Top 7 Tips You Should Know When Moving With Pets

Quick summary

There’s a lot to keep track of when planning a move, and pets come with their own unique set of needs. Here’s our top tips for moving with pets!

You’ve found a new home, boxed up your possessions, and made travel arrangements, but have you prepared your pets for your big move? Sometimes pets can require more preparation than some family members and it’s hard enough to stay organized when moving without pets, so it’s all the more important to sort out your pet moving plans as far ahead of time as possible!

Whether it’s just a local move, or a move across the country, there’s a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re moving pets. Here’s our top tips.

Make Sure Your Pet is Travel Ready

Pets that aren’t familiar with traveling in a car, particularly cats, need to get comfortable with vehicles and crates ahead of time. In the weeks leading up to the move, make sure to take your dog in the car with you as much as possible so they can get used to driving outside of quick trips to the vet.

For cats, leave their crate out with some of their toys or blankets inside to allow them time to get used to sitting in it so their first experience isn’t being locked inside for a road trip.

Make sure to pack a bag for your pet, too! You’ll be putting all your stuff and your pet’s stuff into boxes to move, so make sure they have several days of essentials packed up so you don’t have to rush to dig their essentials out of a box before you have a chance to settle into your new home.

Snacks, essential toys, and medicine, are all great things to include in their bag. Dogs and cats could even do with a small bed or blanket if you have space.

Stay in Pet Friendly Hotels

You have enough on your plate making plans for yourself, your family, and all your possessions, but if you’re moving far enough to necessitate an overnight stay, be sure to book a pet friendly hotel. Moving with pets isn’t like moving with plants, as not all hotels are as accommodating for animals. Pet-friendly-hotels.net has a great resource for locating fido friendly lodging.

Special Requirements For Reptiles, Fish, Birds, and Other Small Pets

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Reptiles and amphibians can be severely shocked by drastic changes in their environment. While significant changes are unavoidable when you’re moving, you can minimize the impact on lizzy. First, make as many of the initial changes as gradual as possible. If they’re riding in a different carrier than normal, give them a chance to gain a familiarity with it prior to the trip so you’re not stacking multiple stressful transitions together too quickly. During travel, try to keep their habitat temperature consistent, and return them to a stable environment as soon as possible after you get to your destination.

Guinea Pigs and other rodents can be easily traumatized and have fragile hearts, so make sure they’re transported in a comfortable carrier and don’t get jolted or bumped too much.

Fish are obviously not designed to travel outside of water, and the associated stress can be so severe it causes a long term impact, and maybe even death. Before you move with fish you should evaluate whether or not it’s better to simply find a new home for your aquatic friends. If you do move with them, they can survive short trips in bags filled with old water from their tank. Just be sure to have a way to get them back into their normal habitat as fast as possible upon arrival to your new home.

Keep your birds in a cage throughout the entire moving process. They may be well behaved on most other days, but in the chaos of moving, birds have been known to fly the coop. This is especially problematic if you’re far from home, as they’ll be less likely to find their way back in unfamiliar territory.

Be Aware of Legal Concerns

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Make sure your legal bases are covered! It’s not a common occurrence, but state troopers may ask for a current health certificate for your pet if you get pulled over, so make sure you have one on hand before moving. In fact, it’s wise to get all your records from your veterinarian before moving long distances so your pet’s new provider has their information.

You’ll also want to be aware of any other local or state laws regarding pet ownership for your new home. Different states have different requirements for chips, tags, vaccines, and other details, especially if you have an exotic pet, which may have its own unique set of permits and other requirements. The US Department of Agriculture has an excellent resource for identifying all state laws you need to know when moving with pets.

Finally, while it’s not a governing authority, your landlord or homeowners association will have their own special requirements for pets in their neighborhood or property, so be sure to have clear expectations. Ideally, you would have clarified this portion long before moving day.

Make Arrangements For Pets During Packing/Loading

Packing and loading can be stressful for an animal, especially if you’re getting help from a moving company full of unfamiliar faces. During loading and unloading there will be a lot of back and forth, and having pets underfoot can be a problem. If possible, have someone watch the pet during these activities. Otherwise, just make sure they’re secured in their own area before things get too hectic.

Adjusting to new Home


Before letting your pets loose in your new home, make sure you do a quick scan to make sure thee previous owners didn’t leave any hazards behind. Mouse traps, dangerous chemicals, or other surprises should be caught before they’re a problem.

Perform a similar inspection outside. If you have a fenced yard, make sure the fence doesn’t have any holes, and check for potentially poisonous plants and other outdoor dangers.

Meet your neighbors and their pets so your dog can socialize quickly and become more comfortable in the new neighborhood, and be sure to keep them on a leash when outside your fence. If they aren’t familiar with the area yet, you don’t want them running off.

Look Into Pet Relocation Services

If the prospect of moving your pet on top of your other moving responsibilities seems like too much, and you’re willing to incur the extra expense, look into a pet relocation service. Pet relocation services can take care of the ins and outs of the necessary documents and complying with travel requirements. Some will even offer door-to-door solutions.  It’s important to select a reliable provider, so be sure to check the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association’s list of approved vendors.

If you found this information useful, be sure to check out our moving checklist for any non-pet related moving needs. And, of course, if you still need assistance packing and moving the rest of your possessions, we’ve got you covered. Simply request a quote and we’ll be in touch!

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