With our cross country move (mostly) behind us, it’s time to reflect on what went well and also probably finally finish unpacking all our moving boxes. In case you missed it, we moved earlier this month from Northern Virginia to just outside of Denver, CO. As it was my first big move as an adult, it’s been quite a learning experience and adjustment.

I know moving is not easy. It isn’t fun – though an element or two can be. It is almost always an extremely stressful situation. Moving companies tell you that they know that too, but in my experience they are really just in it for the money. And moving with pets doesn’t make it easier! That’s why I’m working on a multi-post series to share a bit about our cross country moving experience and tips to help others moving in the future. And… I may also be writing this to learn from our own mistakes should we get the crazy idea to ever move again.

In Part One of our Moving With Pets series (this post right here!), I’ll be sharing ideas for how to keep your pets comfortable during a move. This post has been graciously sponsored by our friends at Sleepypod. In Part Two, I’ll discuss how to approach and deal with a long distance moving company. Then in Part Three, I’ll share tips on making the actual cross country road trip with pets. And finally in Part Four, I’ll wrap up with some money saving ideas for moving with your pets.

Tips to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During a Move

Tips to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During a Move

Don’t forget to plan for both Move In and Move Out days. If you are just moving locally, you might be able to get everything done in one day. If you are moving out of state, you will have at least two days to plan for and maybe more! Our cross country belongings arrived in two separate shipments rather than altogether as we expected, so we had to set aside an additional day from work and plan for the pups multiple times. It was an unpleasant surprise for sure, but at least we had a plan of attack!

Consider doggy day care or finding a pet sitter. It’s an extra cost, but in my experience it makes the move in and move out process much less stressful for everyone. Doggy day care prices vary a bit depending on where you are located, but most seem to be between $20-30 per day per dog. Some doggy day care locations actually offer discounts on your first day or if you have more than one dog. We lucked out and found a place that gave both Ralph and Luna a free day when our first round of things arrived in Colorado, then we brought the pups back when the rest was delivered.

For a more budget friendly option, consider asking a friend or family member to watch your pets for a few hours. Depending on how many pets you have and how much of a handful they are, you might want to pick up a little gift or at least provide a free meal as a gesture of thanks. Keep in mind you may not have an available and trusted friend or family member nearby when you move to a new town. That’s why we opted for doggy day care.

Make a safe place. If you absolutely must have your pets with you on moving day, create a space for them that will keep them out of danger and prevent them from slowing you or your movers down. Pick a smaller room that has a closeable door and your pet will feel comfortable in. If possible, go ahead and move all the items – both furniture and boxes – out of the room into another space the day before moving day. That way you won’t have to bother your dogs to move the items out the day of.

Sleepypod Yummy Travel Bowls are spill proof! - Tips and Best Practices to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During a Move

Include important items in your safe place such as the ones listed below to keep your dog happy and safe:

Plenty of fresh, clean water
Check on this throughout the day to ensure your pup always has some available.

Spill proof water bowl
We LOVE the Sleepypod Yummy Travel Bowls for this purpose and travel, of course! Pets spilling their water bowls is a common problem when left unattended for a bit, so spill proof is definitely the way to go to keep them hydrated!

Used t-shirt or other familiar item from you
A familiar scent and item may help your dog feel at ease even if you can’t be with them throughout the whole day. Make sure it’s not anything you wouldn’t mind getting a little messy in case of an accident. When we first moved into our new place, Luna curled up on my sweatshirt almost every night. It was super cute and helped her feel at home!

Familiar dog bed and blanket
Make sure they have somewhere comfortable to lay while all the commotion is happening in the other rooms of your home.

Favorite toys and chews
These will help keep them occupied during the long moving day and the familiarity may also help ease any anxiety.

Treats on hand for distractions
If there is a part of the move that is particularly noisy or your pup starts exhibiting signs of anxiety, you may be able to help distract them with a few treats. You can also try food dispensing toys such as those from KONG or West Paw Designs. Just don’t be silly and leave the whole bag just laying about!

Long lasting bully stick or other chew for tough moments
Chews, especially bully sticks, are one of the few things that can keep my two dogs occupied for more than a few minutes at a time especially when something stressful is going on. Have one or two of these on hand, but just be aware with how much you are feeding your pups because that may mean increased potty breaks or water!

Collar with IDs
Be ready for the worse and ensure your pets have collars with up to date ID tags on them just in case they manage to get loose. I try to make sure Ralph and Luna have tags with a phone number or email address on it that won’t change rather than a physical address. You should also make sure your pet’s microchip has up to date information.

Easy access to leashes
Have your dog’s leash on hand in case of an emergency or just a quick bathroom break. The last thing you want is to have to hunt through a bunch of moving boxes to find your dog’s leash!

Comfortable harness
When there is a lot of commotion, I like to keep harnesses on Ralph and Luna. It makes attaching their leash quick and easy and also acts as an extra “handle” in the event they do get loose. We have been using our Sleepypod Clickit Sport because it’s multi-purpose, crash-tested, and comfortable for the dogs to wear it for a few hours.

Dogs and Moving - Tips to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During a Move

5 Practices to Keep Your Pets Comfortable

On top of having a safe place for your pets on move out and move in day, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to keep them calm and comfortable.

If you hired movers, make sure ALL of them know you have dogs. Post a sign on the door of their safe place, so no one accidentally opens the door.

Play soothing music or turn on the TV for background noise. This will help keep your dog calm and also drown out any moving related noises.

Double check the temperature. Make sure it’s not too hot and not too cold!

Check in every 30 minutes or set up a web cam for easy viewing. Depending on your pet you may need to have someone stay with them for all or part of the move. If so, try to take shifts with your significant other or a trusted friend.

Plan a potty break or walk every few hours. Be upfront with your movers about this too, especially if that means you’ll have to step away from the house for a bit. Lining these walks up with lunch or other breaks is even better!

Having your pets with you on moving day is a lot more work and stress, but it can be done. For me, the extra cost of a pet sitter or doggy day care is worth the ability to focus on my move and feel at ease knowing my dogs are safe. If that’s not an option for you, take these extra precautions to ensure you have a smooth move.

What is the furthest you have moved with pets? How did it go?

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Tips to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During a Move

Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about the Sleepypod Yummy Travel Bowls. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.

Jessica Shipman
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