Your pets are like family. Just as you get stressed with a move, your pets can also get stressed. In fact they can become more stressed with relocation. Dogs and cats tend to get used to the place they are living in. They rub their fur against all areas of the home; in this way it smells like them and they have marked their territory. You may see a change in behavior with your pet if you introduce a new dog or cat to your home. Both animals will vie for territory, so they will rub around until their territory is completely settled.
In a move your dog or cat is losing their familiar space. If you are moving to an apartment or home that has been lived in, and worse had animals in it, this can be extremely stressful. Your pet will smell this other animal, but they will not be able to find it. It can confuse them and make things more difficult. There are ways to lessen the stress your pet feels before, during and after relocation. Make no mistake, your pet is very aware that something is going on as soon as you start packing. It can cause feelings of worry. They may want more of your attention. This is something you need to take time to give, as it will help alleviate fears that they may be abandoned.
Before the move
Take the time to follow your normal routines with your pet. Keep their favorite toy out of the packed boxes until the last possible moment. If you have to, add a little more playtime for your pet. Reassurance is what your pet will be after. They do not want you to abandon them. This means they need to feel secure that the move is something they will be a part of.
During the Move
Moving is going to be the most stressful part. Your pet already knows something is up, so now you need to decide how you can make the car ride better for them. If it is a plane ride they will be sedated, so it is not as big an issue as long as you provide enough sedation. For a car ride, you need to stop more frequently than you would normally. If you have a dog, let it play around outside for several minutes. Cats tend to stop going to the bathroom on a trip. This also means they do not eat a lot or drink a lot until you stop at night. They still need breaks.
After the Move
Once you have arrived at the new home, you need to let your pet go and explore. Let them come to you rather than trying to play with them or make them feel better. They will want to look around and come to you for reassurance. These steps can make it easier to move and settle in with your pet.