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How to care for your pets when moving

By Peter Gow

When you start planning a move to a new home, your mind buzzes with a thousand thoughts, yet one important decision may be forgotten: what to do with your pets?

Moving home can be a source of anxiety for cats and dogs that have grown familiar with their current surroundings and even the local neighbourhood.

On the day of the move, that anxiety will likely peak as they become aware that something is up.

Follow these steps to help ensure your beloved pets are as stress-free as possible during the move.


You don’t need any animal dramas in the middle of your move. So, take your pet to the vet for a quick check-up the week before. If you are moving to a new neighbourhood, ask for a copy of their medical records for the next vet and refill any medications. A vet can also recommend medication if your pet is likely to suffer anxiety from the move.

Chips are down

Having your pet microchipped is a legal obligation. If there’s any reason why this has not happened, then get it done before your move. If your pet goes walkabout in your new neighbourhood, you’ll have a better chance of finding them. Ensure they have a collar and tag at all times.

Travel challenge

Book any air travel well in advance of your move. You may need specific paperwork from your vet for this. If you’re travelling long distances by car, ensure you have water and food on board and regularly stop for them.

Moving day

Try to give dogs a long walk before the removal truck arrives, as this will help sap some of their energy. When they do pull up out front, make sure your pets are contained either in a cage, a carrier, secure in a part of the yard that won’t be accessed, or even in a closed room with a note on the door so that no one opens it. For some pets it can be an even better idea to hire a pet-sitter for a few hours or book kennels/a cattery for the day, to ensure their welfare during the chaos of moving day.


Make sure you have a quick access box of all the items you will need when you arrive at the new place. You should have your pet’s food and water bowls with you, plus at least enough food for dinner and breakfast packed and ready to go in your car. Have some treats on hand as well so that you can reward them when you arrive. Don’t forget a tray and kitty litter for your cats. And remember where you have left the dog’s lead before you realise in a panic that it’s in a box in the back of the removal truck.

On arrival

Take the time to introduce your pet to the new surroundings. Keep them contained until the removalists have unpacked the truck and driven away. Then it’s a good idea to personally escort your pet through all the new rooms and allow them to check for scents. Reward them as you go and reassure them they are safe.

Outdoor time

Make sure you double check yard security before you let your dog roam freely. Are there any small spaces under the fencing that they might try to squeeze through. Can they jump the fence? Are there any gates that you need to ensure remain secure. A padlock and chain is a good idea if you have children who might forget to shut a gate behind them.

The first night

Feed your pets in a calm and quiet space with a meal they are used to. This will help them to become comfortable that this is their new home. They may have some anxiety overnight so keep them close when you go to sleep or restrict their movements to a single room so they can’t get up to mischief in new surroundings.

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