Moving With Pets

Moving with pets can be a considerable undertaking. 

Whether you are moving across state lines, to a nearby neighborhood, or simply down the street, coordinating your move with the needs of your pets is essential.

This guide takes you through the process of moving with pets, from initial preparations to settling your pet into their new home. With this guide, you can learn how to find pet-friendly accommodations and housing, what transportation methods are available for pets, and more. 

Keep reading to find out if professional pet moving services are right for you.

Pre-Move Preparations for Moving With Pets

Moving with pets can be a complex process, requiring careful planning to ensure the safety and comfort of your animals. Here are three essential pre-move preparations to help make the transition smoother:

  • Visit Your Vet: A visit to the vet is a crucial step in preparing your pet for a move. Schedule an appointment a few weeks before your move date to ensure your pet is in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations. This visit is an excellent opportunity to discuss any concerns you might have about the move, such as how to handle anxiety or motion sickness in pets. Your vet can provide helpful advice and, if necessary, prescribe medication to ease travel stress. Additionally, ask for copies of your pet’s medical records, which you will need if you are moving to a new city or state, and ensure your pet’s microchip information is current.
  • Gather Travel Documents For Pets: Having all the necessary travel documents for your pet is essential, especially if you are moving across state lines or internationally. Different states and countries have varying regulations regarding pet travel, so research the requirements well in advance. Common documents include vaccination certificates, health certificates issued by your vet, and proof of rabies vaccination. For international moves, you might need to comply with quarantine requirements, import permits, and additional vaccinations. Ensuring all documentation is complete and accurate can prevent delays and complications during the move.
  • Pack a Pet Travel Kit: Packing a comprehensive pet travel kit can make the journey more comfortable for your pet and less stressful for you. Essential items to include are enough food and water for the duration of the trip, bowls, a leash, waste bags, a favorite toy or blanket, and any medications your pet may need. Don’t forget to pack a pet first-aid kit with basic supplies like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers. Additionally, include copies of your pet’s travel documents and a recent photo in case your pet gets lost. If your journey involves an overnight stay, research pet-friendly accommodations in advance to ensure a smooth stopover.

How To Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations & Housing

Finding pet-friendly accommodations and housing when moving requires thorough research and planning. Here are five tips for finding pet-friendly lodging:

  • Research Early and Use Pet-Specific Filters: Begin your search well in advance of your move date. Use online real estate platforms that offer pet-specific filters to narrow down your options. Websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Apartments.com often have filters that allow you to specify that you need pet-friendly housing. For moving accommodations, most hotels and short-term rentals (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO) offer pet-friendly filters on their websites or platforms. This initial filtering can save you considerable time by focusing on properties that welcome pets.
  • Check Pet Policies and Restrictions: Once you have a list of potential accommodations, review the pet policies carefully. Some places may have restrictions on the type, size, or number of pets allowed. Look for information on pet fees, deposits, and any monthly pet rent. It’s also important to understand any breed restrictions that might be in place, especially if you have a dog that falls under commonly restricted breeds. 
  • Reach Out to Property Managers and Landlords: Directly contacting property managers or landlords can provide more detailed information about their pet policies. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate that you are a responsible pet owner. Providing references from previous landlords, proof of your pet’s vaccinations, and even a pet resume highlighting your pet’s training and behavior can positively influence their decision.
  • Explore Local Pet Resources: Consider the availability of local pet resources when evaluating potential housing. Look for nearby parks, pet-friendly businesses, and veterinary clinics. Such amenities can enhance your pet’s quality of life and ease their transition to a new environment.
  • Utilize Pet-Friendly Networks: Leverage pet-friendly rental networks like social media groups, online forums, and in-person communities to inquire about specific neighborhoods. Other members of these types of networks can provide insights about the best places to live with pets.

Tips for Traveling with Pets

Taking the steps to create an effective travel plan with pets can be the key to a frictionless and stress-free move. Here are some tailored tips for moving with different types of pets:

Moving with a Dog

Dogs are generally more adaptable to travel but still require specific preparations:

  • Take your dog for a long walk before you start the trip to help them expend excess energy
  • Use a sturdy, comfortable crate or a pet seat belt harness to secure your dog in the vehicle
  • Bring along familiar items like their favorite blanket, toys, and treats to help them feel secure
  • Plan to stop every 2-3 hours to let your dog stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car, as hot temperatures can become dangerous 
  • If traveling by air, ensure your dog meets all airline requirements and book a direct flight if possible to reduce stress.

Moving with a Cat

Cats typically find travel more stressful than dogs, so additional care is generally needed: 

  • Acclimate your cat to their carrier well in advance of the move by leaving it open in their environment and placing treats and toys inside
  • On the day of travel, line the carrier with a soft blanket and items that comfort your cat
  • Use a well-ventilated, secure carrier and cover it with a breathable cloth to reduce visual stressors
  • Avoid feeding your cat right before the trip to prevent motion sickness
  • Keep your cat inside the carrier during the journey and provide water during breaks
  • For long-distance moves, consult your vet about possible sedatives to keep your cat calm.

