Moving with a pet can be a challenge. On top of organizing your belongings, you must also keep your pet in mind.  Animals struggle with significant changes. A mismanaged move can lead to heightened anxiety in your pet, potential health complications, and stress for everyone involved.

Preparing as much as possible can make the move as stress-free and streamlined as possible, so you can avoid the headache and enjoy your pet in your new home. This checklist can help you remember all the necessary steps when getting ready for moving with a pet.

At Least 2 Months Before:

Setting the Stage: Pre-Move Preparations

The most essential steps you can take to make sure moving with a pet is as easy and stress-free as possible is to speak with your vet, grab a copy of all your necessary documents, and see what the requirements are for your airline and destination. By checking off these items, you’ll be well on your way to an easy move with your pet.

Get Physical Copies of Your Pet’s Records

When moving with a pet, your veterinarian can help collect and give you a physical copy of your pet’s records. This guarantees that you have a complete medical history of your pet that your new veterinarian can quickly refer to.

Ensure Your Pet’s Vaccinations are Current as Per Requirements

Some flights and destinations require that you have an updated copy of your pet’s vaccinations. These vaccinations, especially for dogs, include an up-to-date rabies vaccination, which is necessary in most states when moving with a pet. For example, if you are traveling to California, the state requires dogs that are older than four months to have proof of their rabies vaccination.

Secure a Health Certificate for Travel if it Becomes Necessary

A health certificate, or a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), is necessary for some airlines and destinations. However, this certificate may be more relevant when moving with a pet if they will change ownership upon landing at your new destination.

Confirm that Identification Tags and Microchips Carry Up-To-Date Contact Details

If you have changed your phone number recently, your ID tags and microchips must hold updated and relevant information, like your new phone number. Your pet’s ID tag should carry an up-to-date photo when moving with a pet.

Moving with a pet carries risks, like getting lost while traveling from airport to airport, or leaving the car’s back door open while at a rest stop. Having up-to-date information helps you quickly recover your pet in the case of a mishap.

Locate An Appropriate Travel Crate Or Carrier For Your Pet’s Journey

Moving with a pet also means your beloved companion has a safe resting place during the journey. Your travel crate or carrier should be large enough for them to turn around comfortably in. If you are traveling by plane, be sure that you read their requirements. Airlines like Spirit only allow soft containers, while others like JetBlue allow both soft and hard containers.

Gradually Introduce Your Pet to Their Carrier or Crate

Moving with a pet will be easier if your pet is used to being inside your chosen carrier. Over the next eight weeks, introduce them to it. Place a blanket or garment with your scent inside the crate, and their favorite treats to entice them to familiarize themselves with the container.

 If Moving Internationally

Check that the Crate or Carrier Fulfill Airline Requirements (If Traveling by Plane)

When moving with a pet, airlines have strict regulations that must be followed, including the carrier. Some airlines, like JetBlue, stipulate it must have a leak-proof bottom, be well-ventilated, and be impossible to escape.

Check All Other Requirements if Traveling By Plane

Some airlines have differing regulations to ensure all passengers’ safety when moving with a pet. Always check your airline’s requirements, so your pet isn’t refused entry on the plane at the last minute. For example, Spirit allows well-behaved dogs. But if it is in physical distress or causing a disturbance at the gate, Spirit won’t allow your pet to board.

If Moving To Another Neighborhood

Moving with a pet is easier if you relocate to a nearby neighborhood. You can arrange pet care on Moving Day. This means your pet is in a safe place, so you can focus on having the truck loaded, then unloaded at your new home for a disturbance-free set-up.

1 Month Before

Familiarize Yourself With Your New Surroundings

Find a new vet in your new home

When moving with a pet, it is essential to locate a new veterinarian for them as soon as possible. You can ask your current veterinarian for help choosing a new vet. Or, you can research veterinarians in your new area and book an initial appointment to visit them after your move.

Locate the nearest emergency vet

You never want to be in a position where there’s an emergency in your new home, and you don’t have an emergency vet to go to. This is a crucial step for a ‘moving with a pet’ checklist. Your current vet may be able to help you choose one in your new area, or you can research what places are available and keep their information in a safe place.

