Moving Guide for Dogs and Cats

Sure, moving is stressful on us, but imagine what's going through your faithful companion's mind?  Here are some tips to help make the transition easier on Fido or Fluffy:


After all boxes have been delivered and all movers have left for the day, make sure all doors and windows are securely closed. Remember to block chimneys, too.  When things are quiet, let your cat out of his/her carrier.  Make sure there are familiar things around him, but nothing too loud or abrupt.

Your cat may want to explore, or he may be very traumatized and may want to just hide out under a bed for a few days.  You may want to set out some food and water nearby, and a favorite toy to reassure him.

Feliway® sprays or diffusers can be used to settle your cat. Feliway® is a product which reproduces certain pacifying properties of cat facial pheromones. For more information visit the Feliway Website


I read that dogs are easier to move with than cats because dogs become more attached to their owners as opposed to their environment. Unlike cats who prefer the routine, dogs may welcome a change in the environment, even thrive in it.


Before moving day, you may want to get  your dog used to riding in the car.   Start out by taking short trips and then increase the length of the trips bit by bit.  The last thing you want to have to do is unpack AND clean the car.

If you are moving with your dog to an area with a different climate, for example, from Florida to Minnesota, it is advisable for you to consult with your veterinarian.


On the Big Day:

Your dog may feel some anxiety.   "Who are all these people, and where are they taking all my stuff???"   Put your dog in a safe, secure room, either confining him with a baby gate or close the door.  Make sure there is food, water and a favorite blanket and toys.

Settling In to Your New Home:

Take your dog for a walk immediately.  He will want to release some energy, and will want some much needed attention from you!  Let your dog get familiar with his new neighborhood. .

  • Provide a comfortable sleeping area for the dog.
  • Try to keep a familiar routine as far as daily walks and meals are concerned.
  • Dogs must go outside everyday. Teach them their limits as far as streets and traffic are concerned.
  • Be prepared for a transition in housebreaking, especially if you are moving from the suburbs to the city.

Some additional tips:




  • Plan ahead. Advance planning will make your move less stressful on you and your pet.
  • Pack over a period of time, and try to maintain your pet's normal routine.


  • Invest in a high-quality, sturdy pet carrier. If you have a dog or cat whom you want to keep safely confined on moving day, get a carrier ahead of time and gradually accustom your pet to spending time in it.  
  • Purchase a new ID tag for your pet. As soon as you know your new address, get a pet ID tag that includes your new address and telephone number(s). (Or obtain some other visible form of pet identification such as a collar with ID information imprinted on it or an identification band that attaches to the collar but does not dangle like a traditional tag.) An up-to-date ID tag is a lost pet's ticket home.  
  • Make your car trip safe. If you're traveling by car and your dog enjoys car travel, you may want to accustom him to a restraining harness. Because most cats aren't comfortable traveling in cars, it's best (for their safety as well as yours) to transport them in a well-ventilated and securely placed carrier. Never leave pets alone in a parked vehicle during warm weather as the temperature rises quickly and can injure or kill them. In any season, a pet in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to being harmed or stolen. Never put an animal in the trunk of a car, the open bed of a pickup truck, or the storage area of a moving van.
  • Talk to your veterinarian. If your pet doesn't enjoy car rides, consult your veterinarian about behavior modification or medication that might lessen the stress of travel. Depending on your destination, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates.  
  • Prepare your new home. Take with you all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one in your new home: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, food and water bowls, and health records. Also have on hand a recent photo of your pet, for use if your pet becomes lost.
Suzanne Prezio

Suzanne Prezio

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, CBR
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