Moving is stressful for everyone, including your pets. Imagine the chaos and change that comes with a major move, and then picture your pets – who can’t understand what is happening or why.

Even the most adaptable animals will find moving to be confusing and frightening at certain points. It’s your job as their owner to help ease the stress of the transition, create structure and routine and help them to adapt to their new surroundings safely.

If you and your pet are planning a move in the next few weeks or months, there are steps you can take to help ease the burden on them. If you plan ahead and give it time, your dog or cat can adjust to their new apartment nicely. After all, home is where your pet lives.

Read Up on the Pet Rules at Your New Property
Before you move, read up on the pet rules at your new apartment community. These may include use of pet waste stations and dog or bark parks, as well as rules on barking, pet size limits and types of pets allowed. It’s important to know what the rules are in advance, so that the transition goes smoothly for both you and your pet.

Find a New Vet
Unless you’re moving within the same city, it’ll be important to find a new veterinarian for your pet. Before you move, call the nearby, local animal shelter for their advice, or reach out to the property management company to find out if they have recommendations. Set up an appointment for just a few weeks after you move, to help your pet get acclimated and ensure you keep his health and well-being on track.

Update Tags
Dogs and cats will need updated tags with your new address on them as soon as you move. Even indoor cats who are microchipped should have a means of identification, especially during the first few weeks of your move. Moving can be frightening for animals, and updated identification will help in case of a surprise escape or emergency.

Stick to Your Routine
As much as possible, before and after your move, stick to your usual schedule and routine. Your pets will pick up on major changes, stress and anxiety that you may start to feel, and this will affect them. While you won’t be able to avoid all stress and changes during your move, try to maintain a daily schedule that provides consistency and routine. Continue to take your dog for walks at the same time, feed your pets on schedule and make time for play, cuddles and connection once a day. When you move, try to create a space for them with familiar items, including their bed, favorite toys, blankets, etc.

Choose Their Moving Day Location
You won’t want your cat or dog underfoot in the middle of a move. Make sure to have them safely boarded for the day or with a trusted friend. Leaving your pets inside the home during your move can be risky, but if you must, be sure to close them up in a secure location with a large sign posted on the door. You won’t want a dog or cat on the loose in the middle of an already busy and stressful day.

Start Small & Give it Time
Moving is stressful, for you and your pets. It’s best to give your pets time to adapt to their new surroundings. Explore your new neighborhood with your dog on leash, and try out the new dog park in small segments of time. Be aware that your cats might hide or have accidents, your dog may feel stress, shed more and chew up a few pairs of shoes. If you start to notice major behavioral issues, contact your vet.