Find nearby boarding facilities and groomers

Although not as urgent as finding local and emergency vets, having a new groomer and chosen boarding facilities on hand can make moving with a pet easier. That way, you’re not scrambling in the days after moving to find a suitable boarding facility if your pet needs it while you continue to unpack.

Familiarize yourself with nearby pet stores

Knowing the best pet food stores that carry the brands your furry companion likes can make moving with a pet easier. After you move, you’ll already know where to stock up on food instead of sorting through boxes to find your last can of wet food.

Explore the area for pet-friendly parks and safe places to walk

One of the best ways to prepare for moving with a pet is to know where the pet-friendly parks and safe walking areas are. That way, you avoid walking blind on your first walk in your new neighborhood and can feel more comfortable.

Preparing Your New Home

One of the easiest ways to make moving with a pet less stressful is to prepare your new home. This includes decorating and unpacking as much as possible before they arrive. You can also make it as cozy and familiar as possible so they adjust more quickly. Ensure the following is checked off for your ‘moving with a pet’ checklist.

Decorate and Arrange Your New Home

Take the time to decorate and organize your new home before your pet arrives. This includes adding oversized items like sofas, mattresses, and bed frames. Moving these items is much easier without a pet present, as you can move without having the chance to hurt your pet accidentally.

Unpack Before Introducing Your Pet

Unpack as many boxes as possible before introducing your pet to their new environment. This ensures they aren’t stuck in the middle of unpacking, which can be chaotic and stressful when moving with a pet.

Establish Safe and Familiar Spaces

Set up safe and familiar spaces within your new home where your pet can feel comfortable. If they have a favorite bed or stuffed toy, set them up and make them easy to access so your pet has a familiar and cozy space. This will help them acclimatize to their new environment more quickly, which is essential for moving with a pet successfully.

On the Moving Day

On Moving Day, you will want to pack your pet’s bags as well as your own. Your travel kit should include all of their essentials, like medication, so you’re not sorting through boxes or have to buy new in the case of an emergency.  You should also have a container they can stay in during Moving Day.

Assembling a Pet Travel Kit

Your pet travel kit should include all of the essentials in easy access, such as:

  • Food, water, and dishes to hold them in.
  • Medication.
  • Comfort items, like favorite toys and blankets.
  • First aid supplies.
  • Leash or harness.
  • A secure collar with an updated ID tag.
  • List of emergency vets in your new location.
  • Copies of medical records and written prescriptions.
  • A litter box or poop bags.

Create a Secure Space for Your Pet With Crates or Barriers During the Move

When moving with a pet, securing them with crates, containers, or barriers is best. That way, you can focus on the move without risking harm or injury to your beloved pet and ensure they don’t become lost.

After the Move

After the move, you will want to help your pet acclimate to their new environment as quickly as possible. This can be accomplished with coziness, a personal introduction, and checking out the neighborhood together.

Create a Cozy Environment for Your Pet to Eliminate Stress

After moving with a pet, make a cozy atmosphere in your new home. That means most things are in their correct spot, it’s clean and tidy, peaceful, and quiet. It should also include a few comfort areas, like your pet’s bed and favorite toys.

Introduce Your Pet to Your New Home

Take a personal approach and show your pet around their new home. Moving with a pet becomes more manageable if your pet sees how relaxed you are in this new environment, and will automatically start de-stressing.

Familiarize Your Pet With the New Neighborhood

Another way to make moving with a pet easier is to show your pet around the neighborhood as soon as possible. This is especially helpful if they enjoy going on walks, and will adjust more quickly to the environment with the chance to explore it.

Consult the Experts When Moving With a Pet

Keep in mind that pets are incredibly sensitive to our emotions. If you remain positive and relaxed, your pet will likely respond similarly. If you are negative and wound up, however, your pet will sense that there is something to fear. When in doubt, contact the door to door pet moving experts at Pet Van Lines. Moving with a pet is bound to be stressful, but we are here to help decrease your anxieties as much as possible.

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