How to Make Moving with Pets Stress-Free

May 10, 2016 / Posted in How-to
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

Relocating to another home can be an exciting and stressful experience at the same time. And if you are moving with pets, there will be another layer of tasks you’ll have to keep in mind to make the move easier and stress-free for your animals. In the entire chaos of relocation, packing, and making sure that all of your belongings are safely shipped, you’ll have to consider how the move will affect your animal friends, as well. Your main goal should be to make the relocation as smooth and stress-free as possible if you’re concerned about the effects it will have on your furry friends. So here’s a 101 course on how to relocate with your animal companion.


dog in the park overlay
Relocating with pets can be an easy task

Prepare for the Move

The first step of any relocation is to get organized and prepare everything in advance. This could include making an inventory list before you start to pack. The same applies if you are moving with pets. Get moving boxes and all the other supplies you’ll need, from pet carriers and crates for your dogs and cats to an essentials box. You will want to designate a box for the “must-have” items for your animal friends, like food, favorite toys and blankets, plenty of water, and kitty litter if you’re relocating with a cat. Getting all of their tags and microchips updated should be handled in a timely manner, as well.


Select the Most Suitable Moving Methods and Services

If you have hired professionals for their moving and packing services, you must have also wondered what you could do about your animal companions. Most relocation companies aren’t allowed to move animals, due to laws and permits, which is why you should consider hiring a specialized transportation service. This is especially important if your animal needs any special treatment and handling.

If you’re not hiring professionals, you will have the option of driving to your new address and taking the animal with you. However, if you’re using auto transport services, make sure you pick an airline with lax pet rules. Depending on the species your pet belongs to and the location of your future home, you may be required to get a certain permit for your companion, especially if you’re dealing with an interstate move.

When deciding on this, always bear in mind that cats and dogs are not used to travel and that you should start preparing them for it from day one.

Contact People Who Moved Out of State

In the ‘moving with pets tips’ category, speaking to folks who’ve already done it should be pretty high on your relocating-to-another-state checklist. So search for a number and get in touch with that friend who moved with his cat some time ago. He can prove a great help in the process, from start to finish. He (or she) did it all, from the day of decision to move to the arrival on the destination.

Online chat groups can also be a source of a number of helpful tips. How to search for the best moving company, how to be sure your pet is ready to travel, and how to keep him away from stress on the day movers arrive. Every little piece of information and advice can be of great help to you in the process, and by the same token to your cat or dog.

Relocating with Dogs

Dogs can be easy to travel with if they get used to it in advance. So if you’re going to use a pet crate or a carrier for your companion, you should get the dog accustomed to it long before the relocation day comes around. If you’re going to use a car to transport them, getting them accustomed to a long-distance drive is advisable as well.

You can place food in the carrier to get the dog used to being in it and place their favorite toys and blankets inside. If they’re afraid of traveling in a car, take them on a short drive around the neighborhood, so they get used to it. And be sure that your furry friend has enough food and water for the trip.

dog on the yellow background wearing PJs overlay
Get your puppy accustomed to being in a car

Relocating with Cats

Preparing cats for the relocation can be more complicated than relocating with dogs, as they are much more affected by a change of surroundings. Apply caution when getting your cat ready for the move, and try to make it as stress-free as possible. You can follow the same steps with your cat when it comes to getting them comfortable with riding in a crate or carrier. Feed your cat inside the carrier and place their favorite blankets and toys there.

You can leave the carrier for them to explore and get used to a couple of months before you move unless you’re relocating on short notice. As with dogs, cats will require enough food and water at every moment of the journey. If you’re relocating with your kids, you can let them take care of the cat.

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Let your cat get familiar with the carrier before the move, give it time to start her search.

Relocating with Exotic Pets

Not everyone has a dog or a cat as their pet. If you’re an owner of an exotic animal, you’ll want to know how to help them with the relocation, too.

Birds can be frightened easily and should get extra care during the move. But the good thing is that you can use their cage to transport them, as well, unless it’s a larger bird, in which case you can find a custom-made container. This is all to avoid any injury while you move them.

If your animal companion is cold-blooded, like amphibians and reptiles, you’ll have to keep their temperature in mind. This is especially the case when it comes to relocating in the winter or in bad weather. One of the most important tips for relocation with cold-blooded pets is to remember that they require a wet environment, so place wet towels and sponges inside their container. The advantage that you’ll have when moving with reptile pets is that you probably won’t have to worry about feeding them too often.

Other smaller species like ferrets and rabbits will need a sturdy cage with plenty of space for them to move around. You will also have to keep them well hydrated and ventilated at all times, especially in case you’re moving in the summer. You should place a towel, newspaper, or anything absorbent to soak up any of the waste they produce.

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Exotic pets will need specific care, both in travel and in house.

Check the Pet Regulations in Your New State

There are certain things to consider when moving to a new state with animals. For example, you will have to read up on the laws and regulations. Perhaps you will need a new permit, maybe you will have to get certificates, or find where you put your old ones. In case you’re relocating from a house to an apartment, remember that pets may not be allowed in your building or complex, so ask around in advance.

cat on the table overlay
Check all the pet regulations before you move.

Avoid The Common Mistake When Moving with Pets

One of the most common mistakes people tend to make is to keep the pet in the center of the chaos of relocation preparations. You should keep them away from all of that, not just because of their safety, but you don’t want them to be running around and getting in your way as you’re packing up. Keep them in a separated room while you or the movers are working. You can also leave them in the care of a friend, a neighbor, or family member while you take care of the packing.

Not being in the midst of chaos day-in and day-out will be the best help to your pet. Cats do enjoy wreaking havoc again and again (as does an occasional dog), but it is of their own making. Noises and fuss that always go with moving may raise their stress level and seriously affect their health. 

Relocation and all that goes with it doesn’t mean you should forget about your pet. Create a slot in your schedule for spending time with your dog or cat. There are a number of ways you can help your pet to not feel the weight. Search for a park your dog would like, take him on a walk along the water, or something similar. If those places are further away, you could drive there, and so help your furry friend get accustomed to travel before the movers arrive.

Look for a Good Veterinarian Near You

Taking the animal with you to another state without doing a check-up with your veterinarian might prove to be a grave mistake. Remember to look for good vets long before you move to your new home. This may also affect your decision-making process when choosing the right neighborhood. You should also get in touch with your current vet, and let them know that you’re relocating, and get any health records and certificates you may need.

The best possible vet near the house can be very helpful in the process of settling in. So get a number of the best vet around. Your pets will be thankful.

Settling into Your New Home

It may seem like a good idea to just let your pet out once you’ve handled the unpacking and sorted out most of your boxes. In fact, you should avoid doing this at all costs. Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or a bird you’re worried about, they will need to get adjusted to a different environment slowly.

First, let them get used to one room, and place any familiar objects and toys there. If possible in any way, you should arrange that room in a new home as similar as it can be to the previous house. Create the environment they may recognize, with furniture patterns and location of food and water bowls.

Both cats and dogs can take their time to explore small unknowns there, preparing for the bigger ones to come. Then you can let them get accustomed to the rest of the home and give them time for exploration as well. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed, and that there’s no way for them to leave the house or apartment on their own.

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Slowly introduce your furry friends to their new home, let them search the best paths.

Check for Any Pet Hazards

The first step you should take care of before you let your pet out is to pet-proof your new home. Check for any cables that may be dangerous, mousetraps in secluded parts of your home, ways for them to get outside, or any dangerous chemicals or poisonous house plants. Even if you’re moving during the holidays, you should take the time first to remove any hazards for your pets.

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