in your home before you actually start packing. 

Additionally, if your pet already associates your suitcase or duffel bag (or whatever bag you usually take with you when you go for a trip) with you leaving them or other going on journeys, leave these items out without paying attention to them so that your animal can get used to them, and ease their worries that you’ll be leaving them shortly.

Keep Them Entertained & Exercised

A good way to ease your animal’s stress is to make sure they’re entertained and well exercised. Exercise and entertainment go beyond just making sure your pet is tired out and distracted from your moving activities – it helps their mental health as well. 

Exercise and entertainment helps them not only expel energy, but lowers their stress levels and keep them calm. Your continued devoted time to them will also make them a lot happier, and keep them happy and secure that you’re not going anywhere without them.

Plan for Moving Day

Before moving day approaches, make sure you have a plan for your pet, and a place for them to relocate to for the day if it’s possible. Regardless of whether or not you can relocate your pet for moving day, there are a lot of anxiety-reducing alternatives to get them through the process and transition them into your new place with ease. 

When it comes to anti-anxiety solutions for your pet, talk to your vet and see if they recommend any natural anxiety-reducing things for your pet. Research CBD treats or supplements, calming collars, Thundershirts, or ask your vet about any prescription medications you can safely give your pet to keep them calm during the day. 

Moving Day

On moving day itself, it’s tough to know what’s best for your pet as far as whether or not to have them around during the moving process. If you’re moving long-distance or overseas, you may not have a lot of flexibility on the matter, but you might have a lot of options if you’re moving locally. 

Relocating Your Pet

If you can get your pet to another location during your moving day, it will not only keep them safe and away from the action, but will also allow them to keep distracted and stay calm while you handle moving day. Especially if your pet is very stressed, they can easily get in the way of you or your movers, and can easily get hurt, or get spooked and make a run for it while furniture is being moved in and out.

If you can, ask a family member or friend to take them to their home or on an adventure for the day while you handle the moving process. Make sure it’s somebody your pet already knows and is comfortable with, and have them drop your pet off at your new home once everything is settled and the moving itself is finished. 

Otherwise, see if you can board your pet at a pet daycare, or just have them hang out at a friend’s house during the day (especially if you have cats)! If you get a sitter for your pets, and will be bringing them to the sitter’s home, make sure to introduce them to the sitter and their space beforehand so they’re comfortable and secure. 

Keep Pets With You

During your move, if your pet cannot be housed or taken out during the moving process by a family member or friend, make sure to keep them as close to you as possible. While movers are taking out heavy furniture or moving in or around your house, keep your pet in a carrier or on a leash close to you, and only let them out of your site if you temporarily put them in a separate room for their own safety. Otherwise, keep them by your side and reassure them as much as possible. 

When going to your new place, make sure your pet is traveling with you in your own transportation. Never put them in a moving truck or van, even if it’s up front with you. Keep them in your vehicle that they’re comfortable and familiar with, and make sure to take them out of the car frequently for breaks or water if you’re moving a longer distance. If you’re moving overseas, try to break up the trip over a day or two if you can to allow them out of the airport and to eat, destress, and stretch properly. It may make your journey longer, but it may help your pet in the long run to not be stuck on a plane (or worse, in a baggage hold) for long periods. 

Remain Understanding and Patient

No matter where you’re headed, the most important thing to remember is that your pet is stressed because they love you and don’t understand the process and upheaval that’s going on around the two of them. Devote some extra time to them just to give them a little extra love and care, and to reassure them that you’re not going anywhere without them. If they’re stressed, frustrated, or otherwise confused, practice patience and understanding with them so that they can be as comfortable as possible before, during, and after your moving day. 

Looking for the right movers to make your moving day as stress-free as possible for you and your pet? Focus on your pet and getting them settled and transitioned smoothly – let Bekin Van Lines handle your move for you.