Your four-legged family members are vital parts of your family unit. Therefore, when planning to move, you should consider their well being just as you would your child’s, spouse’s or your own. Remember, pets are often creatures of habit, and very much entrenched in their current environment, so a move isn’t always easy on them. Thankfully, there are some ways you can make the process easier by following essential tips listed below:

Prepare Them

A large part of ensuring your pet does well during a move is simply preparing them ahead of time for the process. This often involves crate training. If your pet doesn’t currently stay in a crate, imagine their distress if you suddenly expect them to ride in one for hours. In the weeks, or months, leading up to your move, get your pet used to their crate. You can accomplish this by:

  • Help your pet see their crate as a good, fun environment by giving them treats or playtime after they hang out in their crate.
  • If your pet is small enough, crate them and carry them around your house, and/or take them on short drives in the car while crated to get them used to the motion they will experience during the moving process.
  • Gradually acclimate your pet to their crate. This is especially important if your pet isn’t used to staying in a crate. To get them inside, place their food inside their open crate, leaving the door open. Eventually, feed them their meal inside the crate, getting them more and more comfortable with that environment.

If you aren’t planning on using a crate and will instead let your dog ride along in the car, take your dog ride for short car trips now, leading up to the trip, to get them used to riding in a car.

Know How to Safely Transport Your Animals

Dogs should either be in a crate when transporting or restrained in some form. The easiest way to ensure your dog’s safety during transportation is to use a safety harness, which you attach to your seatbelt. This lets your dog stand or sit comfortably, while keeping them safe. You can also use gates to restrain them to a certain area of the car. Cats should always be placed in a crate to transport.

Prepare Overnight Accommodations

If you are moving close enough to drive and get there in one day, disregard this point. However, if your move will involve at least one overnight stay, make sure you have reserved a hotel that will accommodate your pet.

Don’t Forget to Pack For Your Pet

You are obviously going to take your pet’s bed along and their favorite toys when moving to a new home. However, it’s important to pack a travel bag for your pet, which you can get to during the move. Include some of your pet’s favorite foods, a gallon of water, etc. When traveling with cats, know they won’t be able to go longer than eight to 10 hours between bathroom breaks. This might mean you need to bring along a disposable litter box.  Also, make sure you have your new address, cell phone number, etc. on your pet’s collar should the worst happen, and they get separated from you during the move.

Steve Zawistowski Ph.D, who is the senior vice president of ASPCA Animal Sciences says the key to a successful move with pets is “plan, plan, plan.” Therefore, make sure you prepare your pets by following the essential tips listed above to successfully move your pet without too much stress.