Moving can be a challenging and stressful time for every member of a household — including your pets. While all pets can benefit from thoughtful planning to help them adjust to the moving process, skittish pets in particular will need extra TLC. Whether you’re moving from one part of Austin, TX to another, or across a few states, here are some useful tips for making moving day as easy and stress-free as possible for your furry family member.

Familiarize Them with Their New Home

To help your pooch get used to his new surroundings, consider taking him to your new neighborhood prior to moving day; take him for walks and let him familiarize himself with the scents of the neighborhood. Go inside the new house if possible, so he can familiarize himself with its unique smell.

Some pets (especially cats) aren’t big fans of change. Going from living in a routine “normal” environment, to one that’s hectic and filled with boxes in every room can cause anxiety in any pet. Avoid turning their world upside down overnight by putting out your moving boxes a couple weeks before you need to start packing so your pet has time to get used to their presence.

Get Them Ready for the Road Trip

If your new Austin home is miles away, get your pet ready for the long car ride. Try the following in the months leading up to the trip:

  • Gradually acclimate your pet to his crate, especially if he isn’t used to spending significant time in it. Start by putting a blanket, favorite toy and treats inside, and leaving the door open to allow him to come as go as he pleases. Also try feeding him in the crate, by placing his food inside and leaving the door open, and eventually having him eat his meals with the door shut. Consider leaving the carrier out in the house during this time so your cat or pooch gets used to it and even sleep inside it whenever he chooses. The goal is to allow him to develop a positive association with the crate so he’ll be ready to spend time in it on moving day.
  • Take short drives to get him used to traveling by car. Start with short, 10-minute rides, then buildup to longer rides.
  • For long-distance moves where you’ll be stopping overnight, be sure to reserve pet-friendly hotels ahead of time. For a list of pet-friendly hotels, check out the following:

Moving Day

On moving day, the hustle and bustle of all the activity of the movers loading up trucks may be frightening to your pet, so it’s important to keep him in a familiar, secure area to reduce his stress level. Pack your dog’s bed, blankets and belongings last, so your dog’s world remains as stable as possible. Consider having your pet stay with a trusted friend or family member (someone he knows) to care for him in a quieter setting or to keep him happily entertained by taking him to his favorite park.

Important tip: Prior to moving day, make sure your pet has identification and your contact information, and that you’ve copies of veterinarian records.

Settling In

Sticking to their routine after the move is very important for both cats and dogs. Maintaining the same schedule for walks, treats and bedtime will help your pet acclimate to his new environment. Bring your pet’s favorite bed, crate, toys, food and water dishes, treats and other familiar items. Put them in similar places as they were in your previous home. Favorites will help your pet feel in control and at home.

Home Sweet Home

Allow your dog to take his time sniffing around his new surroundings. Let him explore, giving him time to get used to his new home, just as you do. His behavior may change for a while, including eating and “potty” habits and barking more than usual. This is OK and can be expected. Remember that animals pick up on your emotions. If you feel anxious and overwhelmed, your dog will soon be as well. Giving extra loving and attention will go a long way to help him feel at home and at ease.

When it comes to cats, the pros often suggest taking yours to a room that’ll remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore. Keep your cat in this one “home-base” room for his first several days in the new house. This will allow him to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your cat in one room will also make it easy for him to find his litter box, food and water.

If you’ll be moving in the near future, remember that moving a pet to a new house involves three basic aspects: pre-move preparations, the move itself and settling into the new home. Following these suggestions will go a long way in helping ensure a smooth transition for everyone.

For more information and tips on how to successfully move with pets, contact one of our agents. We have lots of professional and personal experience we can share!