Moving is a big adjustment for all family members – especially if you’re moving with pets. Whether it’s fur, feathers, fins, or scales, your pet’s needs should be a top priority throughout the moving process, with special care being taken to minimize moving stress during the move. So where would you start? We’ve put together this pet moving guide to use when planning your upcoming move.
Getting ready to move with pets
Moving with pets takes a lot of planning. This includes obvious things like packing all your pet’s belongings in addition to your own, but also getting your pets ready for the move and transferring their records to a new veterinarian if necessary. The sooner you start preparing, the better it will be for you and your pet. Start early and allow enough time to work out all the details.
If you’re selling your home before moving, you’ll need to take a few extra steps when it comes to your pets. Selling a house when you have pets is a lot of work. In particular, a game plan needs to be developed to keep them relaxed and out of the house during open houses and screenings.
Pack your pet’s belongings
You’ll need at least two boxes to store your pet items; a box for essentials that you can use throughout the move, and one or more boxes for everything else. The box should contain items your pet may need during the day or in an emergency, including:
- Vaccination records
- Food and water bowls
- Eat for a few days
- Cat litter and spoon
- Seat belts and belts
- Garbage bag
As a good rule of thumb, take the opportunity to clear your pet’s belongings before packing. Beds, toys, dishes, and clothes can all get nasty, and you probably don’t want to unwrap the dirty stuff in your clean new home.
Helping your pet get used to the cage
The safest way to transport most pets is in a crate or carrier. Hopefully, you already have the right crate or carrier for your move, but if not, buy it early so you have enough time to get your pet acclimated. When you fly to your new home, double-check that each container you buy meets the airline’s requirements.
Some pets are more receptive to crates and carriers than others. If your pet hates being locked up, make their cage a happy place by growing toys and treats. Turn it on for a few weeks before you move so they can explore at their own pace.
Transfer to a new veterinarian
One of the most important things you can do when moving pets is to make sure your furry companion has a veterinarian. Depending on how far you go, it may be necessary to switch to a new veterinary clinic. You will need to do this ahead of time.
Start the process by talking to your current veterinarian and letting them know you are moving. They may recommend a veterinarian at your new location, as well as tips to reduce pet stress during the move and guidance on transferring records. Once you know which office you’re being directed to, call and make sure they’re accepting new clients, then ask what they’re asking you to do. You may need to schedule an initial visit.
Bring your pet into your new home
Moving day itself is the most difficult and often the most stressful of pet management. Pets can absorb human energy, so try to stay calm. Helping your pet do the same will go a long way.
How you travel with your pet largely depends on how far you have to travel. The pet’s size, age, temperament, and health should also be considered. Sometimes the fastest and most convenient option is not the best option. All in all, if that’s what your pet needs, it might be worth it to take a moment to get to your new home.
Driving with pets
Driving with a dog, cat, or another pet is often preferred for several reasons. First, driving keeps your pet in a more controlled and familiar environment. It also means you can take a break when you need it.
If you’re driving, consider where your pet’s crate or carrier is going before packing your car. Other restraint options include seat belts, zipline harnesses, and rear-seat hammocks, but stronger litter boxes are often an option.
Flying with pets
Flying to your destination makes you move faster, but it also brings its stressors. Whether your pet is flying in the cabin or as cargo, air travel with pets requires a great deal of care and planning – both in terms of preparing your pet for flight and making sure you are up-to-date on airline policies.
If you’re flying with a pet, try booking a direct or non-stop flight. If possible, book a cabin for your pet. Skip sedatives that can be dangerous for your pet in the air. Consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet becoming anxious while traveling.
Moving to a new country with a pet? They may need to quarantine on arrival. Check (and review) the policies of the country you’re moving to before moving day. You don’t want any surprises.
Animal transport service
Some pet parents hire pet transportation companies to handle the ins and outs of taking their canine companions to new destinations. These companies provide a wide range of useful services, including travel booking and/or accommodation, travel document assistance, and coordination of customs and quarantine protocols. They will also supervise your pet during transport, making sure to provide them with food, water, toilet time and attention, and any necessary medication.
