Understanding the Effects of Moving on Pets

Physical and Psychological Impacts

Moving to a new home can be a stressful experience for pets. It can cause physical and psychological effects that vary depending on the animal and how the move is handled. Understanding these effects and how to mitigate them can help ensure a smoother transition for your furry friends.

Physical Effects

1. Stress-Induced Illnesses:

Pets, especially cats and dogs, are susceptible to stress-related illnesses such as digestive upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and even hair loss. The upheaval of a move can disrupt their routines and environment, triggering these physical symptoms. What is animal stress, and how is it measured by the National Library of Medicine?

2. Weight Changes:

Stress can also affect pets’ appetites, leading to either decreased or increased food intake. This fluctuation in eating habits can result in weight loss or gain, impacting their overall health.

3. Injury Risks:

During the move, pets may become anxious and attempt to escape or hide. This behavior increases the risk of accidents, such as getting caught in closing doors or slipping out of collars or carriers.

4. Environmental Sensitivities:

New homes may present hazards such as toxic plants or chemicals. Pets exploring unfamiliar surroundings may inadvertently encounter these dangers, leading to poisoning or other health issues.

Psychological Effects

1. Anxiety and Fear:

Pets thrive on familiarity and routine. Moving disrupts their sense of security and can induce anxiety and fear, manifested through hiding, excessive meowing or barking, or clinginess.

2. Loss of Territory:

Pets are territorial creatures. Moving to a new home means losing their established territory and adapting to a completely different environment, which can be unsettling.

3. Separation Anxiety:

Changes in routine during a move, such as increased time alone or separation from familiar people or pets, can trigger separation anxiety in some animals. This can lead to destructive behavior or withdrawal.

4. Behavioral Changes:

Some pets may exhibit behavioral changes such as aggression, excessive vocalization, or decreased interaction with family members. These changes are often their way of coping with stress and uncertainty.

Mitigating the Effects

1. Preparation and Familiarity:

Introduce pets to moving supplies like carriers gradually, associating them with positive experiences. Maintain their routines as much as possible during packing and moving days.

2. Gradual Adjustment:

Set up a designated safe space in the new home with familiar bedding, toys, and food. Allow pets to explore the new environment at their own pace, starting with one room and gradually expanding their access.

3. Reestablish Routines:

To provide stability, stick to regular feeding times, walks, and play sessions. Familiar scents and sounds can also help reassure pets in their new surroundings.

4. Vet Check-up:

Schedule a visit to the veterinarian before and after the move to ensure pets are healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Discuss any concerns about stress-related illnesses or behavior changes.

5. Attention and Affection:

Spend quality time with pets to reassure them of your presence and affection. Engage in familiar activities they enjoy to help them feel secure and bonded in the new home.


Moving to a new home can be a challenging experience for pets, impacting them physically and psychologically. By understanding these effects and taking proactive steps to mitigate them, such as gradually introducing the new environment, maintaining routines, and providing comfort and reassurance, pet owners can help their furry companions adapt more smoothly. Patience, consistency, and attention to their needs foster a positive transition and a sense of security in their new home.

Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels

Are you in the market for a mover in Alabama? Lambert Moving Systems is one of the top companies for moving in Alabama. We’ve been around for 90 years. Find your location below to get in touch now!

Huntsville & North Alabama

Birmingham & Tuscaloosa

Opelika & Montgomery

Pensacola & Mobile

West Georgia

Do you have any questions regarding your move, we’re here to help!

Moving Quote? Please provide the requested information below.