Moving with Multiple Pets

When moving with multiple pets, organization is key: 

  • Prepare separate carriers or crates for each pet to prevent stress and potential conflicts
  • Label each carrier with your pet’s name and your contact information
  • Plan your vehicle’s layout to ensure each pet has enough space and ventilation
  • Pack travel kits for each pet, including food, water, bowls, leashes, litter for cats, and medications 
  • Create a checklist to ensure you have all the necessary items and documents 
  • If possible, enlist the help of friends or family to assist with managing the pets during the move 
  • Consider using calming aids to reduce anxiety during the journey — discuss what types of calming aids are best and safest for your pets with your vet                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Choosing a Pet Transportation Method

Choosing the right pet transportation method is crucial for providing your pet with the utmost safety and comfort during a move. Here are key considerations to help you make the best decision:

  • By Car: Traveling by car is often the most convenient and flexible method, especially for shorter distances. It allows you to manage your pet’s environment directly, providing frequent breaks for exercise, bathroom needs, and hydration. Use a secure pet carrier or a seatbelt harness to keep your pet safe during the trip. However, car travel may not be an option if you are moving far distances and need to fly to your end destination. 
  • By Plane: Flying may be necessary for long-distance moves or international relocations. If you choose this method, research airlines to find pet-friendly options and understand their specific policies. Smaller pets may be allowed in the cabin in an approved carrier, while larger pets might need to travel in the cargo hold. Book direct flights whenever possible to minimize stress and handling. Ensure your pet’s carrier meets the airline’s specifications and includes a soft lining, ventilation, and secure closures. Prior to the flight, consult your veterinarian about any health concerns and consider a mild sedative if your pet is particularly anxious.
  • By Professional Pet Transport Service: Hiring a professional pet transport service can be a great option, especially for complex moves. These services specialize in relocating pets and offer a range of options, from ground transport to flight arrangements. For many pet owners, ground transport services can provide a safer alternative to taking pets on a plane. Plus, professional pet transport services handle all logistics, including health documentation, and provide tailored care throughout the journey. When choosing a service, verify their credentials, read reviews, and ensure they are USDA-certified if required.
  • By Train or Bus: Some train and bus companies allow pets, but policies vary widely. This method can be less stressful than flying, more structured than car travel, and can give you more freedom to manage your pet during the trip. Check with the specific company about their pet policies, including size restrictions and carrier requirements. Ensure your pet is comfortable and secure in their carrier, and bring necessary supplies like food, water, and waste disposal bags.

Are Pet Moving Services Right for You?

Pet moving services are specialized companies that handle the logistics of relocating pets, ensuring their safety, comfort, and well-being throughout the journey. 

These services are particularly beneficial for long-distance or international moves, where complex regulations and longer travel times can make the process challenging.

In general, the key services provided by a professional pet moving service include: 

  • Transportation Logistics: Pet moving services arrange ground or air transport tailored to your pet’s needs, including booking flights, ground transportation, and ensuring proper handling throughout the journey. If your pet has any special needs or dietary requirements, the pet moving service oversees that all of these needs are met while in their care. 
  • Documentation and Compliance: Pet moving services often manage all necessary paperwork, including health certificates, vaccination records, and import permits, ensuring compliance with local and international regulations. This can greatly simplify your move by allowing you to focus on transporting your family and belongings without worrying about the well-being of your pets.
  • Comfort and Care: Professional pet movers provide high standards of care, including comfortable carriers, regular check-ins, and personalized attention. Some services offer climate-controlled transport and frequent stops for exercise and hydration.

Pet Proofing Your New Home

Pet-proofing a new home is essential when acclimating your pets to their new environment. Here are some key areas to focus on pet-proofing for both houses and apartments:

Living Areas

  • Secure Cords and Cables: Use cord protectors to prevent chewing
  • Remove Toxic Plants: Ensure all plants are pet-safe
  • Cover Trash Bins: Use pet-proof lids to avoid access

Kitchen and Bathrooms

  • Store Chemicals Safely: Keep cleaning supplies and medications in secure cabinets
  • Close Toilet Lids: Prevent pets from drinking toilet water
  • Use Child Locks: Install on lower cabinets to deter curious pets

Bedrooms

  • Hide Small Items: Store jewelry and small objects out of reach
  • Keep Laundry Off the Floor: Avoid pets ingesting fabric or strings

Outdoors Spaces

  • Check Fencing: Ensure there are no gaps or weak spots
  • Remove Hazards: Eliminate poisonous plants and secure tools

Balconies 

  • Install Netting or Screens: Prevent pets from squeezing through railings
  • Supervise Outdoor Time: Always monitor pets on balconies

Settling Your Pets in a New Home

Settling pets into a new home requires patience and a thoughtful approach to ease their transition. Here are some tips for both dogs and cats:

How To Settle a Dog into a New Home

  • Create a Safe Space: Set up a designated area with your dog’s bed, toys, and familiar items to help them feel secure.
  • Maintain Your Normal Routine: Stick to regular feeding, walking, and playtime schedules to provide stability.
  • Explore Gradually: Allow your dog to explore the new home at their own pace, starting with one room and gradually expanding their access.
  • Offer Reassurance: Spend quality time with your dog, offering plenty of affection and positive reinforcement.
  • Monitor Behavior: Watch for signs of stress, such as excessive barking or chewing, and address these behaviors with patience and training.

How To Settle a Cat into a New Home

  • Set Up a Sanctuary Room: Initially confine your cat to one quiet room with their litter box, food, water, and bedding. This helps them feel secure.
  • Introduce the New Environment Slowly: Gradually allow your cat to explore the rest of the house once they seem comfortable in their sanctuary room.
  • Maintain Familiarity: Use familiar items, like their favorite blanket or toys, to provide comfort.
  • Provide Hiding Spots: Ensure there are safe places where your cat can hide when overwhelmed.
  • Minimize Stressors: Keep the environment calm and avoid loud noises or sudden changes that could stress your cat.

Final Thoughts

Moving with pets is no small undertaking — but with the right planning and preparation, you can make your move a breeze for you and your animals.

By choosing a professional pet moving service, you can reduce the stress of your move and ensure the safety and comfort of your pets throughout the moving process.

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