How to Help Your Pet Adjust to a Move

Pets can become disoriented and frightened by the whole experience of moving. To reduce their stress on hectic packing days and especially on moving day, be sure that pets are either securely penned, boarded at a kennel or at a friend’s place. You don't want your pet running away or getting injured underfoot.

Before You Leave

There are a few things to get in order before you leave:

  • Make sure your pet has an ID tag.
  • Check to see whether there are any special requirements, e.g., vaccinations or quarantines, required in the area you are moving to.
  • Visit the veterinarian and make sure your pet has its shots up to date. Get a health certificate, rabies certificate and copy of your pet’s medical records.
  • Have a sturdy, quality pet carrier and get your pet used to being in it before you move.

Staying at Hotels

If you will need to stay at hotels, phone ahead to make sure you have accommodations that will allow your pet.

Traveling by Car

A few simple tips can make smooth the experience of traveling by car with your pet.

  • Do not feed or give water to your pet for several hours before the move. On the road, feed your pet once daily.
  • Make sure there is adequate fresh air in the vehicle.
  • Take rest stops to give water and to exercise your pet.
  • Do not leave a pet alone in a car on hot days.

Traveling by Air

If you're relocating cross-country, you may want to fly your pet to your final destination. Airlines typically transport animals in the cargo hold. However, if you are also flying and your pet carrier fits under your seat, you may be able to take your animal on the plane with you. Check with your veterinarian to be sure your pet can handle the strain and make arrangements with the airline well in advance.

After You Arrive

At your new home, keep pets confined for a few days in a limited area like your bedroom, where you can comfort them. Introduce them to the rest of the home gradually, so they don't feel overwhelmed. Do not leave pets unattended outside until they have plenty of time to adjust to their new surroundings, because animals sometimes run away in an attempt to return to their old neighborhood.