How to Move Your Pets

When moving to a new location, it’s important to be sure that all the members of your family are able to transition as smoothly as possible. Dogs, cats and other pets are sensitive to moves, but if you carefully plan the relocation process with your pet in mind, you’ll be able to make the move as easy as possible on your friend. Following the checklist below will help you in the process of helping your pet stay comfortable during your move.

state ruleS

Every state has different regulations and rules for pet owners. You can find out everything you need to know at either the Department of Agriculture or the state’s Veterinary Office.

Local Ordinances

Before finalizing your move, it’s a good idea to check with your City Clerk’s office to find out about any licensing laws, leash rules, zoning laws that could prohibit certain animals in residential areas or limits on the number of pets allowed per household.

Health Certificates

Many states now require that you possess a health certificate for your dogs, cats and other pets. You can check out the requirements at your state’s Veterinary Office.

Condos and Apartments

There are many communities that don’t allow residents to own dogs and cats. Pets such as ferrets, iguanas, snakes and tarantulas would definitely be out of the question here, so make sure that you know your community’s policies on pets before the move.

Make Sure Your Pet’s Rabies tag Is Up to Date

Most states require that your dog, cat or exotic pet have a rabies tag. Make sure to check this out before the move, or you could be in for a nasty surprise after the move.


If you own an exotic pet, chances are that you’ll need to have a permit before the pet can legally enter your new state. Ask your vet to help you apply for a permit if it turns out to be necessary.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During The Move

The devices listed below will help you keep your furry (or scaly) friend safe during the move. Included are items that’ll help your pets get help should they get hurt, help them get found if they get lost and tools to keep with you during transit.

ID Tags

If it’s possible for your pet to wear a collar, it’s a good idea to get it one with an ID tag before the move. For pets where a collar is impractical, such as birds, you should attach the ID to a leg band. Information to be included on the ID should include your name, the pet’s name, your phone number and your new address.


Keep a current photo of your pet on your phone or printed out so that you’ll have the ability to show your new neighbors how your pet looks in the event that it should get lost.


If your pet has a microchip, its information is automatically entered into a pet recovery system so that you’ll be contacted once your lost pet becomes found. If you’re unsure whether your pet is chipped or not, check with your vet. If you obtained your pet from a pet store, breeder or shelter, it most likely already has a chip.


Keep a leash and/or chain for your dog so that it’ll stay in your new yard if you need to wait for a fence to be built. It’s important to keep a spare leash in case your pet breaks the first one.


Ensure that you keep a collar on your pet during travel on a plane or in the car. If your pet tends to get fidgety, you might want to consider purchasing a harness that your animal won’t be able to get out of.

Pet Carriers

If you’re going to be getting to your new home by plane, and plan to take your pet on board with you, you’ll be required to have it in a pet carrier. If you’re travelling by car, it’s quite likely that your pet will feel less stressed if it’s traveling in a carrier rather than out in the open.

Health Records

Be sure to ask your vet to give you your pet’s health records before the move. That way, you’ll be able to ensure that your new vet can give your pet the best care possible.


It’s important to bring sufficient water with you from your home for your pet. It’ll help to keep him or her calm and to stay healthy during the move.

Transporting Your Pet

A question you’ll need to ask yourself before relocating is whether you want to move your pet yourself or hire a pet moving service. The majority of moving companies are, by law, not permitted to move your pet. Trains and buses can’t transport pets unless they are registered medical aid animals. If you’re unable to move your pet yourself, you should consider utilizing the services of a professional pet transport service.

Moving Your Pet By Air

Moving your pet by air isnt as hard as many people make it sound. All you’ll need to do is ask for pet transportation options when you book your flight. When you plan to take a pet by airplane, it’s a great idea to book your flight as soon as you possibly can, as the quantity of pets permitted per flight is a limited number. While the majority of airlines will permit pets such as fish, birds, cats or dogs to travel by air, some have certain restrictions. Whether your pet is allowed to travel with you will depend on the size of your pet, the size of the cabin, the species of the animal and how many pets are on the airplane. If you’re traveling with an exotic animal or a venomous snake, you’ll probably want to verify with the airline that your friend isn’t on the do not fly list before booking the flight.

You’ll need to make sure that you have an approved pet carrier in order to bring your pet on the plane with you. For turtles, fish and other creatures that can’t travel in a carrier, you’ll need to use approved Styrofoam boxes or plastic buckets. Labeling the pet carrier is essential too. Be sure to write down the pet’s name, THIS SIDE UP, and FRAGILE: LIVE ANIMAL in large letters on the outside of the carrier.

Typically, you’ll need to leave extra early for the airport, as freight loading tends to happen two or more hours before the plane actually takes off. An added bonus to leaving early is that you’ll have sufficient time to make sure that all your containers are labeled correctly, pull together all of your paperwork and spend some final moments with your small friend before the flight.

