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essential tips

A guide to moving with pets

Give your pet a stress-free transition to their new home

Updated July 23, 2021

Created By

Victoria Lancaster,
Couple sitting on couch with their dog after moving

The essentials

  • Take your pet into consideration when choosing your new home — Not all homes are pet-friendly and there are a few features and home perks you should look out for.  
  • Gather the essentials before signing your lease— Vaccination proof and a pet resume may be needed depending on the property.
  • On moving day, keep your pet out of the house— Moving day is stressful for your pet too, so consider heading to the park for the day or hiring a sitter.
  • What you can do to create and maintain a pet-safe environment— Clear out any pet hazards, create a familiar space, and let your pet explore.

House hunting with your pet in mind

Now more than ever, pet owners are considering their pets when moving to a new house or apartment. In fact, some house-hunting millennials are recently cited to have put their pet’s needs before their own. There are several ways you can make the move a pleasant experience for everyone involved, your pet included. 

How to find pet-friendly rentals 

The good news is that apartment buildings and homes are often equipped with pets in mind. There are a few things you can do to find these homes. It is first and foremost important to familiarize yourself with the laws and restrictions within the city, condo, or HOA. 

After you have inquired to your prospective place of residence about pet allowance, be sure to specify how many pets you have. You should also take note of any noise ordinances if you have an especially loud dog. 

Things to consider when shopping for homes 

  1. House features. You should look out for things like pet-friendly floors and stairs. Hardwood flooring is a safe bet because you can refinish it in the case of scratching. The rule of thumb with multileveled homes is to make sure your pup can climb stairs. Pets with arthritis may have a hard time with certain stairs. 
  2. Backyard. Backyards are a luxury when it comes to finding a pet-friendly home. However, you should pay attention to whether or not the yard is fenced in. If your pets are going to roam the lawn, you’ll want to keep critters out and your pet in. 
  3. Proximity to parks and pet-friendly establishments. When it comes to pets (especially dogs), finding a neighborhood with great places to walk and socialize is key. You should also check out some of the local eateries to see if you’re allowed to bring your pet along. 

👉 It’s super important to find a new vet before or just after settling in your new area. You can do this by getting recommendations from a previous vet or neighbors. You can also check to see where the nearest AAHA-accredited hospital is located.  

No-nos to look out for when house hunting 

  1. Heavy traffic. 🚗 Living on a traffic-congested road is tricky with pets. If your new home is near a busy road, be sure you keep this in mind when and if you let your pets roam. 
  2. Carpet. Accidents happen. Carpets are bad for dogs who are potty training and cats who like to claw at fabrics. 
  3. Tight living quarters. If you have a large dog or multiple pets, you should be careful about transitioning to a smaller home. Make sure your pet can carry on with their normal routine without stress. 

What you need before signing your lease 

You might need to provide your new landlord or condo association with a few documents before signing your lease. Gather the following documents in case: 

  1. Proof of vaccination. It’s especially important that your pet is not carrying any diseases into their new home or apartment building. You can easily obtain a proof of vaccination form from your vet. You should also make sure your pet is up to date on all of their latest vaccinations. 
  2. Pet resume. That’s right, you might have to draw up a resume for your pet. Pet resumes should include things like breed, name, age, photo, weight, sex, and training status. This is a helpful tool when drafting a pet resume. 

Looking for renters or to sell your current pet-friendly home? 

Are you on the other side of the equation? If you’re looking to sell or rent out your home, you probably want to prepare your home for viewings without leaving any pet mess behind. First, consider taking your pet out for the day of any viewings if you can. You can try to schedule viewings when you plan to take your pet out for a walk. If your pet sheds, do a quick vacuum and tidy up any toys.

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Preparing your pet to move

Congratulations, you’ve chosen your new pet-friendly home! When you’re preparing for the move, you should be aware of your pet. The process of packing things up can be nerve-racking for pets. Leave their favorite room in the house untouched and save their packing until the very end. 

Cat sitting inside of a cardboard moving box

Moving day with your pet

Now that you’ve made it to moving day, there are a few things to do.  On moving day, several people may be coming and going. Consider getting your pet out of the home for the day.  

Safety 

Furniture and boxes are everywhere on moving day. If your pets do stay in the house, make sure they are away from any dangerous or large objects so that they don’t get caught in the crossfire of a moving mishap. Consider keeping your pet in one room so they don’t get out the front door. 

Transportation and other logistics 

Decide how you’re going to get to your new home. If you’re traveling a long distance, it may require some extra logistics. If your pet will be in a crate for the trip, make sure they are comfortable and consider placing a blanket they are familiar with inside. 

🚗 If traveling by car, use safety belts around your pet’s crate. Take plenty of bathroom stops and try to find a place to rest for a few minutes so your pet can roam and get some fresh air. If you have to stop overnight at a hotel, find a pet-friendly accommodation in advance.

✈ If you’re flying, there are some more steps you have to take. Typically, larger pets can’t travel in-cabin. You should talk to your vet before long-distance traveling with your pet. Take extra care if they are old or have an underlying health condition. Check in advance with the airline about what they allow and any fees. You can learn more about flying with a dog here.  If you’re moving internationally or to Hawaii, you may need to prep for months in advance. Find more details here.

🚨 Do not give your pet anything to calm their anxiety during a move unless prescribed or recommended by the vet. If your dog needs calming medicines, the vet will prescribe them. These medications can make a big difference when needed.

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Transitioning your pet to your new home

You’ve made it to your new home, but your pet seems to be having a hard time adjusting. It’s completely normal for pets to be out of sorts in a new space but there are a couple of things to be aware of so that they settle in quickly.

First and foremost, microchip your dog. Update their name badge or tag. Pets can get nervous in their new neighborhood and not be aware of where they are going. Make sure their badges or name tags are on at all times. In the worst case that your pet gets lost mid-move, follow this guide.

Pet proofing your new home 

Pet proof your home by following these steps: 

  1. Don’t wash their things right away. Familiar scents can be a great way to help pets settle in and make themselves feel at home. 
  2. Check your fence and yard. If you have a backyard, make sure there is no broken fence where a pet could escape.  Make sure there are no toxic plants or other chemicals around the yard. 
  3. Arrange things like in your old home. Try to closely imitate the location of your pet’s bed or toy bin. 

A note on training pets in a new home 🏡

The best thing you can do is stick to your normal routine. Even if you’ve traveled through a new time zone, try to keep your pet regulated when it comes to walks, feeding, and playing time. Keep things as close to how they were in your old home, at least at the beginning. Reward your pet with treats when they do things like go to the bathroom in the correct place. 

👉 If your pet is used to sleeping with you, don’t abruptly kick them out of your new bed after a move. 

De-stress your pet 

Let your pet get to know the other people and animals in the neighborhood so that it’s both familiar and fun. Get to know whether or not there are animals around that bother your pet. Lastly, spend extra time with your pet! Give them a little extra love while they adapt to their new home, and you’ll both feel settled in no time.