How to Move Your Pets into a New Home

February 22, 2023
A man petting his dog in the living room at home.

Moving is stressful in itself, but it can get overwhelming if you factor in planning for your pets to make the big transition. However, you can take several steps to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible for you and your pet. A well-laid-out plan will help you worry less during the stress of packing and relocating your household, making the move a happier and easier transition for everyone.

Why moving is stressful for pets

From a pet’s point of view, their current home is more than just their home – it’s their territory. When everything familiar to your pet gets packed up and hauled away, they can often experience significant distress. No matter how much your move will improve your pet’s life, they can’t understand why everything is being upended. For this reason, pet owners need to be sensitive to the needs of their pets during moves. [1]

Tips for moving with pets

Check out the tips below for a safer and simpler move with your animal pal.

1. Ensure that your new home or new city is pet-friendly.

It’s a good idea to walk the neighborhood of your new home to determine whether the area is safe for your pets. Also, consider the amount of square footage your pet needs. Cats typically need more vertical space and less outside space than dogs, while dogs need space to run around and go to the bathroom outside. [2]

2. Chat with your vet.

Your veterinarian is an excellent resource for questions about reducing your pet’s anxiety levels during the move. If you’re moving out of state, it’s a good idea to visit your vet a few weeks before leaving so you can get vet recommendations, copies of your pet’s medical files, and ensure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and medication. [3]

3. Familiarize your pets with packing supplies and boxes.

Most pets aren’t big fans of change. To help ease the anxiety of moving, bring in moving boxes early and keep your animal pals in a familiar room that you plan to pack up last. [2]

4. Maintain a routine leading up to the move.

Pets are creatures of habit. To keep your pet’s stress levels down in the weeks leading up to moving, stick to the same feeding schedule, stick to regular walks or playtimes, and give them a little extra love. [3]

5. On moving day, keep your pets in a secure and secluded space.

During the move, doors will be left open, and people will be going in and out. To keep your pet secure, place them in a kennel in a quiet part of the house or a separate closed room so they don’t run away due to fear and confusion. [3]

6. Introduce your pet to the crate.

If your pet doesn’t have much experience with a crate or carrier, get them comfortable with it before the move. First, place their food in the open crate and then shut the crate’s door during mealtime. Anything you can do to help your pet foster a positive association with the crate will save stress for both of you on moving day. [1]

7. Pack a pet travel bag.

Reduce stress further by having all your pet’s necessities packed and easily accessible. This includes water bowls, favorite toys, a blanket, food, treats, kitty litter, and more. Don’t forget a roll of paper towels and disposable plastic bags to help with unexpected cleanups. [3]

8. Pet-proof your new home.

It’s a good idea to pet-proof your new home before introducing your pet to the house. Make sure to tuck away electrical cords, plug up nooks and close off crawl spaces where your pet could get stuck, ensure that all windows have secure screens, and secure or remove any poisonous houseplants. [2]

9. Gradually introduce your pet to the new home.

When you finally arrive at your new home, allow your pet to adjust to one new room, including their favorite toys, treats, water, and food bowls. When they seem comfortable, introduce them to other rooms in the house while keeping some doors shut. With patience, your pet will feel at home in no time. [2]

Once you’ve arrived at your new home safely with your beloved pet, ensure you are protected with pet and home insurance.


[1] “Guide to Moving with Household Pets: Safely Relocating your Furry, Feathered, and Scaly Friends,” Joe Robison, (Feb. 16, 2022).

[2] “Moving with your Pet,” (accessed Jan. 12, 2023).

[3] “11 Tips For Moving With Pets: The Ultimate Guide,” (accessed Jan. 12, 2023).


The information included here is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide and the Nationwide

  • Family & Life