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Moving with your Pet …

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Moving Home is Stressful for your Pet and Yourself. 

Moving home is right up there on the list of life’s stressful events!  And if it makes us humans crazy,  imagine how your pet must be feeling!

Losing the familiar sights and smells of their old house can be very upsetting for them. You should not be surprised if it takes up to a few weeks for them to settle into their new surroundings.

In addition to the stress of adapting to new surroundings, the journey getting there can also be very traumatic for animals. You have the benefit of knowing what’s going on and that the trip will end with you being settled into a new home. By contrast, your pet doesn’t know this.  Therefore, we suggest that you be patient with them and try to follow the tips listed below.

stressful for your pet

Days before the moving …

There are a few tips that have been proven over time to reduce the stress levels in pets, and in doing so, go some way towards lowering the stress levels of their owners!

• The primary suggestion is to allocate one room in your existing home and pack it first. Then keep your pet secure in that room while you are doing all the packing and unpacking. Take time to place their food and water bowls in that room along with their bedding, toys etc.

This may seem a little extreme, especially if the pet is used to spending most of their time outdoors, however, with the massive increase in activity, the changes they sense might make them want to take cover somewhere, anywhere.

The last thing you need to happen when you are about to move is for your pet to “go missing”, even if it ends up being in a tight corner in your yard, or the neighbour’s yard.

• Another tip that people often overlook is NOT to clean your pet’s favourite toys and bedding before you move. The reasoning is that by not washing them, the familiar smells from the old home are retained for them when they’re in the new home – the toys and bedding become like a child security blanket.

food bowls for pets beautiful colours

cat hammock for your cat

• A difficult suggestion to follow, because it runs counter to our natural instincts, is not to “soothe” our pet’s nerves (and satisfy our own feelings of guilt) be giving them treats or feeding them in the hope that they’ll be distracted and/or less active if they have a full stomach.

Try to make the last meal/food intake 3-4 hours before the move. To avoid the effects of travel sickness, and its associated distress, consult your vet as required.

• You’ve no doubt come to realise that all pets like to have a routine. It makes them feel secure. Therefore, if it’s at all possible, try to stick to your normal patterns leading up to the move and as soon as possible after you’re in your new home.

• We all love our pets as if they were children, and we would do anything for them. Try to be even more attuned to their needs than normal, and spoil your pet with lots of attention before, during and after your move. That’s the best way to nullify any possibility of them coming to the idea while you’re engrossed in packing that they’re being left behind and not coming with you.

• There are some alternatives that will suit some situations better than others. Let’s say that your pet has already stayed once or twice in a kennel or cattery.

If you know in advance that they do react negatively to unusual noises, strangers, a lot of movement etc., you could consider using a kennel or cattery for a few days, especially if they’ve been there before and enjoyed it.

If you choose this alternative, be sure to book your pet in some time in advance, and make sure that all their vaccinations are up to date.

GPS Tracker with remote callingUse a GPRS Tracker when you are moved into the new home those are available for cats and dogs. They are actually quite good and do a great job even after moving. Just going for a walk they are very useful.


• Another obvious alternative for some would be to ask a family member or friend that your pet is comfortable with to house them for a week or so, during the period covering you’re moving and unpacking the other end.


In this case, your pet will still experience some degree of anxiety at you not being around, then only have to cope with one trip to their new home.

You can also use Stress relieve diffuser or collars

For cats use Feliway and for dogs, Adaptil Stress relieve 

pets our best friends

The Day you move a few things to consider 

• There is no “one size fits all” advice here. Common sense should prevail.

Don’t treat your pet as an afterthought by entrusting the pet carrier(s) to removalists to load into the moving lorry/van.

If you own a car and your pet is already used to going on trips with you, your job will be a whole lot easier.

Even if that is the case, place your pet in a carrier for this journey. It’s for their safety as well as yours.

