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Portrait of a family and their content Golden Retriever

Moving Tips to Reduce Pet Stress for Cats and Dogs

Looking for ways to reduce pet stress during your next move? It turns out humans aren’t the only animals to thrive on healthy routines. Fido and Fifi do too.

Anyone who has moved knows that it requires planning, preparation, and a tremendous amount of hard work. Moreover, it disrupts our familiar daily routines, which is precisely what behavioral health scientists believe creates stress in both humans and pets in the first place.

The reality is that moving with your dog or cat will cause them to become stressed at some level. Pets can suffer from anxiety for a number of reasons including buying a new brand of pet food and moving to a new home. Signs of stress and anxiety in a pet include things like having an accident in the house, fleeing your new home in search of their old home, or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes.

While you’re getting everything boxed up and ready to go, don’t forget to make a plan for your animals. Consider how to make the transition as smooth and orderly as possible with these essential tips to reduce pet stress.

How do I reduce pet stress if I am moving with a dog? 

Moving with Dog

Visit the New Home with Your Dog

If possible, visit your new home with your dog on a leash before move-in day. Explore the rooms, yard, and neighborhood together. If you are moving far away and wondering how to ship a dog across the country or overseas check with your airline travel pet policy or look online to find a pet transportation service such as PetRelocation to help handle the logistics of shipping pets.

Perform a Pet Safety Check Before Move-In Day

Perform a pet safety check in your new home: Is your fence secure? Are there poisonous plants in the yard? Are there larger aggressive dogs in the neighborhood? During and after the move be sure things like bubble wrap, moving tape, and that other tempting chewable items are properly put away and out of his reach.

Be Calm and Consistent with Your Voice Commands

Be calm and consistent with your dog for the first several days and be sure to go for walks regularly. The Humane Society recommends to reward your dog with pinky-sized treats and praise him often for good behavior, but don’t punish him for bad behavior. The experts say as this could create unwarranted stress.

How do I reduce pet stress if I am moving with a cat?

adorable cat in moving box

Confinement is Key for Kitty Safety

Confinement is key when it comes to moving with your cat. At least for the first several days. Setting up a “safe room” before the movers arrive will go a long way to reduce pet stress during a move. An extra bedroom or bathroom will suffice. Just be sure to tape a big note that says’s “Don’t Let the Cat Out!” on the door. Place the litter box, cat bed, food, water, and a few favorite toys in with your cat and let her be while everyone is busy moving.

Create Some Cuddle Time with Your Cat

After things have calmed down, create some time for kitty cuddling. Let her explore the inside of your new home on her terms. Keep in mind that just like humans, relocating is often more difficult for an older, or senior, cat than it is for a younger kitty.

Keep an Outdoor Kitty Indoors

Keep an outdoor or free-roaming kitty indoors for the first couple of weeks before accompanying her on a leash and harness to the backyard. Do this several times before finally letting her out of the house alone.

Things can get a little crazy when moving, but the first responsibility that comes with pet ownership is keeping your furry friends safe until they are settled. Be sure Pet ID tags or other types ID are updated with your current phone number and new address information before the big moving day arrives.

Owning a pet is certainly worth all the effort. If you have specific questions or need additional information be sure to contact your veterinarian or local Humane Society for more essential tips.

When you’re moving with your pet, start by keeping things as simple and relaxed as possible. Easier said than done for sure. However, it will go a long way to reduce pet stress.


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