Pet Tips

Moving Prep with Pets: Tips to Combat Stress While Preparing to Move

August 24, 2022

moving stress petsWe are in the final stretch of prepping for our move!  We’ve been living in our current apartment for over 10 years.  The whole moving process has felt a bit foreign.  This is also the first time ever that we’ve had to move with dogs.  Our oldest dog, Kit, joined our pack just a few months after we moved into this apartment.  He’s lived in the same apartment with us since he was 9 weeks old, and he’s almost 11 now!  Throughout the moving process I’ve stayed pretty vigilant when it comes to my dogs.  Moving can be a big source of stress for pets, as well as their people!  Luckily my boys are pretty resilient, and I’ve followed a few tips that I feel have helped to keep their stress levels at a minimum during our moving prep.

Try to Maintain Your Regular Routine.

If you’re like most pet owners, you and your pets are used to following a certain schedule.  Animals can be creatures of habit, and breaks in their normal, everyday, routines can be big sources of stress.  My fiancé and I have been super busy; running around to get moving stuff done, tying up loose ends at work, and visiting with friends and family before we leave.  Despite all that, I’ve tried hard to make sure I keep my dogs’ schedule as consistent as possible.  You know Kit knows exactly when it’s dinner time, and he’s not a happy camper when it comes late!

Keep Comfort Items Out for Your Pets.

moving stress petsSince we’re so close to moving at this point, I’ve packed quite a bit of my dogs’ belongings, including most of their bedding and toys.  I think it’s important, though, to make sure you leave them with access to at least a few comfort items.  My dogs each have a few favorite toys, and I’ve made sure to leave those out for them.  I also left out their favorite dog bed, and Fen’s crate.  These items have been especially useful in our case, since we decided to sell off most of our furniture and start fresh in the new place.  I didn’t want Kit especially, with his arthritis, to be left without a comfortable place to relax.

Set up a “Quiet Zone” Where Your Pets Can Stay Safe and Stress Free.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve had quite a few people coming and going from our apartment – Friends visiting, people picking up furniture we sold, etc.  We’ve also been breaking down some furniture, and moving around really heavy boxes.  There have been quite a few times when, for everyone’s safety, it has been best to not have to worry about my dogs getting underfoot.  To protect your pets from getting hurt or bolting out open doors, it’s a great idea to create a nice relaxing ‘quiet zone’ for them.  If you can, set aside a room in your house just for your dogs.  If you don’t have the space to set aside an entire room, consider using a crate to confine your dog during times when it may be unsafe or stressful to have him/her running around.

Don’t Bother Going Crazy Cleaning.

When we first started packing, I went into crazy cleaning mode.  I had plans to clean everything, or at least almost everything, before packing it away into boxes.  It’s important to remember, though, that sense of smell is more important to pets than it is people.  Bringing items that smell like home into your new house when you move can be really comforting to dogs especially.  I decided not to go so crazy with my cleaning, and am even packing a lot of bedding dirty on purpose for the dogs.  I can always clean everything later, after everyone gets settled into the new place.

Get Plenty of Exercise!

Believe me, I know, you’re going to want to use moving as an excuse to not exercise your pet as much, at least if you’re anything like me.  I’ve been SO sore lately from moving heavy stuff around, plus extra tired because I’ve been so amped up that I haven’t been sleeping very well.  Running around at the park is one of the last things I’ve been wanting to do.  But I do it for my dogs.  Exercise really does help reduce stress!  Getting excess energy out in appropriate ways will help ensure your dog isn’t getting into trouble while you’re trying to pack.  It can also just be a great way to get out with your dog, to take everyone’s mind off of the craziness of the move even if just for a little while.moving stress pets

Try To Stay Stress Free Yourself.

moving stress petsEasier said than done, I know.  Don’t forget that our pets, dogs especially, look to us for ques on how to react in new situations.  They feed off of our emotions.  If you’re super stressed out, believe me, your pets are going to know it.  Despite everything going on here lately I’ve been reading quite a bit, and snuggling with the dogs often, as these are some of the things that help me to destress.  Moving is so hectic, it’s important to remember to look out for not only those who you care for (such as pets), but for yourself as well!

Try to have fun! 

Packing isn’t fun for everyone, I get that, but there’s no better way to fight off moving stress for our pets than with fun!  My younger dog, Fenrir‘s, favorite part of packing so far was when we were getting ready to sell our couch, and found just how many toys had been hiding under there.  So many tennis balls!  I’ve been taking plenty of breaks from packing to play with the dogs, even just to roll a tennis ball around the newly empty rooms for a few minutes with Fen.  A few minutes of fun here and there can really help to lighten the mood of the move – for us and our pets!

moving stress pets

Can you think of any tips that I didn’t post here?  What are things you do to help keep your pets stress free in a stressful situation, whether it be moving or something else?

Thank you SO much to everyone whose wished us luck with our move!

