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Preparing your pet for a move

Moving is a stressful activity for humans, and adding pets to the mix only increases anxieties. These tips can help you prepare your pet for a move, thus reducing move-related stress.

Preparing your pet for a move

It’s no secret that moving to a new home or apartment can be extremely stressful. So many details require advance planning and coordination. If you think moving is stressful on us, imagine how it is for our furry companions—as the only world they know gets dismantled and packed into crates. Fortunately there are some things you can do to make this difficult transition easier on both you and your dog or cat. 

Visiting the Vet

The process of preparing your pet for moving day begins weeks in advance, with a trip to the vet. Not only can your vet provide medications and feeding instructions for moving day, but they can also be sure your pet is current on all vaccines and can give you copies of your pet’s records. You will likely also need to get some ID tags for each of your pets, with your cellphone contact number, in the event you and you pets become separated for any reason. Microchipping your pet can also give you some security in the event of an accidental escape. The microchip should contain your current contact info (mobile number) and your new address.

Familiarizing Your Pets with Their Carriers

Familiarize your pet with the carrier you’ll be using for the move. Many pets become highly stressed by confinement, so you can help reduce that stress by getting your cat or dog comfortable with being crated. Leave the carrier open for your pet to inspect. You may want to place a favorite blanket or toy inside, so your pet knows the carrier isn’t a bad place or a punishment. On moving day, you’ll likely want your pets away from the action—either boarded or already in their carriers—to avoid the stress of overstimulation. This also lets you have some peace of mind as you orchestrate the move. Pet carriers should be well ventilated and large enough for your pet to stand, turn around fully, and get comfortable. 


Unless your pets are extremely skittish, it’s recommended to let them sniff around the crates as you pack. Easing their curiosity will also lower their stress levels. 

Planning Long-Distance Moves

If the move itself is going to require a long drive with overnight stops, research some pet-friendly hotels along the way. Usually a small pet deposit is required, and may vary depending on the size of your pet. Take some time to compare the accommodations and prices. Be sure to schedule water stops and potty breaks—and do not leave your pet alone in a hot car for and reason.

Reducing Travel Anxiety

Some pets love car travel, but most are at least a little anxious. If your pet is particularly skittish, you may want to try some short test runs. Even a few 10-minute drives around the neighborhood with your pet in their carrier can help normalize your pet’s anxiety about car travel. You can then try slightly longer trips. Most pets show a reduction in stress as they become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and sensations of car travel. 

Familiarizing Pets with Their New Home

If you’re a dog owner, and your pending move won’t take you far, you might consider walking your dog around your new neighborhood even before you move. Not only will this give you a chance to meet other dog owners and explore dog-friendly parks, but it will give your dog time to get familiar with the surroundings of his or her new home. 

Hopefully with these tips in mind, both you and your pets will have a safe and stress-free move.

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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