The prospect of moving out can be exciting, but you’ll realize that the actual process can be stressful. Add a furry four-legged friend to this mix, it gets even more so. But can you even consider leaving them behind? Heck no! Moving with pets come with certain psychological and legal challenges that you must familiarize yourself with. At the same time, you have to ensure that all the health requirements of your pet are accounted for.

Read on to know what needs to be done when you’re moving with pets.

How Do You Move With Pets?

Like we mentioned above, there are some legal and medical requirements that you need to fulfill before you proceed. Depending on which category of the animal kingdom your pet falls under and the state you’re moving to, there might be certain rules and regulations you would have to adhere to. Instead of scrambling for all the necessary permits and documentation at the 11th hour, it’s better you get things in order beforehand. So here’s what you need to know about the various laws when moving with pets.

Knowing The Pet Laws

This applies if you’re moving out of the country or the state with your pet. Some states or countries are very strict with their pet import laws, while others are more liberal. But no matter where you’re moving, keep yourself updated with all their pet laws so that you don’t get into legal trouble. You can do that either by looking these laws up online or speaking with the concerned officials.

While you wouldn’t have much restrictions with pets like dogs or cats, you’re likely to have trouble moving out with the more exotic pets such as reptiles. There may even be restrictions on importing specific animal breeds. The general rule would be for the pets to have a CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection) and all the necessary vaccinations including rabies and worms.

Since you’re moving out, now would be a good time to microchip your pet (if you haven’t done it already). The chip won’t track your pet’s movements, if that’s your concern. It simply acts as a non-removable collar which can be used to reunite you with your pet in the unfortunate event that you lose them. It’s a harrowing thought, but if you’re moving out, try to be as safe as possible.

Visiting Your Vet

This is a very important step before you’re moving out with pets and has to be done at least a month in advance. The vet can advise you on how to make the process of moving out less stressful for your pets. If your pet is prone to anxiety, the process of moving out may aggravate it. The vet may prescribe anxiety medications or other ways to calm your pet. In addition to this, you’ll also need to get all the necessary paperwork, medications and vaccines administered to them before you move out. Also, remember to get your pet’s microchip updated with your new address along with their collars, if they wear one.

In case you’re moving long distance, you’ll want to get a new vet. Call up your landlord or realtor to get this information, or you can research yourself and get in touch with the new vet. You’ll get a better insight on how to handle pets in a new place from an expert. In addition to this, see if you can contact a local attorney who specializes in animal and pet laws.

Keeping Your Pets Away While Packing

Pets, particularly cats and dogs, tend to be acutely aware of their surroundings and any changes are very likely to stress them out. Packing all your belongings before a move changes the way your house looks and this unfamiliarity gets them all jittery. Also, you don’t want a dog or cat running about the house when it’s in disarray. There’s a risk of them injuring themselves or breaking something expensive.

A good idea would be to secure them in their kennel or drop them off at a friend’s place. Alternatively, you could move your pets into an isolated room with enough food and water.

Even during the whole chaos of packing, take time off to check if they’re comfortable. When it comes to dogs, take them on a walk as you usually do. Sticking to your usual pet routine would help them as much as it helps you. Don’t forget to bring their favorite toys or blankets as well!

Speaking of the pet’s toys and blankets, make sure that you pack them at the very end so that they can be comforted for as long as possible before the move.

Preparing Your Pets For Moving

If your pets are used to moving freely in and around the house, they may find it difficult to adjust in the enclosed space of a crate. If you’re planning on moving with pets, particularly for long distance trips, you need to get them used to being cooped up in a small space for hours together.

You need to start preparing them at least a couple of months before moving. You can start with putting their food inside the crate and eventually start locking it when your pet goes inside to eat. Go on short car trips with your pet inside the crate so that they’re used to traveling this way. If your new house is close by, visit it with your pet. It’ll be good for them to get a feel of the place and makes moving out much easier for them.

Don’t forget to give them treats when you let them out of the crate! This will help them associate time in the crate with treats at the end.

What Do You Do With Pets On Moving Day?

