by Ethan Greenfieldon Dec 7, 2022.
Moving day is stressful and dangerous for everyone – including pets. There is a lot of hassle and a lot of anxiety – and too many things that can go wrong.
With so much hectic activity and so many unfamiliar people going in and out of the house, pets are very likely to get nervous, upset, and scared – in their confusion and fear, they may start dashing around or may even bolt out the door. Both scenarios can have disastrous consequences:
- If a jittery pet gets in the movers’ way, it may lead to a severe accident. The movers may lose their balance or they may trip over the pet – they may fall and get injured, or they may drop the item they’re carrying and cause it to break and/or cause damage to the property, and the pet may get badly hurt;
- If an anxious pet manages to get out of the door, they may run away and get lost.
To prevent either of these unfortunate incidents when moving house with a pet, you need to find a way to keep your animal friend calm and safe on the day of your move.
Here are some tips and insights to help you reduce the stress for your dear pet and ensure their safety on moving day:
Prepare in advance
To make moving day as safe and stress-free for your animal friend as possible, you need to take some preparatory measures:
1) Take your pet to the vet
Visit the vet several weeks before the move to make sure your pet is in good health, get the necessary documents, and discuss your concerns with the professional:
- Have your pet fully checked up to make sure they’re healthy and strong and the journey to your new home won’t pose any health risks for them;
- Have your pet vaccinated according to the requirements in your new location (when moving to a different state or country);
- Retrieve all your pet’s medical records and get a health certificate (if necessary);
- Consult with the vet about how to best care for your pet during and after the move and discuss any potential problems that may arise during the transitional period. Ask about car sickness medications and anti-anxiety meds – and about sedation in case your pet will be traveling in a plane;
- Ask for recommendations for a good veterinarian in your new area (when moving to another city, state, or country).
2) Have your pet microchipped
If your pet escapes on moving day or goes missing after the move, it will be much easier to find them when they have a microchip, so be sure to have your animal friend microchipped before the move.
3) Get an appropriate pet carrier
A quality pet carrier will help you not only safely transport your animal friend to your new home, but also keep them calm and out of harm’s way on moving day and during the first couple of days in your new place.
It is, therefore, very important to get an appropriate moving carrier, crate, or cage for your dear pet and crate train them for travel.
Related: How to choose the right pet carrier for moving
4) Prepare an essentials box for your pet
In order to be able to take proper care of your pet and keep them safe and comfortable during the trip to your new home and while unpacking after arrival, you need to have their essentials at hand.
So, be sure to pack a box or a bag with a few days’ supply of pet food and some essential pet items (your pet’s favorite toys, food and water bowls, medications, grooming tools, bedding, litter box, leash, etc. – as appropriate) and take it with you (make sure the box doesn’t get accidentally loaded on the moving truck).
5) Book a pet-friendly hotel
If you’re going to drive across the country with your pet and the trip is going to take more than a day, check for pet-friendly hotels along the way and book your stay in advance – so you have a safe place where to spend the night together with your pet.
All the above steps are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of your pet during your move – yet, it’s even more important what you do on moving day itself.
What to do with pets on moving day
So, you’ve prepared as best as possible. Still, the big question remains – what to do with your pets on moving day?
You have two options:
1) Board your pet
Moving day means a lot of hustle and bustle, a lot of stress, and a lot of dangerous situations – so, it may be best for your pets not to be in the home on the Big day.
As safe, calm, and happy as your animal friend may usually feel at home, with you, there are many good reasons to board your pet on moving day:
- They will experience minimum amount of stress;
- There will be no risk of them getting hurt or running off during the hectic moving process;
- You won’t worry about them and will be able to focus on your move.
You can ask a family member, a friend, or a neighbor – someone your pet is familiar with and enjoys staying with – to take your animal friend to their house on moving day and look after them until you can pick them up and take them to your new home.
If staying with a friend or family member is not possible, you can leave your pet at a local pet daycare center for the day of your move – especially if your animal friend is familiar with the place and feels comfortable there.
In case none of the above options work for you, you’ll have no choice but to keep your pet home on Moving day.
2) Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room away from the moving chaos
If your pet will be at home on the day of your move, the best thing you can do is to keep them in a quiet room where they will be safe and won’t be disturbed by the moving activities.
Make sure everything has been moved out of the designated room in advance and bring your pet’s carrier, their food and water bowls, their litter box (when applicable), their bedding, and a few favorite toys inside. If you have a cat or a dog, consider using some pheromone spray in the room to help your furry friend relax and stay calm.
Related: How to move with a dog; How to move with a cat; How to move with birds
How to keep your pet safe on moving day
On the morning of moving day, take your pet to their safe room. Make sure they have plenty of water and everything else they may need.
Leave their travel carrier open, so they can go inside it if they feel safer – or more comfortable – there.
Make sure all the windows and doors are securely closed
Close all the windows and doors to the room, so your animal friend can’t escape if they get anxious – or overly curious – in the course of the day.
Even if your pet is in a cage, hutch, tank, or terrarium, you’re still advised to close all doors and windows – better to be safe than sorry. Besides, it will help reduce the noise, so your pet will be calmer.
If you have a cat or a dog, make sure they wear a collar with an ID tag and your contact information – just in case.
Put a sign on the door alerting others not to enter
It’s important to let your movers know that there is a pet in the home and take measures to ensure that no one will enter the room where your animal friend is.
The easiest way to do so is to put up a large sign that says “Pet inside – do not open the door” on the door to your pet’s safe room.
Check on your pet regularly throughout the day
No matter how busy you may be on moving day, be sure to find the time to check in on your pet every couple of hours – make sure they’re well, give them a snack, talk to them in a calm and reassuring voice, play with them for a while, etc.
Try to keep your pet’s daily routine – feed them at the time you usually do, pet them as you normally do, etc. The familiar routine will give your animal friend a sense of security and will help reduce their stress.
If you have a dog, ask a friend to take them out for a walk, so your pooch can let out some energy and have some fun before the trip to your new home.
When the time comes to set off for your new home, put your pet in their carrier and grab your pet’s essentials box.
- If you’re going to transport your animal friend in your car (which is usually the best option), secure the carrier to the backseat with a belt and make sure nothing can fall over it. When moving long distance, make frequent stops to give your animal friend food and water;
- If your pet will be flying to your new area, label the carrier with your pet’s name and your name, telephone number, and final destination. Use anti-anxiety meds and natural calming products to reduce your pet’s anxiety before and during the flight;
- If you’ve chosen to entrust your animal friend to a professional pet transportation company, be sure to give them instructions about your pet’s needs, the precise address of your new home, and your phone number so they can reach you in case of an emergency.
See also: How to ship pets across country
Once you arrive at your new home, take your pet to a quiet room (make sure there are no potential hazards in it and close all doors and windows) and set out their food and water bowls, their bedding, their toys, etc. The familiar items will provide a sense of security and will help your pet relax. When the room is ready, open the carrier, so your pet can step out when they’re ready, provide fresh water and quality food, and let your animal friend get used to the new surroundings.
Keep your pet in the safe room for a few days until they’ve calmed down and you’ve finished unpacking and pet-proofing the home – then, allow them to explore your new home at their own pace. Re-introduce your pet’s old routine and spend as much time as possible with your animal friend.
See also: How to make a dog comfortable in a new home; How to make a cat comfortable in a new home