How to Move with Pets When You’ve Never Done it Before

Moving can be stressful – there’s no doubt about it.

I mean, you have to get all your stuff organized, pack tons of boxes, clean, rent a moving truck… your task list probably seems never-ending.

And when you bring moving animals into the mix, it can be even more difficult.

But don’t let stress get the best of you just yet.

Whether you’re driving or flying to your new home, this blog post will teach you everything you need to know about how to move with pets. Also, don’t forget that you can always use a free moving quote calculator.

How to Move with Pets

First of all, you’ll want to make a plan and schedule for your move and stick to it. Include any items you’ll need to move your pet (a pet carrier or pillows, for example). Outlining this plan as early as possible will help you feel relieved because you’ll go into the experience knowing exactly how to proceed.

Once you’ve figured out a schedule and determined what items you need to move your pet safely, you need to take your pet to the vet. While you’re there, make sure you:

  • Let your vet know that you are moving and get all of your pet’s necessary records (vet records and vaccination certificates). If you are flying, you may also need to bring a health certificate for your pet. Ask your vet what you need, and they should be able to advise you.
  • Get shots for your pet if they are due or almost due.
  • Get your pet’s prescriptions refilled so you can easy get refills at your new pharmacy when you move.

Take your pet to the groomer’s before you move too. Try to do this a week or two before you move so your pet will be clean – you’ll appreciate that you did this later, especially if you’re taking your pet in your car with you.

And don’t forget to bring a fitted collar for your pet that includes its ID tags. These tags should state your name and current cell phone number in case your pet is lost during the moving process. You might also want to microchip your pet — because even the most obedient pet might be tempted to run away when placed in unfamiliar surroundings.

These are a few basic tips for moving with pets, but now let’s talk about some more specific tips based on whether you’re traveling by plane or by car.

Tips for Moving Animals via Car

If your pet isn’t used to riding in the car, try to acclimate it to short car rides before your move. When you do this, watch for signs of anxiety or carsickness. These are two issues that you’ll want to deal with well before the day of your move.

Also, make sure you have a kennel or car seat that is a safe size for your pet – you should never let your pet wander freely in the back seat of your car.

If you choose to use a kennel, make a comfy bed for your pet using pillows, blankets, or old towels. Doing so will give your pet a soft spot to lay down, and it may even end up sleeping through most of the trip!

Pack your pet’s leash/collar, food, water, and any necessary medications too. You might also want to bring some treats along and sneak your pet a snack while it’s sitting in its car seat or kennel!

Then, you can make occasional stops while driving on your trip to feed, water, and walk your pet. Make sure you give your pet plenty of time to go to the bathroom so it doesn’t have an accident in your car — that’s the last thing you want to happen on a long drive!

Last but not least, plan your hotel stops ahead of time to make sure the place you’re planning to stay can accommodate your pet. You may have to pay a bit extra to keep your pet in your hotel room with you, so make sure you budget enough money for that.

Tips for Moving Animals via Airplane

If you’re planning to move your pet via airplane, one of the very first things you should do is call your airline to make sure they can accommodate your pet. You’ll also want to ask what fees you should expect and find out whether or not your pet can ride in the cabin as your carry-on item (if so, ask what the size limit is for the pet’s carrier!).

And don’t forget to ask which pet records you will need to bring along. If you don’t bring the proper records, you will not be able to fly with your pet.

Here are a few more things you should do when moving animals via airplane:

  • Check to make sure your pet’s collar fits properly and cannot get caught in its carrier.
  • Place an ID tag on your pet’s collar that includes a way to contact you.
  • Make sure your pet’s nails are clipped short so they cannot get caught on anything.
  • Avoid feeding your pet for several hours before the flight.
  • Put ice cubes in your pet’s water tray instead of water (loose water will likely spill and only make the flight more unpleasant for your pet.)
  • Try to acclimate your pet to its carrier before the trip.
  • Carry a recent picture of your pet with you so airline employees can locate it more easily if it gets lost.
  • Check your pet for health issues after the flight as soon as you can. If anything seems wrong or unusual, take your pet to the vet immediately.

A word of warning about moving animals via airplane:

If your pet carrier is too big to bring in the cabin as your carry-on item, your pet will need to travel in the cargo section of the plane. This can be dangerous if you don’t take certain precautions, like traveling when the weather is mild and considering your pet’s health and age. Make sure your pet is well-equipped to handle traveling in the cargo section of the plane before you decide that it must do so, and let the captain and a flight attendant know that your pet is traveling in the cargo hold.

And remember – thousands of pets travel safely every year, so you shouldn’t let yourself get too worried about your furry friend. Plan out the process ahead of time and do everything you can to ensure your pet’s safety, and there’s a good chance it’ll be relaxing with you in your new home in no time.