Tips for a stress-free move with pets

When you’re making a decision on where to live and what type of house to get, don’t forget ‘man’s best friend.’ Have you thought about how you will transport and look after your pets?

Moving is a tough experience for humans, let alone your furry friends. Careful planning will ease the stress for both you in the short and long-term.

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Check your property’s ‘pet suitability’

Is your new rental property suitable for your pet? Have you checked to see if the lease will allow pets? If it does, there’s a chance the landlord (or property manager) may ask for an extra deposit or bond amount to compensate against any pet issues. You should keep a copy of all vet records to prove to your landlord that your pet has been neutered, tagged and is well behaved. It’s also worth checking with your local veterinarian on the legal and quarantine implications of transporting your pets.

Be mindful of frightened animals

Sadly, pets are often lost during moves. Doors are left open to let people in and out while they shift furniture and all the commotion behind the move may cause your frightened friend to bolt and hide. Amid the chaos, your pet may not be immediately missed and it might not be possible for you to spend time searching the neighbourhood. It’s important to keep your pets safe and secure in a section of your house until both of you can settle in. It’s especially important to make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag with your current phone number (and not the one you recently disconnected!).

Pets feel stress too

Whether you’re moving down the road, to a new suburb or interstate, the experience can be just as stressful for your pets as it is for you. Your animals are perceptive, but don’t understand why everything in their environment is suddenly undergoing a significant change. Cats and dogs, in particular, might exhibit some behavioural changes or even become ill when stressed, so anything you can do to make the experience easier on them will be great for all parties.


  • Keep your pet’s routine as regular as possible as you prepare to move. If you typically feed, exercise or play with them at a certain time each day, continue to do so. As you move towards the final stages of your move, it may be a good idea to keep your pet at a friend’s house or a kennel, reducing the possibility of your pet getting upset and running away. You don’t want your moggy to hide in a box that’s about to be shipped interstate… 
  • Your pet should have some form of identification at all times. You should keep a copy of current photos along with a written description should anything go awry in the event your pet escapes. If your move is going to take some time and will require your pet to be provided with food and water, make sure the food is bland and easily digested, and that the water comes from your home supply. Changing diet or water sources are common causes of diarrhea and vomiting from upset stomachs. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian for food recommendations.
  • Prior to moving, schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a thorough physical exam, making sure all vaccinations are current, especially the rabies vaccination. While at your veterinarian’s office, get copies of your pet’s records and check to see if the vet can recommend another veterinarian close to your new rental.
  • If your pet is on any medication be sure to have an ample supply so you won’t run out before getting settled in your new location. Also, discuss with your veterinarian whether your pet should be sedated during the move. If so, get enough to try it out prior to the move to be sure the dosage works properly.
  • Since each state has different laws and regulations regarding the importation of animals and some counties and municipalities have their own ordinances, check with a veterinarian in the new area to be sure your pet complies. It is important to do this several weeks before your move to allow time for all paperwork to be completed.
  • Temperature extremes should be avoided. In most cases, it’s best to transport your animal in a sturdy, insulated carrier to help regulate the changing temperature. Never leave a pet in a hot car during the summer time or a cold car in the winter.
  • If you are transporting your pet by plane, try to book a direct flight to minimise the time the animal may be sitting outside the plane in inclement weather conditions. Some airlines provide counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee. While this service costs a little more, it may be worth it for your peace of mind.