Article by Teresa Ferguson, La Quinta Inns & Suites

If you think moving is stressful for you, imagine how confusing it can be for your pets. The last time I moved, my dogs watched helplessly as everything around them was taken away-the sofas they loved to chase each other around, the rugs they used to nap upon, the dining table where they patiently waited for “accidentally” dropped treats. They whined as we took the boxes away, no doubt wondering just what the heck was happening to their world.

Then, after a long car ride, they were released from their carriers into a whole new place-with all their old stuff.

Fortunately, pets are very adaptable. A doggie treat and the thrill of a new house and neighborhood to explore were all my little canines needed to forget their troubles and settle in.

In the short term, it’s a bit more stressful to PCS when your pets are along for the ride. But in the long term, they make moving more enjoyable for everyone. Here are some things my dogs have taught me about how to make moving a little bit easier.

1) Think like a pet.

PCSing is a stressful time for any military family. Pets can sense when you’re feeling tense, and it can make them feel unsettled, too. When you find yourself feeling worried about the details of your move, try thinking like a pet. Go outside. Take a walk. Or curl up for a quick catnap. Everyone needs a little break now and then.

2) Stay pet-friendly.

Pets can get comfy almost anywhere- but you’ll feel more comfortable if you ensure your accommodations are pet-friendly. Websites like, and let you search for pet-friendly hotels by route or destination.

3) Keep your best friend close.

PCSing can be especially tough on kids, but moving with a pet can make things a bit easier. While children may be nervous about moving away from their friends, it can help them feel at home when their furry friends move with them. Encourage kids to help get pets ready for a move, giving them tasks like packing treats and caring for your animals while on the road. This teaches responsibility, strengthens their bond with pets, and helps alleviate the anxiety of relocation.

Pets remind us to take life less seriously and have more fun. Here’s hoping they make your next move a little less stressful.

Pet Travel Checklist

As you’re packing up for your move, don’t forget to keep these items available:

PET CARRIER: Even if your pet doesn’t always travel in a carrier, bring one. This keeps your pet safe and secure in the car, and provides a familiar “retreat” in hotel rooms.

PET FOOD AND TREATS: Be sure to pack food supplies, because your pet’s favorites may not be available in stores along the way.

FAVORITE PET TOYS: These can make travel more fun and relaxing for pet and human alike (especially the little ones!).

TRAVEL BLANKET: The smell and texture of a blanket that’s familiar to your pet can have a calming effect.

LEASHES: Remember to always leash your pet BEFORE getting out of your car.

LINES FOR OUTDOOR RUNS: Some hotels offer outdoor runs for stretching your pet’s legs (and your own). Be prepared to use them.

PORTABLE WATER AND FOOD BOWLS: These are easy to clean and can often be collapsed to take up less space.

PET MEDICATIONS: Make sure you have enough for both the trip and at least two weeks after you arrive at your new installation.

VACCINATION RECORDS: These are required if you unexpectedly need to board your pet in a kennel.

PHONE NUMBER OF HOME VET: This will expedite transfer of any needed medical records or prescriptions.

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