How to Accommodate Your Pet When Moving

Socks “helping” pack for his big move. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

Moving can be difficult for anyone, whether it has been planned long in advance or some unexpected circumstance suddenly uprooted your life. During these times, any sort of stability is reassuring. For some, even if you are leaving your entire life behind, something that may still remain is your furry friend packing up and coming with you. 

But believe it or not, your pet can often struggle during this transition as well. It is important to be there for your pet, as you might be their only sense of comfort in this situation too. The following are some tips for helping your furry companion adjust:

Preparing Socks’ carrier with a comfy cushion for him to lay on. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#1: Prepare them for transportation

Remember that your pet has to sit for the same duration of time as you until you reach your destination. If you need to put them in a carrier, put some sort of cushion or blanket on the bottom. Pack a backup in case there are any accidents. Also prepare a small bag of treats to keep on hand.

Socks in the passenger seat for the drive to the new apartment. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#2: Tend to them while en route

While you may be able to sing along to your favorite playlist as you travel to your new home, your pet will likely remain on edge for most of the journey, trying to figure out why the trees outside the U-Haul window are speeding by. If you have an extra seat, treat them as a passenger and give them that space. If they are vocal throughout the drive, talk back to them to soothe them. Allow them to have bathroom breaks and take them out of their carrier to stretch when possible.

Socks observing the view from his new home. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#3 Getting Settled In

Before you start dragging in and unpacking all your belongings, accompany your furry friend as they take their first couple of steps into their new home. Find a spacious spot to let them out of the carrier or off their leash, and let them sniff around as you remain by their side. If they run and hide, don’t force them out into the open. They will likely get more comfortable after seeing you walk around the home yourself.

Socks lounging in his favorite cat tree from home. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#4 Unpack familiar items

They will feel very overwhelmed with all sorts of new smells and sights. So bringing out some of their favorite toys from home will put them at ease. If you brought their bed from home, now would also be a good time to unpack that and place it in the room. Don’t bombard them with all of the goodies you packed for them. But do create some sort of temporary safe space in a corner of the room to give them a sense of familiarity while you take your time to unload and unpack your own things.

Socks warming up to his new place. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#5 Let them come out of their shell on their own

You may be excited to jump right into doing all the fun things you and your furry companion did at your previous home,but your pet will take longer to adjust. If they don’t jump up on your bed to say hello by the second day, be patient with them, they need to take in their surroundings.

Socks receiving comfort and affection. Photo by Natalie St. Denis.

#6 Give them extra affection

This new home for you is like a whole new world for your pet. It’s easy for them to feel lost in this new setting. If you start working shortly after your move or are just out of the house a lot in general, your companion may get lonely if they aren’t adjusted quite yet. When you return home they will probably be ecstatic and feel relieved by your presence. It’s important to greet them with that same energy back because they will need that reassurance during this time. Try to subside the stress of your day that has you eager to finally plop onto the couch, and make sure not to be dismissive toward your pet. That small amount of extra affection can go a long way, and the reality of it is that you would want the same done to you in times of uncertainty.

Moving often signifies a new chapter in your life. But it still includes pieces of the chapters before. This could include bringing your furry friend to the new city you are moving to or maybe even a new country. Wherever it is, introducing your pet to this new world is just as important as getting accustomed to it yourself.

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