The Dos and Don’ts of Moving Animals
Moving is stressful enough without adding animals into the mix. From airline transportation rules to health and wellness considerations, moving with pets often involves a great deal of preparation beforehand. Of course, the type of animal you plan to move, along with their specific needs and health concerns, will greatly affect how exactly you prepare for the move. If you’re moving close by, we recommend introducing the animal to the new house before the move. This will help them adjust quickly and help you prepare for the move. For more advice on moving animals, read our dos and don’ts of moving a pet, below.
Do prepare well ahead of time
Moving animals isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Even a longtime, well-trained pet can be a challenge to move. So first and foremost, make sure you are well prepared to move an animal or beloved pet prior to the actual move. To prepare, we recommend creating checklists, researching travel requirements, contacting your vet and looking into pet relocation services.
Don’t forget to bring a copy of the animal’s health record from your vet
Plan on finding a new vet after you move? Make sure to collect your pet’s health records from the vet prior to moving. If you’re moving to a new state, this is especially important. U.S. states require that animals have proof of vaccinations (particularly rabies), so if you’re moving an animal to a new state you’ll absolutely need copies of their health records and certificates.
Do consider your animal’s emotional needs
Most animals experience anxiety when traveling. Whether you plan to fly or drive, make sure to consider your pet’s emotional needs. This might mean giving them extra attention and love in the days leading up to the move – or it could mean giving them a sedative when traveling. Whatever you do, try to stick to the usual feeding, playing and bedtime routines. This will help maintain consistency during the stressful move.
Don’t book a plane ticket without checking the airline’s rules and restrictions
Planning to fly with your pet? Before booking a plane ticket for the move, make sure to check with the airline about necessary travel arrangements for your animal. If traveling with a dog, you’ll need to make sure that your pet’s breed is allowed on planes. Depending on the specific breed and size of the dog, your pet will either be allowed to travel with you onto the plane or they will be placed below in cargo. Make sure to read up on the airline’s travel rules and restrictions regarding kennels and travel totes as well. Also, keep in mind that most airlines require customers to pay an additional pet fee when purchasing their ticket.
Do make sure the kennel is ventilated
Whether you plan to carry your dog in a tote or a kennel, make sure it’s properly ventilated prior to moving. These bags or kennels should almost entirely be ventilated so that your animal can breathe normally. Make sure that the carrier bag is also properly
Don’t give the animal food right before moving
Those driving and flying with their pets should avoid feeding them solid food several hours before the travel begins. Cats, in particular, are prone to vomiting and esophageal problems. Dogs, when anxious and/or experiencing motion sickness, also have a tendency to throw up while traveling. Be sure to strategically plan your pet’s meals when moving to avoid dealing with unexpected surprises while on the road.
Do exercise your pet prior to the move
The best way to calm your pet down when moving? Make sure they get plenty of exercise prior to the move. After all, a tired dog is a good dog (and the same goes for any other animal as well!). So take the time to throw the ball, walk them outside or play with them inside the house.
Don’t mix your pet’s moving day necessities with your belongings
When moving animals, it’s particularly important to keep their moving day essentials separate from your own belongings. This will ensure that everything stays organized throughout the day, and that you know where the pet’s food and essentials are located when you need them. A pet’s moving day essentials bag might include food, bottled water, bowls for water and food, necessary medication, kitty litter, poop bags, chew toys and blankets.
Do move reptiles inside their usual cage
Have a reptile as a pet? We recommending transporting them in their usual cage or crate when moving to a new home. Make sure that the cage is well-secured inside the car to minimize the chances of movement or injury when driving. If the cage or crate is large, you may want to consider moving them in a smaller container in order to help minimize movement.
Don’t expect a moving company to move your pet
Sorry folks: moving companies won’t transport your live animal. If you need to hire someone else to do the job, we recommend looking into professional pet relocation services. These services specialize in moving animals by car and plane. In addition, they will help take care of any and all needs when moving an animal.
Do keep them quarantined during the move
Moving can be a dangerous time for animals. From movers leaving the doors open to heavy, cardboard boxes tipping over, there are plenty of ways for your pet to get in trouble during a move. To keep them safe and secure, we recommend either crating your animal or keeping them quarantined in a room before and after a move. This will keep them out of harm’s way throughout the stressful process.
Don’t change the pet’s food when moving
Finally, don’t suddenly change an animal’s food when moving. From dogs and cats to reptiles and birds, all animals need a sense of consistency – and this includes what they eat. Changing their food can also disrupt their digestion and cause stomach problems throughout the move. Play it safe by packing enough of their usual food and treats to last several days.