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How to Plan for Relocation When You have a Pet

When you’re a pet owner, many of the major decisions you must make involve them. Relocating your life is one of those decisions. Not only do you have to look for a new home that suits your needs and desires, but you also have to take the needs of your dog or cat into consideration. And once you’ve chosen a home, you have to make sure your pet is comfortable and calm. All of this is easier when you have a plan, so here is some advice for pet owners who are moving:

Finding the Right Home

When you’re house hunting as a pet owner, it’s essential to find a place that will make both you and your pet happy. Here are some things to consider.


Your dog or cat will need some of the same things you need. For instance, you both will need enough space to live comfortably and happy. If you have a Saint Bernard, a studio apartment may not be your first choice. If you have a more active breed, such as a Border Collie, then a sizeable backyard — or being close to a large outdoor space such as

a dog park — is ideal. For smaller breeds and cats, however, you can typically get by with a smaller living space and taking walks through the neighborhood.

Traveling to the New Home

Whether your new home is local or long-distance, you’ll want to prepare your pet for travel. If you’re driving, take your pet on a few car trips to get them used to it. Also, it’s essential to break in your pet’s travel carrier. Consider letting them sleep in it for a week or so leading up to the trip. If you are taking a long road trip, you will need to exercise your pet frequently to keep them calm. For instance, plan to make stops for walks along the way. Traveling can also be stressful for cats, so invest in a quality harness so that you can safely walk them outdoors.

Moving In

Once you’ve chosen your new home and have everything prepared, it’s time to plan for the actual move. This includes packing and helping your pet acclimate to their new environment.


Pets typically can’t stand when objects are rearranged, and it can give them severe anxiety. If it’s an option, arrange for a friend, family member, or pet sitter to watch your dog or cat during the times you are packing and moving things out of your home. If you’re not able to get a pet sitter, prepare your pet for the move by putting together a moving box or two each day and leaving it out. That way, the changes won’t be quite as overwhelming to them on moving day.


Once you get to your new home, you may need to help your dog or cat settle in. Bring some of their old toys, blankets, and other belongings with them. Anything familiar will help ease your pet’s anxiety. Try to keep the core of your daily routine intact (e.g., breakfast time, morning walk, evening playtime, etc.). Moreover, make sure to spend quality time with them.

Moving when you have a pet requires you to consider their needs as well as your own. Be sure to factor in the accommodations your dog or cat may need when you’re choosing a home, and prepare as well as you can for traveling there. Take steps to ease their anxiety during packing, and do what is necessary to help them acclimate to their new living environment. Putting a little extra effort into keeping your pet comfortable and happy will pay off for both of you.

Photo Credit: Unsplash


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About the Author: Cindy is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.

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