Things are still going well, and before we know it I’ll be blogging from our new home.  I have a few more moving themed posts planned, hopefully no one minds.  I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on our progress.  Please don’t worry about us if we go radio silent for a bit at some point.  It most likely just means that we’re in our new place, working on getting everything back up and running again.  Thank you all so much for reading!  All of you are part of what helped to make this next step in our journey possible and I am so thankful for each and every one of you! 🙂

This post originally went up on September 10th, 2019.  It was edited and reposted on August 24th, 2022.  We successfully moved from our city apartment, to an amazing rental house in the country back in 2019.  Moving with pets can cause stress, but this move was a huge upgrade for us.  Kit and Fen have both been loving life as country dogs! 

moving stress pets

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  • Reply Linda September 14, 2019 at 9:48 am

    They are cute. What kind of dogs are they??

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack September 26, 2019 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you! Kitsune, the mostly white one, is a papillon and Fenrir, the one who looks like a little husky, is an Alaskan Klee Kai.

  • Reply Ruth Epstein September 27, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Great tips and I understand the stress, I moved only 6 months after I rescued Layla and it was a nightmare in many ways but was also blessed that my neighbor was away so Layla would spend the day quietly in her apartment which she knew while I did all the packing. When the movers arrived a friend of mine (a dog walker) picked up Layla and took her over to her place so I could finish off and we were going to spend a night or two there so we put her bed and other things of hers in a room where she could relax with her things. Am laughing over all the balls and toys you found ROFL.

    Good luck with the move

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack September 27, 2019 at 7:32 pm

      Haha I know! I knew there were a bunch of tennis balls under our couch but I didn’t think there were quite that many. Fen was in his glory when we moved the couch and discovered all the balls. That’s lucky that you could keep Layla at your neighbors. We cleared out our bedroom, except for some dog bedding and toys, and kept the dogs in there while we packed up the Uhaul. We had to keep the dogs with us during the entire move which in a way made things a bit harder, but I think it kind of worked out too because the dogs seemed comforted by the fact that they got to stay with us.

  • Reply Rebecca Sanchez September 28, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Excellent tips and perfect timing as we’re buying a winter get away! We’ll be moving very soon. I love the idea of creating a quiet, zen-like zone. Our pups will definitely need this!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack September 29, 2019 at 7:40 am

      It really helped my boys cope with all the crazyness of our move. Good luck with your move, a winter get away sounds amazing!

  • Reply Beth September 29, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I hope your move goes smoothly! These are great tips for helping to reduce stress and anxiety pets feel when everything changes. The first dog that I had on my own moved 6 times with me and handled each move like a champ. My current dogs get stressed out when my son leaves for college. They love it when people move in, but get very anxious when they are getting ready to leave.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      Aw that makes sense though. Your son is a member of the pack and they don’t understand him going to college the way that a person would. I used to move around quite often but it was before I had dogs. Although I did have house rabbits at the time, and they surprisingly did amazing with all the moves.

  • Reply Dorothy "FiveSibesMom" September 29, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Great tips! As you know, I’m not too far behind you in the relocating process, and stress is my #1 issue! I am trying not to (too much) as my one boy Wolf has anxiety and is very in tune with me, so stressed out mommy means stressed out boy! I like your suggestion of not cleaning everything as they will feel comfort from the smells of home. I will definitely keep that one in mind. I was going to get them new bed, but now I am thinking keep their current ones to keep that “old home” comfort feeling. Good luck with rest of move and settling in! xo

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 1, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      My Fen is similar to Wolf! He also has anxiety (like me lol) and is very bonded with me. I’d totally keep the old bed, maybe replace it after you move. I know for my dogs their bedding seems to be a big comfort item for them. I thought they’d get really stressed when we started clearing out the rooms but as long as they still had their beds and a few other essentials they seemed to stay pretty content. Good luck with your move as well!

  • Reply Jana Rade September 30, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Cookie did amazingly well with all our moves. As long as she has her bed in place, she’s happy. She did get concerned when we started hauling that out the door–it was the last thing we moved, though.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      That’s awesome! This has been my first time ever moving with dogs. Luckily my two also seem pretty content as long as they have their beds, food/water bowls, and their people with them. The essentials I suppose.

  • Reply Sandy Kubillus September 30, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Great tips. It’s been 24 years since we moved into this house and it was such a project that we vowed that our next move would be into a coffin! My dogs went camping a lot, so they were used to packing and going to strange places. I remember doing the usual routine as much as possible, especially feeding and dog walks. At the house we moved into the fence didn’t completely surround the yard, so I remember tying my springer on a long leash in the yard so she could watch us but be out of the way. Getting the fence completed and the yard dog-proof was my first priority.
    Good luck with your move!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 1, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Lol that made me laugh. I can totally relate though! I used to love moving but it was back in the day when I didn’t have much to my name. This move has been a lot harder and I can so relate to not wanting to do it again. Our original plan was to move again in a year, as we’re just renting currently and want to buy, but we’ll see how things go. I think we might be sticking around the new place a bit longer than we originally planned partly just because we’re not sure we’ll feel up to another big move in such a short time.

  • Reply Emma Sivewright November 21, 2022 at 12:27 am

    My dogs went camping a lot, so they were used to packing and going to strange places. I remember doing the usual routine as much as possible, especially feeding and dog walks. Thanks for sharing this article.

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