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Moving with PetsMoving with pets

Making the Move Easier

Moving can be hard on everyone involved. Adults, kids and yes… pets! While your pet may not understand exactly what is going on, they can sense the stress (good or bad) that the whole family is experiencing. Animals are creatures of habit and do not like changes to their usual routines so you can understand why they become so confused. They also become quite anxious when all of a sudden; they see their human family busily throwing everything into boxes. Naturally, we always want to keep our pets happy and healthy because we love them... but we also want to lessen the chances of their “acting-out”. Animals, just like people, can behave rather badly when under stress, and so we need to do all we can to help them feel secure throughout the moving process.

What we really need to know is: When faced with an upcoming move, how do we reduce the amount of stress that our pets are going to experience, and what can we do about the unavoidable disruption to their daily routine? We posed this very question to industry experts, took their invaluable input, and created the following list of tips.


  • Try to keep your pet’s daily routine as close to normal as possible. Adhering to the usual feeding, exercise and bedtime schedule is important.
  • When packing, leave your pet’s belongings to last. If possible, allow your pet continued access to the same food dishes, litter box, bed and toys right up until the moving day.
  • Lessen the chances of their being any “mistakes” by keeping your cat’s litter box in the usual spot, right up until you load the cat into the car –or until you confine the cat in a “transition room”.
  • Leave a couple of empty packing boxes open on the floor for your pet to explore. Allow your pet to familiarize itself with these strange objects will prevent them from being afraid of them.

Moving with petsMOVING DAY

It is best to remove your pets from the house BEFORE you start moving your possessions. Allowing your pets to roam free in the house while the front door is open and people are rushing in and out is a recipe for disaster.

If it is not possible to remove your pets beforehand, then you should select an empty room with a door where your pets can be safely housed for the day. Place their food and water dishes, toys, bedding and litter box in the room.

Many pets find the background noise of a radio comforting, and it helps to muffle some of the loud and unsettling noises that come from moving heavy furniture and boxes.

Be sure to put collars with identification tags on your pets, as many pets do escape during the confusion of moving day. To avoid possible injury to your cat, always use a breakaway collar. Although many pets are micro chipped, having your pet wear a collar is a good idea, as only pet care workers have access to the tool that reads the chip, while anyone can read your name and phone number on a tag.

For transportation to the new home, cats should be placed in a cat carrier that is placed on the floor of the back seat, and dogs should be property restrained. Dogs should either ride in the back of the vehicle, separated from the passengers and in a dog crate or should sit in the back seat, strapped into a dog seat belt. This protects both the dog and the passengers as a quick stop can send your dog hurtling forward, putting both dog and passengers at risk of injury.

Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. While the temperature in the car may seem just a little warm to you, animals overheat very quickly. Sadly, every year there are thousands of pets who succumb to heatstroke as a direct result of being left in a hot car.

Bring your pet’s dishes, food, leash, toys, bedding, litter box and any medications in the car. Providing consistency for your pet is important, so when you arrive at your new home, set up your pet’s things where you intend on keeping them.


Moving with petsBirds, lizards, rabbits and other small animals are much easier to move as they are accustomed to being caged. To make the journey to the new home safely, they should be kept in their cage or placed in carriers that are appropriately sized before being loaded into the car.

Placing a light weight cloth over your small pet’s cage will help to keep them quiet and calm during the car ride - be sure to allow adequate air flow. Provide fresh water and food for you pet while travelling and remember put medicines and toys in the car along with the pet.

Small animals overheat even faster than large animals, so again, never leave your pets unattended in a vehicle.


In the new home select a “transition room” for your pet while the “move–in” is completed. After things have calmed down and the movers have left, let your pet out to explore the new home. You may want to let your pet use the “transition room” for a couple of days before moving their belongings to their permanent location.

Before releasing your pet into the new backyard, do a safety check. Is the fence in good shape – no spaces for your pet to wiggle through or under? Can you pet reach the neighbour’s pet through the fence and if so, is the neighbour’s pet friendly? Are there any sharp objects that could pose a hazard? What about plants – are there any that could be harmful if eaten or cause injury if contacted? Is there any garbage that you pet can get into? Is there shade available? After running through all of these checks, be sure to leave a large, cool bowl of water and spend some time in the backyard with your pet.

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