Moving with Pets

Author:Pet FBI
Author's Website:
Published: Fri May 24 2024
Last Updated: Sun May 26 2024

A white cat is sitting on a stack of folded moving boxes

Are you one of the 28 million people who will move in the U.S. this year? Household moves can have a profound impact on our companion animals, and the potential for losing your pet during household upheaval is greatly increased.

To minimize the chance of a loss, here are a few tips from Pet FBI:

During packing

  • Spend extra time with your animal companion; they can sense the stress of sorting and packing belongings.
  • Keep an eye on small pets who may try to hide in a box.
  • Now is the time to check your pet’s microchip. Make sure your phone number will remain current, even when your address is changing.
  • Take a current photo of your pet.
  • Keep their favorite toys and bedding, even if you are tempted to replace worm out items. They’ll take comfort in things that smell like home.
  • Plan on packing a portable water container with water from your old home. This will comfort your pet on the road or in their new place, and minimizes the potential for stomach upset.
  • Keep an eye on pets near doors and fences as you bring in boxes and take out items to be donated or thrown away.

During loading and unloading

  • Find a small, quiet place in the house, such as a bathroom. Remove all boxes from that area so it can be undisturbed while furniture and boxes are going out of or into your home.
  • Set up the space for your pet with food, water, toys, bedding and familiar items, such as an article of your clothing. Keep the lighting low and play music to minimize unfamiliar noises.
  • Place a large sign on the door to the safe space, stating “Pet inside. Do NOT open.”
  • Your companion animal should be removed from your old home last, and brought into your new home first. Remember, the cargo hold of moving trucks is not air conditioned and is NOT a safe place for your pet.
  • Keep your pet on a lead or in a crate for the duration of your trip.
  • Add a temporary tag to your pet’s collar that says “I’m moving” and lists your phone numbers.
  • Before you unload, set up a similar safe space for your pet in your new home, using their familiar items. Keep them contained while boxes and furniture are being brought into the home.
  • If it’s not possible to contain your pet during loading and unloading, consider boarding them for their safety.

After the move

  • Carefully introduce your pet to your new home, gradually increasing the size of their range.
  • Closely supervise outdoor time for a few weeks. Keep dogs on lead, even in fenced backyards until they seem fully at home in their new space. Secure gates and fencing that could provide an escape.
  • Contact local jurisdictions to learn about licensing requirements. Register your companion.
  • Ask neighbors (in person or through social media) for vet recommendations. Send for or download your pet’s records so they can be transferred to your new provider.
  • And of course, update your microchip with your new address as soon as you have arrived.

If your pet is lost before, during, or after a move, file a report in the Pet FBI database right away and follow the lost pet action plans links on our home page.

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