Moving with a Pet: Settling into Your New Home

As stressful as moving is for you and your family, it can be even more traumatic for your pet. Just like humans, animals often feel anxiety when a major change occurs.

Moving to a new home may be stressful to your pet. So be patient and understanding and provide lots of affection. Here are some pointers to help you settle in safely and sanely.


For the first few days in your new home, it's smart to confine your cat to one room, while you work on putting the rest of the place in order. Prepare the room with your cat's bed, litter box, food and water bowls, and toys.

Now is the perfect time to make your cat an indoor-only pet. Indoor-only cats live longer and healthier lives. Resist attempts by your cat to go outdoors. If your cat hasn't established an outdoor territory, he or she is less likely to be interested in going outside. Accessories such as window perches can ease the transition. If you play with your cat and supply lots of attention, your cat should have all he or she needs indoors.


Ideally, your dog's introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place, including his bed and crate, toys, and food and water bowls. If you must be away from home for many hours each day, look into a pet-sitter or consider dog day care.


Make your new home safe for all pets by being mindful of, or providing a secure place for, hazards that can...

  • poison -- such as cleansers, insect sprays and pesticides, medications, chocolate, certain plants, and antifreeze
  • burn -- such as plugged-in appliances, boiling liquids, open flames
  • electrocute -- such as worn lamp cords
  • strangle, choke, or obstruct breathing -- such as choke collars, small balls, sewing thread and needles, pantyhose, and bones
  • topple or crush -- such as precariously placed appliances, top-heavy filing cabinets, and lamps
  • allow escape or theft -- such as loose screens and inadequate fences. Never leave your pet unattended on a balcony or chained in a yard.

Veterinary Care

As soon as possible, choose a veterinarian and take a practice drive to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Trying to find it when you really need it can waste precious time. Also learn basic pet first aid.


Wherever you live, disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, or hazardous-material spills may occur. Make sure you are prepared for your pet's safety in case of a disaster. Start by keeping a list on hand of community animal welfare resources. To receive our free disaster tips brochure, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope to:

Disaster Tips The Humane Society of the United States 2100 L St. NW Washington, D.C. 20037


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