Helpful Tips for Moving with Pets

There’s no doubt moving is stressful, and your pets are affected by it too. Animals, rely on their routines and feel the chaos when their home is out of order, just like their human caregivers. While you can’t explain what’s going on to your pet, there are ways to help them through the transition.

First of all, take care of yourself and monitor your own stress levels. Any anxiety you experience will likely rub off on your pets and will add more stress to an already stressful situation. Pets are highly sensitive; they will look to you for stability and will pick up on your angst. Just remember to Keep Calm and Keep On Packing. Your own stress will diminish if you can focus on your goals and take care of them one at a time.

Preparing your Pet

Try to stick to your pet’s routine throughout the transition. If you feed at a certain time every day, continue to do so. Leave the dog beds and the cat litter boxes be until the last, and clearly mark your pet’s necessities in a box that will be among the first unpacked.

Spend some time helping your pet adjust to the crate during the weeks before your move – don’t wait until the last minute. First, leave the crate door open with soft bedding, a toy or two, and a treat inside. Allow your pet to come and go freely at first. Once your pet enters at will, you can begin to latch the door behind him, but always offer a reward for doing so. Many dogs feel safe in their crates as long as their experience is positive and they do not feel trapped inside.

An impending move is a good time to get your pet up to date on vaccinations. Make sure your pet is micro-chipped with your contact information, so if he escapes during the transition, he’ll be easily tracked back to you. Collars and halters need to be snug, as frightened animals are particularly adept at slipping collars that are too loose. You should not be able to slip the collar over your pet’s head. Invest in an engraved identification tag, available at most large pet stores, with your phone number to attach to the collar. Before you embark on your trip, snap several sharp, recognizable photos of your pets, just in case the worst-case scenario becomes a reality. Taking care of these details may well save your pet’s life in an emergency.

If you unable to take your pet with you, find it a good, loving home. Be aware that most animal shelters do not guarantee your pet will be rehomed, and some automatically euthanize an animal that has been relinquished by its owners.

Moving Day

Crate your pets on moving day, or consider boarding your pets to them from underfoot. Having them safely out of sight will give you peace of mind. Adult dogs need to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom every four to five hours (less, if the dog is a puppy). Cats can usually stay comfortable in their crates for longer periods of time, especially if there’s room for a small litter box inside. Don’t forget to provide fresh water at all times.

The Trip – On the Road

Pets, like children, need proper restraints when traveling inside a crate or safety seat, behind a barrier or strapped in, and never allow your pets either tethered or untethered in an open truck bed. Birds travel well in small animal crates outfitted with an appropriate-sized dowel for perching. For extended road trips, bring extras bedding, paper towels and a spray cleaner, just in case your pet gets sick or has an accident. Keep vet records and health certificates handy, in case of emergencies. Provide food and water for your pets during the trip, but don’t be too surprised if your pet has little appetite while traveling and during the adjustment period afterward.


If you will be traveling across state lines or on an airplane, a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) is required. Some airlines also require an acclimation certificate. Both need to be issued by a federally accredited veterinarian within 10 days of travel. Ask about medicines that can help keep your pet calm. You will need a travel-approved carrier, whether your pet will fly in cargo or under the seat in front of you. Service dogs are allowed on board with certain restrictions and may require a letter of justification from your doctor. Weather restrictions also affect your pet’s ability to fly. Check with your airline regarding additional rules, regulations and fees.

New Home

Now that you and your pets are in your new home, it’s important to establish your new routines. Direct your pet to the new locations of his food and water bowls, bed and toys. If your backyard is fenced, take extra precaution to ensure there are no gaps or holes through which he can escape. Walk your dog on a leash inside your property’s perimeter so he begins to understand the confines of his new home. Be prepared: Your pet may display some new, unwanted behaviors, such as marking the new territory or having accidents inside the house. Be firm but patient as your pet adapts. Your understanding while your pet adjusts will help the transition move along more smoothly. And what if your kitty climbs up a tree? As fire fighter movers, we know exactly how to help!

The key is to anticipate your pet’s needs ahead of time. Just as you can’t read his mind, he can’t read yours. A little forethought and planning will help both you and your pet make the move as easily as possible.

MoveStar is a North Dallas moving and storage company operated by off-duty firemen. It is our goal to help you and your family make a smooth transition to your new home – and that includes your furry and feathered friends, too.  We’re not just a moving company that hauls belongings – we move lives. Is it time to make your move? Call us at 972-716-9911 and let us know how we can help.


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