Moving is undoubtedly one of the most stressful things in life. It’s overwhelming for us as humans; just imagine how anxious our fur babies get! Cats and dogs are easily stressed when presented with new environments and a change of routine, and when they’re stressed it can cause your move to be even more chaotic for you. Here are some tips to help you prepare your pet for your move and help make it easier for both of you.

Keep your same routine.

If possible, try to feed and walk your pets at the same time you usually would. Keeping your usual routine helps ease pets’ anxiety while preparing for the move and after you’ve settled into your new home. Animals pick up on your mood – if you’re stressed out during the moving process and feeding them at a different time than usual, they feel like something is wrong and become anxious. However, by following the same schedule they are reassured that things are normal and can become acclimated to their new home easier.

Get your pets used to being in a carrier/kennel.

The best way for your pet to be transported is in a carrier if they are a cat or small dog, or a kennel if they are a bigger dog. An animal that is not used to being in their carrier may become stressed and whine, meow, or bark. This anxiety is not good for your pet and can be frustrating to listen to while you try to drive your car to your new location. By getting your pet used to their carrier, you can eliminate the anxiety and have a less stressful start once you reach your new home. Positive reinforcement is a great way to make sure your animals aren’t scared of being in their carrier. You can start by leaving treats inside and letting them come and go into the carrier as they please. As they get used to the carrier, start putting them inside for increasingly more extended periods and giving them a treat or a toy while they’re in there. The drive to your new home will be a lot less stressful for you now that you are no longer worried about your fur baby crying in his or her crate, and your animal will be able to start acclimating to their new home without excess stress.

Familiarize your pets with car travel.

Many pets have not spent much time in the car, causing rides to be a significant source of anxiety. Try taking your pets on short drives (in their carrier), starting with ten to fifteen minutes, and then slowly increasing the rides to up to thirty minutes. When your pet becomes used to the new sounds and sights, their anxiety about the unfamiliar will decrease. If you are still having trouble with car anxiety, try putting a blanket over the carrier or kennel. Your pet may have an easier time once he or she doesn’t have to deal with the visual aspect of being in the car. 

If you can, take your dog on walks around the new neighborhood.

You can start preparing your dog for the change by showing him his new walking route! Let him see your new house so he can become familiar with the smell. By starting the new course before your move, you provide your dog with a sense of familiarity once you have settled into your new home. He will associate the walk with his usual routine and feel at home much faster.

Cats and dogs are very different, so don’t be surprised if one seems to be doing better than the other once you move. Cats tend to hide and explore on their own until they feel comfortable. Make sure that there aren’t any safety hazards your cat could get into and then follow your usual routine and let them adjust. Dogs usually have an easier time, you can give your dog a tour of your new home, and after a few days of following your usual routine, he should be fine.