Tips for Moving With Pets

Family loading boxes into the trunk of their car with their dog at their feet

If you’ve ever moved with a pet, you know it can be a stressful ordeal, especially if proper precautions aren’t taken. At best, they will adopt an evasive temperament or closed-off behaviors. At worst, they can panic and make the moving process significantly more difficult.

You and your household deserve a moving process that isn’t so stressful. Some stress can’t be avoided, but at Prestige Storage, we hope we can help show you a way to get through your upcoming transition with as few bumps, bites, and cat scratches as possible.

Here is our personally curated guide for what to do with pets when moving so you can know what to expect and how to make the experience as seamless as possible.

Pre-Move Preparations

Before you make any conclusive decisions, you owe it to yourself and your pet to do some research about your options.

Start by looking up pet-friendly neighborhoods or accommodations that will be relevant to you. For example, it’s a waste of time to imagine yourself moving into a new apartment if you have a breed that isn’t allowed by that apartment’s policy. This is especially important if you’re moving pets long distance or to a location with nobody familiar nearby who can care for them in case of a policy oversight on your part.

You should also take this opportunity to perform some routine necessities. Update your pet’s identification tags and microchip information, and schedule a visit to the vet to ensure all their vaccines are up to date. You never know when an apartment community or HOA will turn you away for outdated care of your furry friend. Collect all related documentation for your records.

If possible, take your pet to the new space you plan on moving into, so they can have at least a momentary exposure to the environment before it becomes permanent. This won’t stop them from stressing during the move, but at least when they arrive they’ll know it’s a place they’ve seen before and are safe in.

Back of a truck packed up waiting on the curb

The Day of the Move

Take a deep breath. Today’s the day, and chances are your pet is just as stressed as you are.

Obviously, safety comes first. For most pets, this means a kennel that is secure, sturdy, and comfortable, with at least one blanket and a toy. They’ll probably be too nervous to really play much, but it will be a familiar comfort to them during the transition. Ideally, the kennel or crate will be familiar to them, too.

As much as possible, keep them away from the chaos. There’s no best time to move them, but one of our best tips for moving with pets is that you move them at the very beginning or very end of the process rather than in the middle when they’ll feel the most like luggage. Too much stimulation from lights, noises, and things moving around them will cause them more panic than necessary.

This is especially true if you’re moving with multiple pets. Try to move them all together so they have the security of one another to lean on and don’t feel like they’re being separated.

They should always have proper ventilation and temperature control. They should not travel in the back of a moving truck, which is prone to overheating and will eventually run out of fresh air. Keep them nearby so they always know you are close and in control. Even if they’re stressed, your presence will be a comfort. Moving pets long distances is difficult enough without them passing out or going hungry from neglect.

Thoughtful Transition Ideas

The new home will likely upset your pet at first, but they’ll get used to it faster than you probably will. It helps to set up a pet-friendly location in the new space they can retreat to for emotional security, like a dog bed or cat tree—something familiar that smells like them.

Gradually introduce pets to new rooms, especially the more frightened ones. If you move with multiple pets, braver animals can be trusted to explore on their own, especially if you know there’s no risk of danger. The ones not handling the transition well should not be forced to see everything all at once. Let them get used to one space before gently introducing them to another.

Maintain familiar routines as much as possible, including eating times and walks, when relevant. Just because the space has changed doesn’t mean their biological rhythms are going to behave any differently, although keep in mind that if your pet isn’t eating or drinking right away, that’s normal. They’ll allow themselves to eat once their fears settle down.

All the while, monitor your pet closely for stress or anxiety and give them extra cuddles and attention. They’ll need it.

A dog and cat lying on the bed and smiling for the camera

Settling In

In the days, weeks, and months that follow, your pet should grow familiar and comfortable in their new surroundings. The strangeness will turn into a home, especially as more of their toys and belongings are added to the space and their routines are adapted to the environment.

The most important element in this is you. No matter what, your patience and understanding during the adjustment are essential to a healthy transition. If you lose your cool with them, they will forever associate these major transitions with more unpleasant sides of yourself and fear any future changes even more because of it.

Moving is stressful, and no matter how many tips for moving with pets we give you, that won’t change. How stressful it appears to others is entirely dependent on how much you let it affect you.

Stop the Stress With Prestige Storage

A big transition is a monumental, exhausting task even without considering what to do with pets while moving. There are so many things that can go wrong or that you can forget that the stress of organizing all of it can drive you insane.

Because of this, Prestige Storage wants to get ahead of some of that stress by providing you with a stress-free storage solution. When we move, we often find ourselves either underestimating our new space or dimensions, especially if we downsize, or not needing all our belongings in the home. When this happens, it’s beneficial to have a friendly, affordable storage option that can answer your problems.

With locations all over the United States, Prestige Storage is dedicated to providing highly versatile storage satisfaction, regardless of your need—from flexible contracts to strong security measures, climate-control capabilities, accommodating customer service, and beyond.

Check out some of our storage unit options here. If you want to contact us, we’d love to talk with you and start you down the path to a storage solution that takes the stress off your shoulders.

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