Moving to a new home can be just as stressful on the family pet as it is on you. Below are some tips to keep your pet happy and safe when moving. They include pre-move preparation as well as tips for moving day and arriving at your new home. In addition, please be sure to review specific Pet Travel Tips for the Car and Pet Travel Tips for Flying.
- Pet Laws and Regulations: Become familiar with the state/province leash laws, pet ordinances, and pet licensing requirements. For state/province laws, contact the State Department of Agriculture or State Veterinarian's office. For local ordinances, contact the City Clerks' office, local humane organization, or animal control facility in the area in which you'll be relocating.
If you are planning to rent a house or apartment, be sure to carefully review the lease to ensure that pets are allowed before you move in.
- Talk To Your Pet's Vet: Talk to your veterinarian about traveling with a pet who doesn't like to travel. They can recommend behavior modification tactics or medication that might lessen the stress of travel. Depending on your new address, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. In addition, be sure to get a copy of all your pet's medical records for your pet's new vet.
- Secure a New Vet: It's important to have a new veterinarian lined up before you move. Ask your current vet for a referral or research new veterinarian online.
- New Identification Tag: Get a new pet ID tag that includes your pet's name, your name, new address and telephone number. An up-to-date ID tag is a lost pet's ticket home.
- Maintain Normal Routine: Pack over a period of time and try to maintain your pet's normal routine. Advance planning will make your move less stressful.
- Pet Restraint for Car Travel: Have a plan for how you're going to properly restrain your pet in your vehicle. This is a crucial element of pet travel that is not taken seriously enough. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are allowed free reign in cars, trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an "enthusiastic" animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident. Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats, and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle. It's important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks or months before traveling so that they are comfortable. See more Pet Travel Tips for the Car.
- Secure Pet Friendly Accommodations in advance: If your move is such that you'll need to make overnight stops along the way, be sure to secure these accommodations before you hit the road. Our Search By Route will allow you to find pet friendly lodging along your route by plugging in your origination location and final destination. Pet policies do change some times without notice and accommodations may be limited so it's recommended that you book a pet friendly hotel in advance.
- Plan Ahead for Air Travel: Check with your veterinarian and the airline if your pet will be flying. Visit our Airline Pet Policies page to familiarize yourself with the rules specific to the airline you are flying. For more on safe air travel, see Pet Travel Tips for Flying.
- Keep Your Pet Secure: Place your pet in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom or pet carrier on moving day so that he or she cannot escape. If you place your pet in a room, place a large sign on the door that says "Do Not Enter." Containing your pet in a pet carrier on moving day will keep them safely confined as well. Gradually get them used to the carrier ahead of time by having your pet spend time in it prior to moving day.
Another option is to have your pet stay at a friend's house or their favorite doggy day care on moving day.
- Check on them Regularly: Check on your pet throughout the day. Be sure to maintain their regular feeding, walking, and potty break schedule.
Your New Home
- Prepare Your New Home: Pets love familiar surroundings so be sure to take with you all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one in your new home.
- Keep them Leashed: Even pets that are excellent under voice control can be easily distracted in a new environment. Therefore, make sure that your pet is leashed when not in the house or yard until they become comfortable with their new surroundings.
- Secure Pet During Move-In: It would be ideal to have your belongings moved in to your new home before your pet arrives, however, this isn't always realistic. If this not doable, follow the same procedures employed on move-out day - Place your pet in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom or pet carrier on moving day so that he or she cannot escape. If you place your pet in a room, place a large sign on the door that says "Do Not Enter." Containing your pet in a pet carrier on moving day will keep them safely confined as well. And again, be sure to maintain their regular feeding, walking, and potty break schedule.
- Pet Photo: Have a recent photo of your pet on hand in the unfortunate event that your pet runs off while moving into your new home.