Switching homes can impact the whole household – four-legged members included.

In fact, 15 percent of Americans said that they, or someone they know, has considered moving because their current area wasn’t pet friendly, according to a recent survey by SpareFoot.

Respondents in Los Angeles had the highest number of people who’ve moved because they wanted to live in a more pet-friendly area—a total of 18 percent.

To reduce anxiety levels in your furry friends, consider taking the process step by step.

“The more you do to decrease their stress, the faster and easier they will adjust,” noted Kelly Meister-Yetter, author of Crazy Critter Lady.

Follow these strategies to get your pet ready for moving day, and acclimated to a new environment.

1. Get the Right Identification.

“Be certain that any required license tags are secured properly and the contact information is current,” advised Will Featherstone, founder and owner of Featherstone & Co. of Keller Williams Excellence, a real estate team located in Baltimore, MD.

Also keep a current picture in your wallet.

“If your pet is lost during the move, a photograph will make it much easier to search effectively,” said Featherstone.

If you’re prepping for an international move, check that your pet has all the vaccines and documentation needed for the next country.

Fizzgig is ready to move.
Fizzgig is ready to move. Photo courtesy Rachel and Kyla Sentes.

 2. Prep Records and Medications.

For moves that will require switching veterinarians, get a copy of the pet’s records, suggested Meister-Yetter.

Also consider a final check-up with your current vet.

If your animal needs a prescription, “make sure the supply of current medications will last until a veterinarian in your new location can be found to provide refills,” Featherstone said.

3. Visit the Next Home.

Moving somewhere close to your current home?

“Take your pets to the new place that you will be moving into and spend time with them there,” suggested Rachel Sentes, CEO of gal-friday publicity, who has moved several times with pets.

“They should get to know the place a little and have your smells there so it’s not completely a surprise for them,” Sentes said.

Lucy takes a break. Photo courtesy Rachel and Kyla Sentes
Lucy takes a break. Photo courtesy Rachel and Kyla Sentes

4. Make Trip Arrangements.

If your pet will be traveling on an airline or internationally research airline pet policies and practices, suggests Kyla Sentes, founder of Dog Hair INCluded.

“They are not all created equal even if their stated policies are the same,” Kyla Sentes said.

Ask about boarding practices for pet owners.

“Most airlines are good about you waiting with your pet until the last minute possible to board,” explained Kyla Sentes. “Be super nice and friendly with those transporting your dog – the more they see your relationship with your pet, the more willing they are to make you feel at ease.”

Man packing plates

5. Keep it Quiet on Moving Day.

Before movers arrive, consider placing your pet in an area of the home, such as the bathroom, and shutting the door.

A plug-in pheromone for a dog or cat can help calm nerves.

“Don’t forget food, water, and litter box if applicable,” added Meister-Yetter.

6. Take Precautions on the Trip.

If you’ll need to stay overnight in a place, use sites such as Pet-Friendly-Hotels and PetsWelcome.com to find hotels that accept pets.

Also keep routines as close as possible, noted Rachel Sentes.

“When I moved my two dogs on a 13-hour car ride, we stopped to walk them as per our usual schedule,” she said.

7. Adjust Slowly.

“Try to get one room in the new home set up beforehand with familiar things: furniture, blankets, clothing – anything with your scent on it is preferable,” stated Meister-Yetter. “When you arrive with your pets, quarantine them in the room you set up beforehand, again using food, water, and a plug-in pheromone.”

It may take a few days for your animals to start eating and acting normally.

“Let them adjust in their own time, but make yourself available for extra cuddles and love,” advised Meister-Yetter.

Rachel Hartman