How to Move with Your Pet

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 9:00am
dog and guardian outside

Moving to a new home may be one of the most stressful life events you’ll ever have to tackle. But in the chaos of cardboard boxes, packing tape and moving trucks, you might not realize how stressed your pets feel, too. We chatted with ASPCA Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Research Dr. Katherine Miller about ways to make the transition as safe and easy as possible for your furry friends.

Choosing a new ‘hood, house or apartment

Before you pick out your dream home, make sure your pet will love it just as much as you do. When it comes to square footage needs, cats and dogs differ. Older dogs, puppies and dogs with house training issues will need to go outside often, which might be difficult in an apartment building with lots of stairs or a house without a yard.

Packing up your stuff

Cats aren’t big fans of change. You can help your cats (and skittish dogs) adjust to the moving process by bringing in moving boxes early, and by keeping your furry friends in a familiar room you plan to pack up last. On moving day, keep your pets in a quiet room or at a friend’s house.

Planning your road trip

Many pets haven’t spent much time in crates or cars. In the weeks or months leading up to the big trip, you can prepare your pets by gradually acclimating them to their crates. First, place your pets’ food inside an open crate, and eventually have your pets eat meals in the crate with the door shut.

Settling into your new digs

When you arrive at your new home, it will be tempting to set your dog or cat loose to explore. But a new and unfamiliar space can be overwhelming to your pets. Start by allowing them to adjust to one room—their “home base”—which should include their favorite toys, treats, water and food bowls, and litter box for cats.

To learn more about how to prep your pets for the big move, please read Moving with Your Pet.