Keeping Your Pet Comfortable During The Flight

If possible, book a direct flight to your destination. Multiple plane changes and flights mean that your will be handled more, adding to its stress load.

Feed your animal a small meal approximately five hours before the flight. If you’re moving a fish, you should feed them the day before so that the water stays as fresh as possible.

Try to avoid giving your pet water closer than two hours before take off, unless it’s a hot day. Too much water could make your pet sick.

If possible, let your pet get some exercise at the airport before loading it into its carrier.

After the flight, you should pick up your pet as soon as you can. If you wait longer than 24 hours, your pet might end up getting shipped back to the airport of origin. Or it could be placed in a kennel at your expense.

Transporting Your Pet By Car

Car travel is, by far, the most popular way to transport pets. Not only does it add a feeling of security for both you and your pet, but it’s also often much less expensive than travelling by air. Moving your pet by car can be a smooth and fun process if you follow the tips listed below.

Take your pet on brief drives before the trip. This will enable your friend to get used to car motion and help to lessen the chances of it being car sick. If car sickness is something that your pet has suffered from in the past, consider asking your vet for medication that will help to lessen the symptoms.

Don’t give your pet water of food for a couple hours before departure to lessen the chances of your dog or cat vomiting all over your car. Bring an individual dish, water, leash, toy and blanket for each pet. Don’t forget the grooming brush and extra towels – you never know when you’ll need them. If you plan to stay in a hotel or motel overnight, it’s a good idea to bring a room deodorizer with you.

When On The Road

Make stops as often as you can so that your pet can get exercise. Water your pet at each stop. Feeding your pet once a day will help make sure that its stomach doesn’t get upset. Keeping your pet on a leash while exercising will ensure that both you and your friend stay safe. Don’t let your pet stick its head out the window while driving. Doing so could allow insects and dirt into its eyes, which could result in infection or irritation at the least. Keeping the windows locked will help to keep your cat or dog from lowering the window and jumping out while you are driving down the highway.

If your pet distracts you or seems nervous during the drive, keep it in its carrier. If your car’s air conditioning doesn’t work, keep the windows cracked at about an inch and a half. Small animals such as hamsters, fish and gerbils are more sensitive to heat than large animals, so make sure that you make sure that they are comfortable frequently and adjust the air or windows accordingly.

Do your best to never leave your animal alone in the car. Just like with children, the temperature in the car can skyrocket when the vehicle is sitting still in a parking lot. If you must leave the pet in the car, make sure the doors are locked and check on it at intervals no greater than ten minutes.

Bring plenty of water from your home for your pet so that it doesn’t end up sick from unfamiliar water. While the car is in motion, take any dishes of food or water from the cages of your pets so that you can avoid unpleasant spills. Keeping containers for fish and birds covered is important, as these animals are easily made motion sick.

If you plan to make an overnight stop, it’s a good idea to make sure to book pet friendly lodging in advance. In some parts of the country, hotels and motels that allow pets can be hard to find. Under no circumstances should you leave your pet alone in the car overnight. It could die.

If you’re traveling with a snake, it’ll need to be re hydrated by soaking in the bathtub for about an hour. The soak will also help to calm the animal.

If for some reason you’re forced to leave your pet in a hotel room by itself, put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and notify the front desk.

Settling In

During the last days of packing and getting ready to move, see if you can keep your animal at a friend’s house or in a kennel. That way, your pet doesn’t end up getting frightened and run away, or hide in packing box, as cats often do.

Just like the other members of your family, your pets will need some time to adjust to its new surroundings. Giving it favorite toys, familiar bedding or food bowls will help it to feel at home. If your animal is a house pet, leave its carrier door open so that it can come out once it feel comfortable. For help finding a local vet, contact the American Animal Hospital Association or your local Humane Society.

Cats have a very strong sense of smell and are extremely attached to their surroundings. When moving a cat, it’s best to put its food bowl, litter box, scratching post and accessories in two rooms that are close to each other to allow it to adjust. Leaving something in the room that smells of you, such as a jacket or sweatshirt, will help your cat to stay calm in moments of stress.

If you’re planning to allow your cat or dog to go outdoors, keep it inside for approximately two weeks so that it has a chance to get used to its indoor environment first. After this time, take your pet outside with you and allow him or her to do some exploring. After around ten minutes or so, bring your pet back inside. Gradually increase the amount of time you let your pet outside each day until you feel it’s comfortable on its own. Don’t forget to check the yard for any poisonous plants that your hungry pet could accidentally ingest.

If you usually play with, feed or exercise your animal at certain times every day, try to maintain this schedule. Before you know it, both you and your pet will have adapted to your new environment. For more information, contact us at any time or to request an estimate for your move, fill out our form below.



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