How to Keep Your Pet Calm During a Move?

January 26, 2024

Moving homes can be a significant source of stress for us humans, let alone for our pets. It’s no surprise then that your furry friends—be they cats or dogs—might experience anxiety during this time. These creatures of habit rely on familiarity and routine, and suddenly their world is turned upside down. But fear not, we’re here to guide you through this process. Our mission? To help you keep your pet calm and stress-free during your move. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Your Pet’s Anxiety

Before we delve into the practical steps of calming your pet, it’s crucial to understand what might be causing their anxiety.

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Pets, much like humans, are creatures of habit. They enjoy their routine and get comfortable in their familiar surroundings. When you start moving things around, packing boxes and changing their environment, it can cause a great deal of anxiety for them. You see, your dog or cat doesn’t understand that you’re just moving to a different house. All they know is their secure environment is changing, and they have no control over it, which can lead to anxiety.

Anxiety in pets can manifest in numerous ways. Cats might hide more than usual, become less social, or show signs of aggression. Dogs can also display similar behaviors, or become clingy and follow you around everywhere. They may also eat less or display destructive behavior. Understanding these signs of anxiety can help you take the right steps to alleviate their stress.

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Preparing Your Pet for the Move

Preparation is key when it comes to reducing your pet’s anxiety during a move. This is the time to introduce your pet to the concept of moving and help them get used to the idea.

Firstly, help your dog or pet get used to the sight of boxes and packing materials. Bring them into the house well in advance of the move, and let your pet sniff and explore them. This will allow them to familiarize themselves with these items and not see them as a threat.

Secondly, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. Even as you are packing and preparing for the move, make sure your pet’s feeding times, walk times, and playtimes remain consistent. This will provide them with a sense of security and normalcy amidst the chaos.

Also, consider getting your pet used to travel if they aren’t already. Start with short trips in your car and gradually increase the duration over time. This will help reduce their anxiety when the time comes for the big move.

Moving Day: Keep Your Pet Calm and Safe

When the day of the move finally arrives, it’s normal for the anxiety levels of your pet to peak. Here’s how you can keep them calm and safe.

One option is to confine your pet in a quiet and secure room while the movers are at work. This will keep them safe and away from the hustle and bustle. Make sure to check on them regularly, and provide them with their favorite toys for comfort.

Alternatively, you might consider sending your pet to a friend or family member’s house for the day. This way, they are completely removed from the stressful environment.

Ensure your pet is safely secured in a pet carrier or a harness when it’s time to travel. The familiarity of their carrier or harness can be comforting to them during this stressful time.

Settling into the New House

Once you’ve moved, the next step is to help your pet settle into the new house. This can also be an anxious time for them as they adjust to their new surroundings.

Start by setting up a safe space for them. This should include their bed, toys, and food bowls. This will give them a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Allow your pet to explore the new home at their own pace. Don’t force them to roam around if they seem hesitant or scared. Instead, let them gradually become accustomed to their new surroundings.

Remember, patience is key. It can take time for your pet to adjust to the new house and feel at home. Just like us, they need time to adapt to their new environment.

Coping with Persistent Anxiety

But what if your pet’s anxiety persists even after the move? It’s crucial to keep an eye on them and seek professional help if necessary.

If you notice that your pet is still anxious several weeks after the move, it might be a good idea to consult a vet. They might recommend anxiety medication, behavioral therapy, or other interventions to help your pet.

Remember, as pet parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure our furry friends feel safe and secure. While moving can certainly be a stressful time for them, with proper understanding, preparation, and patience, we can help them navigate this change in their lives.

Gradually Introducing Changes

A key strategy in reducing your pet’s anxiety during a move is to gradually introduce changes. This gentle approach can help your dog or cat handle the shift in their environment with less stress.

Begin by slowly packing non-essential items into boxes. Seeing familiar objects disappear into boxes can be unsettling for your pets. However, if you pack gradually over weeks, rather than days, your pet will have time to adjust to these changes. Also, avoid rearranging furniture or changing your pet’s established spaces until necessary. This will help maintain a sense of normalcy for your dog or cat as moving day approaches.

Next, consider introducing your pet to their new home before the move, if possible. This will give them a chance to explore and familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Spend some time playing with your pet or just hanging out in the new place. This can help them associate the new environment with positive experiences and reduce their anxiety.

Lastly, ensure that your pet’s personal items, like their bed, toys, and food bowls, are among the last things to be packed. This way, they will have their familiar items around them until the very end. When you reach the new house, set up your pet’s space first. This quick setup can help your dog or cat feel more at home, leading to less anxiety.


Moving homes can be a daunting challenge, especially when your pets are involved. Pets, like your dog or cat, can experience significant anxiety due to the changes in their familiar environment. As their guardians, it’s our responsibility to mitigate these stresses and help them adjust smoothly.

Understanding your pet’s anxiety is the first step towards this. Acknowledge their fear and confusion, and be patient with their reactions. Prepare your pet for the move by maintaining their routines, introducing changes gradually, and familiarizing them with the concept of moving.

During moving day, ensure your pet’s safety and comfort by keeping them in a secure, quiet space or with a trusted person. Once you’ve moved, help your pet adjust by setting up a familiar space for them and allowing them to explore at their own pace.

Finally, remember that it’s normal for pets to take time to adjust to a new home. However, if your pet’s anxiety persists, consult with a vet. Moving can be stressful, but with understanding, preparation, and patience, you can help your pet navigate this significant change in their lives.