If you intend to transport your pet in your own car, or in a friend’s car or taxi, try to ensure that you can sit in close proximity to your pet so that they can see and smell you, and “talk” to them in a calm voice, just like you would during one-on-one time at home.

Once you’ve moved into your new home:

• Spoil your pet a little bit if time permits. They’ll appreciate and respond to your attention and affection. However, regardless of how “well” they seem to be adjusting to their new surroundings, it’s strongly advisable for a few weeks after you have moved to keep your pet indoors.

This may seem like a long time and of course, some pets will take the move in their stride and others not. This is for their safety, because their natural instinct may be to try to find their way back to their original home.

If you do have a secure garden and decide to take your dog outside, make sure you go with them and that they are wearing an up-to-date identity collar. Before taking that step in the new home, we strongly suggest that the pet is microchipped.

It may sound a little over the top but even if you have the best-trained dog in town, don’t let them off the leash until they have had time to get used to their local parks and landmarks.

Cats are best kept indoors again for a few weeks until they have also gotten used to their surroundings and scents.

Dog and Cat house
• Probably the last tip but by no means, the least important is that you will (probably) need to find the best vet in your area. That is if you have moved further afield.

We’ve found that local pet shops are well connected and only too pleased to make a recommendation, and your neighbours or dog walkers/carers in the area are another great source of local knowledge. A gentle reminder would be to also ensure your pet records are sent from your old vet to the new one.

To help your Pet to overcome this move as easy as possible you can use some essential oils to calm them down.

Sprinkle a bit of Lavender oil onto things around them, Please do dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. You can use olive oil or neutral coconut oil.

Lavender is a calming essential Oil from doTERRA make the move easy









Do you have experience moving with your pet, please share your Tips and Experience with us.

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Cheryl April 30, 2018 4:11:34

I had my own share of experience when we moved to a new home in kentucky
at first our pet dog was very nervous when it saw the whole house was being packed up so we had to get a calming medication from our vet which sort out the issue a bit
Secondly the first week we moved in, it was just looking for ways to escape and roam outside the house. This was really surprising because we had gotten it new toys and beddings before we started to notice this behavior.
Well, It took about two weeks before our dog finally adapted to its new home
It wasn’t easy but it was a great experience

    Melanie May 14, 2018 17:49:04

    Dear Cheryl
    When moving do not wash or replace the old bedding or toys, as this is familiar with the smell and the dogs need this. Moving is not only stressful for people it is also stressful for pets. It will take around 2 weeks until the dog or cats settling down. It is a good idea in the beginning only to go out with the dog when it is on a leash. At least they can mark their territory and get used to the smells and noises. This is the same for cats do not let them outdoors in the first 2 weeks. Until they get used to the smell and noises. Pets get easy lost during moves as the area they moved to is not familiar with them.
    I am glad all worked out for you and your dogs are happy.
    Have a beautiful day

Larry May 1, 2018 2:42:50

Fantastic advice! I am moving across state in June and I have been so worried how my pets will handle such a big change. I have 1 dog and two cats. One of the cats (Lilly) is very easily startled and she hates to travel so I was worried about her the most. She is older now too and I do not want to stress her out more than she has to be. I bookmarked this page and will come back the close I get to the big move. Thanks for the information!

    Melanie May 14, 2018 17:26:32

    Hello Larry
    I moved now exactly 3 years ago with my cats and my dogs. I was also worried about my cats so I bought the GPRS Tracker and I have to say it was the best decision I made. It gave me a peace of mind and it helped me to track my cats and dogs. When I am ownest than I must say it took me a while to figure those trackers out. You really have to take time and actually read the instruction and to trial periods with your pets. When you figured it out it works really well. I am so happy with those trackers all went smoothly. I still use the trackers when I go off road with my dogs as I want to make sure if they go off ( never happened fingers crossed) I like to know where they are.
    Happy to give you some advice on what I did with my cats as one of our cats is a little scary one, she is spooked about everything. She is a stray.
    Have a great day

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