Adjusting Your Pet to a New Home

Oct 9, 2012

Moving can be a stressful time for everyone, even your pets. Animals, like children, thrive on routine and familiarity. If one thing is out of place in their daily routine, they get upset. Here are some tips on adjusting your pet to its new surroundings.

Pet safe area during move

With all your friends and moving helpers coming in and out of your home, Fido and Fluffy are going to know something is up. They’ll be visibly nervous and may hide, create a tripping hazard, or worse, they may try to dart out the front door. Losing your pet on moving day is a problem you don’t want to have to deal with. So, put your pet in boarding the day of your move, or confine them to their favorite room in the house. If your pet is the nervous type, then it may be worthwhile to ask your veterinarian in advance for a mild sedative to help calm them on the day of the move. You may even want to ask your vet for any tips they may have on adjusting your pet.

Adjusting Your Pet to Home

The few days in a new home are most important for adjusting your pet. So many new smells and rooms to explore. Unlike you, they aren’t excited about having more counter space and three more closets. It’s a scary new environment. If you can, stay home with them for a day or two after you move. You will add a sense of comfort and stability. If you move in and immediately go to work the next day, you may come home to a few fur-made messes.

Show them where to “go.”

Speaking of fur-made messes … that brings us to our next tip. Adjusting your pet may mean you’ll have to show your four-legged friends where their “bathroom” is. If your dog has a doggy door, then have them can go in and out of it a few times and reward them with treats or praise. If there is no doggy door, you’ll want to reinforce the training that worked in the old home. In my case, my dog knows to stand in front of me and whine. She even has a little “potty dance.”

For cats, you’ll want to show them where their litter box is right away. Make sure you put it in a location as similar to the previous location as possible. For instance, if it was in the laundry room before, put it in the laundry room again.

Be prepared for training relapses

Pets, like humans, aren’t immune to temper tantrums. And when they don’t like something, they will let you know in the only ways they know how–scratching, chewing, meowing or barking. A housebroken pet might even “soil” areas around your new home. Sometimes, this is a result of not knowing where there new bathroom is. But, this behavior could also be a protest against the disruption in their routine or marking their territory if the previous home owners had pets.

Handy tip: It may help to clean your carpets before introducing your pet to its new home. You can rent a Rug Doctor at many U-Haul locations.

Accidents happen. Try not to get too mad at your furry friend. Just clean up the mess with a pet odor-eliminating cleaner and make time to practice potty-training techniques with them again. Pets thrive on praise and pleasing their humans. So when they get it right, show them how excited and happy you are.


I’ve moved with my dog three times now and the one trick that I’ve found that works best to help her adjust to her new home is playtime. Pets bond with their humans through activity. It also helps them burn off any nervous energy they may have.

Every time I needed a break during the unpacking process, I took my dog outside to play fetch. When I was younger and we moved with our family cat, we had him chase the elusive “red bug” (laser pointer) and gave him lots of extra loving.

Adjusting Your Pet Tags

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you update your pet’s tags and microchip information. The best piece of information to put on your pet’s tag is your cell phone number. That way if someone finds your lost pet, they can call you right away to arrange for a happy reunion.

Remember that moving isn’t easier for pets. It’s harder adjusting your pet than it is yourself. While you are busy taking care of all the details and returning to work, they have no other option but to sit at home and stress about their new surroundings. Try to keep that in mind when Fido leaves you a “present” in the hall.

More Attention for Your Pet Using U-Box

U-Box containers are a great alternative for pet owners to move. U-box containers are first delivered to your home to be packed at your pace and then they get picked up and shipped out to your new home. This allows everyone to ride in the comfort of their own vehicle.  Additionally, pet owners now have the freedom to take their time helping their pets adjust to the transition safely and soundly.

Have you moved with pets? Planning to move with them soon? Follow our pages for more moving tips on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Related post:

Moving with Pets


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