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Moving to a new environment can be stressful for everyone—including pets. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to make the process easier for your furry friends. From gathering your pets’ health records to booking their transportation, learn how to create a smooth moving process for your pets from start to finish.
Gather and Update Pet Information
The process of moving with your pets actually begins well before you arrive in your new neighborhood. Get started with these two steps.
- Update pets’ identification information: Make sure your new address and phone number are updated on your pets’ microchips and ID tags.
- Schedule vet appointment: Do this in advance to ensure you meet your moving deadlines. Get copies of your pets’ health certificates, update vaccinations, and renew any necessary medications before moving.
Research Your New Location
It takes time to get to know a new city or neighborhood, but it’s important to prioritize details for your animal companions.
- Find a pet-friendly neighborhood: Before you arrive in your new area, find ways to connect with fellow pet owners. Scope out walking routes, parks, and spaces within your actual home that will fit your pet’s needs.
- Research your new location’s pet regulations: Every city or county has its own regulations for local pet owners. Look up compliance rules, such as registering with the local government, microchipping, and wearing ID tags.
- Look for a new veterinarian and transfer records: Research and choose a new vet before you move into your new house. Then have your previous vet transfer records so you’re in the system before your pets need medical treatment.
Compare Travel Options for Your Pet
Whether you’re undertaking a local or long-distance move, make it as stress-free as possible by choosing the best travel option for your pets’ breeds and personalities. Not only will you be prepared for the move, but you’ll also be able to factor pet relocation into the cost of movers. Options include the following:
- Car travel
- Air travel
- Pet shipping services
Traveling by Car
This is the most straightforward form of pet travel, but it still takes preparation, especially if you’re driving cross-country. Pets must be safely restrained just like human passengers, otherwise you risk severe injury if an accident occurs. Invest in pet car seats, crates, or seatbelts that configure into your back seat area.
Many people opt to hire a long-distance moving company, then fly to their new hometown. Each airline has its own pet transportation process with two common options available:
- Use a small carrier under your seat: This is only available for dogs and cats and requires a special carrier.
- Stow the pet in a ventilated cargo hold: This involves crating your pets in a special baggage area that is heated and ventilated. The International Air Transport Association recommends this option because it’s a dark and quiet environment that may be more soothing for your pets.
Check airline availability and container guidance before your move to maximize your pets’ comfort during the flight.
Pet Shipping Services
Professional pet shipping services transport your pets on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other details of your move. Research customer reviews to select a reputable company that will care for your pets as its own. Follow these best practices:
- Crate train your pets in advance.
- Book the service several months in advance.
- Ask your pet transportation service company about their contingency plans when unexpected travel issues arise, such as flight delays or prolonged layovers.
Tips for Moving Day With Pets
The moving process can be stressful for both humans and animals. Follow these tips to help your furry family members develop a positive association in their new space.
- Expose them to their travel conditions: Start getting your pets used to new carriers before moving day. Use treats to create a positive association with their travel gear.
- Take frequent breaks: Leave room in your travel schedule to stop at least once every four hours while on the road.
- Provide adequate water and food: Help your pets avoid nausea while traveling by skipping their breakfast in the morning. Instead, set out a water bowl during each stop and try to put off food until you reach your final destination (unless you’re traveling all day).
- Book pet-friendly hotels: If splitting up your move overnight, book a pet-friendly hotel in advance. Check for any weight or breed restrictions to confirm your specific pets are allowed to stay.
- Pack a pet overnight bag: Remember not to pack your pets’ daily items in moving boxes. During the move, you’ll need necessities such as a litter box for cats, a dog bed, favorite toys, supplements, and food.
- Do a walk-through of your new home together: Instead of immediately releasing your pets to explore your new home on their own, take them on a guided tour and give them treats throughout.
- Consider hiring a pet sitter while moving: Arriving at your new address doesn’t mean the move is over. You may have movers or other strangers in the house, which can be unnerving to pets. Consider hiring a pet sitter or sending your pets to daycare until the moving company is gone and you’re done unpacking.
How to Help Your Pet Adjust After Moving
Once you move in, resume your pets’ daily habits, whether it’s going for a morning walk or having a regular playtime together. Normalizing their day-to-day schedule helps them navigate the transition. Wait for any upgrades (such as a new dog bed) until they’ve acclimated for a few weeks in the new space.
The best way to create a stress-free move for your pets is to plan ahead. Research what kind of documents and health updates your pets need in your new area, then make travel arrangements that make the most sense for your logistical needs by following our tips.
Moving with Pets FAQ
What items should I pack before a move for my pet?
Pack basic essentials to keep with your pets on moving day. This includes medications, vaccination and other health records, ID tags, leashes, food, water, feeding supplies, bedding, cat litter, toys, and comfort items.
How do you move pets to a new country?
To move pets to a new country, first make sure your animal qualifies as a pet and is not considered livestock (such as pigs or chickens). Then check your destination country for specific health and post-entry quarantine requirements. For instance, pets must be quarantined for 10 to 30 days when entering Australia.
How do you move with pets if you only have one car?
Saving space is key if you only have one car to fit your pets. Make sure they’re fully secured with safety restraints and aren’t in danger of any luggage falling on them. Consider hiring a top moving company to take care of your boxes so you can focus on getting your family and pets to your new home.