Pet shipping for a small cat or dog for domestic travel typically starts around $1,000, with higher prices for door-to-door service and international travel. When you go this route, you only work with an animal shipping company that is USDA certified and backed by a real veterinarian. Also, check online reviews and plan to cover all the bases, and familiarize yourself with the organizations responsible for your pet’s safe journey.
Help pets settle in
You and your pet have arrived in your new home! Although the transition is not completely over, a lot of the hard things have passed. Many pets take time to adjust to a new environment and may experience stress or anxiety while adjusting. This is normal and nothing to worry about as long as your pet is not showing any serious behavioral changes, such as loss of appetite, aggression, or poor toileting habits.
Let’s say it’s a dog that’s adjusting to a new home. If so, keep up their routine and give them plenty of opportunities to burn off excess energy (exploring a new neighborhood is as good an excuse as a few long walks a day). When you arrive at your new home, immediately set up a place for your puppy with his bed, toys, and a bowl of fresh water in his only corner—although you may rearrange a few things at some point. This can help if you’re initially reluctant to leave her home alone because having you around can help relieve stress in the new environment.
As for our territorial feline friends, adjusting to a new home can cause stress, anxiety, or anxiety, especially if your new home has previously housed felines. A good strategy is to take it easy and put your cat in a room with a litter box, bed, water, and toys, let her feel comfortable there for a day or two, then open the door and let her check the rest of the house. Choose a room with a window where they can see out and visit them regularly to give them love and comfort. If the cat used to live in the home, before letting the cat wander around, give it a thorough deep cleaning to eliminate as much odor as possible.
Moving with Rare Pets
We’ve covered moving with dogs and cats, but if you’re moving with a different type of pet or pet, your action plan may be slightly different. Always do plenty of research to get your pet exercised — including talking to your veterinarian — and follow these quick tips to take the guesswork out of the process.
Move with the horse
When moving with a horse, there are a few things to consider. A visit to an equine veterinarian is a must before travel, as is a thorough travel planning and insurance.
- Before transporting your horse there, prepare your new home’s paddock and pasture, including all enclosures.
- You may need to arrange for a Coggins test, which is required before your horse can be transported with other horses.
- Horses can get very nervous while moving. Start researching stress reduction techniques months in advance to help your horse cope.
Moving a horse can be expensive, so leave room in your moving budget for transportation, insurance, and other incidentals. A one-way domestic flight for a horse can range from $2,000 to $10,000, while a trailer typically costs between $1.10 and $2.55 per mile.
Moving with chickens
As with all animals, you need to do some planning before shipping your chickens to their new home. This includes checking local laws carefully, as many residential areas have restrictions or restrictions on the ownership of backyard chickens.
- Move the flock at night when they are more relaxed and dormant.
- If your chickens must share crates, think carefully about who shares the space with whom – you don’t want to upset anyone on the street. Aggressive chickens should always be fenced alone.
- Minimize parking as much as possible. The sooner you reach your goals, the better for your herd.
If your coop isn’t ready in your new home, set up a safe temporary space in your garage to let your flock sit for a day or two until the coop is ready to move in.
Moving with birds
Birds are sensitive to changes in their environment, so moving with pet birds requires some foresight. Before moving, please have a health check and if you are moving to a new federal state, check if you need to show a health certificate.
- Major changes such as moving house can cause intestinal problems in birds. Stock up on their usual groceries for at least a month before moving so you can be sure you’ll have them available when they adjust.
- Cars are often the preferred mode of transportation for birds. Secure her stretcher to the back and bring refreshing treats like cucumbers and citrus to keep her hydrated and satisfied on the road.
- If you have no choice but to fly, plan how to get your bird through security. You may need to remove them from the carrier, so keep them in the bird’s belt in case they get startled.
Not all airlines accept birds. In cases where you have a long way to go but need to drive, research bird-friendly hotels ahead of time—or, if possible, plan to drive through without stopping.
Moving with a pet list
It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect of moving with a pet. Take a deep breath and trust that with enough planning, you can transition smoothly with minimal stress. Your pet may be unhappy during the move, but once you settle in, they’ll be back to normal.
Ready to start planning a move with your pet? We can help. Use our free online pet moving checklist to learn step-by-step what you need to do before, during, and after your move. The more details you can work out in advance, the easier your actions will be.
For more information, check out our full range of pet moving articles and get actionable advice to use when moving with all types of animals.