Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to move a dog and cat into a new home: Lessons learned

Here's the house! We're in! (well almost. A little bit left to do in the apartment)

For the last few weeks I've been moving into this house because no matter what I do I never seem to be ready for a "moving day."

Of course, that means the pets always know something is up ahead of time.

Spring is selling season, so that people can move in summer (why anyone would want to move in summer in Florida, I don't know). This is what the realtors tell me.

So if you are planning a move, here's some things to consider:

Before you move
  • Start slow if you can. Pack ahead of time, a couple boxes a day. A lot of stuff at once can stress your pets out.
  • If your pet needs to travel in a crate or carrier and doesn't normally travel, you might want to get them acclimated to the crate. Put something soft inside that they like.  Maybe some food. Let them sniff and get comfortable. This one I didn't do with Galadriel. It's always a mistake not to do that.
  • Give them lots of attention during this time. Let them feel like nothing bad is going to happen to them. Also, try to stick to their routine as much as possible.
  • And... if you get the place ahead of time, bring them over if you can. Let them sniff around. I let Lulu sniff around the house and even the pool.
Intrigued but not interested in going for a swim.
During the move

Assuming you have a proper moving day:
  • Put your pet in a safe place with things they like. Lulu and Galadriel went in my bathroom and they had some of their favorite toys and things. 
  • Don't let them out unless you are ready to go. You don't want them to accidentally get out.
  • Bring them with you. Try not to leave them in an empty space alone overnight, even if they have everything they need. You've taken away their things and changed their home, and you are not there. 
  • Once you're in the new place, have a safe spot for them to stay while you are moving things in.
 After the move

Lulu enjoys her Fozzie Bear in the living room, as Galadriel looks on.
 Getting acclimated to new surroundings is not the only thing pets need to do in a new home. It can also mean a change in routine.
  • New places to poop. Lulu's backyard isn't quite ready to let her loose (in fact I discovered a gap in the fencing the first day we were in the house. So did Lulu. She almost went on an adventure).

    Now, if you can get your dog to just walk outside and use the bathroom, you are a lucky person. Lulu doesn't do that. Lulu has to sniff everything. I have never been able to get her to just poop and go.  So it requires patience, and taking a little time. But it may also involve accidents.
  • Let them explore -- under supervision. Lulu and Galadriel are loving their new space. They are exploring the pool area, the garage, all the rooms. But I don't let them explore all day long. Lulu and Galadriel have their own places in the house, places I don't mind getting messed up. I've got a big fence that keeps Lulu from certain parts of the house when I'm not there. I'd rather she poop on tile than carpet.
  • Let them get comfortable. They are in a strange place, just like you. They are learning new things. Give them the attention you usually give them, and they will flourish.
Galadriel sunbathes in the pool area.
For more tips, check out this article from ASPCA, or this one from AARP.


  1. Oooh! Makes me really want to move!!

  2. Great tips.

    BTW, love the name Galadriel for a cat. Seems so fitting.

    --Purrs and wags from Life with Dogs and Cats.

  3. Good information for anyone moving with furkids and how to keep them safe and content!

  4. Great tips! Hope the move went smoothly! Luna went to a Doggie Day Care during our move because she would probably dig her way out of a bathroom! BOL!

  5. Fabulous advice and BEAUTIFUL HOUSE!!! Congratulations!! Just shared on Twitter, Pinterest and Dakota's fan page on Facebook!

  6. Great tips, thanks for sharing them! :) Also congrats on the new house!

  7. great information here you can find all Beagle breed information and Dog Breeds information

  8. Have you used Feliway for moving before? Its a great pheromone for cats (also a version for dogs), that you can plug into a powerpoint in the new place to help with the onslaught of new smells that cats get when they move. Works really well for moving house. You can also get a spray that you can spray into the carrier before going. With cats, they see the world in clouds of scent, so they are quite susceptible to pheromone therapy. Hope the move went well!


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