If you’re moving long distance, you may need to hire a pet relocation service. Depending on the kind of pet you have, it’s possible that you won’t be able to travel with them. Particularly if you’re moving internationally, the process of moving pets becomes a lot more complex. The pet relocation service can simplify it somewhat, but you need to ensure that you follow all the prerequisites.

While the relocation service would try to make your pet as comfortable as possible during travel, your pet may still get anxious after getting separated from you. See if you can keep your pet’s favorite toy with them in the crate.

We’re sure that you’d rather travel with your pet. By all means take them with you in your car, if that’s an option. Keep in mind to not feed them too much before the car ride as animals are as susceptible to travel sickness as humans.

While dogs are usually thrilled at the idea of car rides, cats aren’t really keen about it. To keep them safe and comfortable, get them into a crate and even cover it with a blanket so that they aren’t disturbed by the changing environment. This sudden change in environment is likely to affect your pets. So it’s best that you don’t let them out of your car if you take a break on your way to the new house. If you must walk your dog, keep them on a leash even if they’re well-trained.

If you’re going on a long trip, it’s likely that you’ll need to stop for the night. Plan your trip beforehand and book a hotel that’s pet friendly. Again, don’t let your pet loose.

Also Read: How To Move With Cats?

Reaching The New Home

Once you reach your new home, you need to take some extra care to ensure that your pet is comfortable too. A good idea to do this is by temporarily setting up one room exclusively for your pet along with their favorite belongings. Even though you’ll be caught up with all the unpacking and setting up your new place, keep some time apart so that you can give your pet all your love and attention. This is all the more important now because it’s very likely that your pet is feeling very out of place in your new home.

For the time being, keep your pet isolated in that room while you get to work. Look for anything in the house that could potentially harm your pet. If your house has a garden, make sure that there aren’t any gaps between the fence or any poisonous plants. You don’t want your pet to slip out of the house and get themselves in harm’s way.

It’s a good idea to keep a bag of essentials for your pets separately and easily available. This helps with easy access to all your pet requirements when your house is still disorganized.

Making Your Pets Feel At Home

Your pets are very used to routine and gotten used to their old home. Naturally, a sudden change in the environment stresses them out. While some pets are able to take this in their stride, others need help getting used to a new place.

Cats and dogs associate things with smell, so get things from your old house that smell like their previous home (you won’t be able to smell it, however!). This brings in a feeling of familiarity and thus would comfort your pets. Also, you can rub your pet with a cloth and then rub it against the furnishings in your house. This might sound weird, but having their own scent around the house would make your pets feel more secure.

When it comes to cats, it’s best that you keep them indoors for a while. They find a change of environment and routine very jarring. Try to get them used to being indoors and gradually introduce them to all the rooms in your house. Introducing your cat to the outdoors may lead them to explore on their own, which may put them in danger.

Dogs, on the other hand, require a lot of affection. Until they’re comfortable in the new home, they tend to be anxious. What you can do is stay home for a few days and never leave them alone. Your presence would be very comforting to your dog. After a few days, start leaving them alone for a few minutes at a time. Then keep increasing your time away from them and they’ll start getting used to it.

As far as possible, stick to the routine (meals, walks, litter) that you followed in your new home. This makes the transition for your pets easier. Remember that moving out has been stressful for your pet. Don’t scold your pets for making mistakes during this transition phase. It’ll take them a while to get used to new toilet and litter habits. Be patient with your pets and when they do things right, be sure to shower them with praise and treats!

Moving With Other Pets

Considering cats and dogs are the most popular choice of pets in the US, we’ve explained how to move out with them in the best possible way. Below are tips on moving with other pets:


If you’re moving your pet bird in your car, you should do so first by locking it in its cage and covering it with a cloth so that it’s not distressed by the change of locations. Don’t forget to put some water and birdseed for your feathered friend.

You may be allowed to travel with your bird in a cage beneath your seat in a plane, so long as it’s a quiet bird. If not, it’ll be moved to the cargo hold.

Guinea Pigs

These cuddly pets are as sensitive to the stress of moving as they’re cute. If they’re traveling with you, put them in secure soft-sided crates. Make sure that you feed them often and if you’re planning to let them out, remember to put them on a leash so that they don’t run off.

Guinea pigs won’t do well in a plane’s cargo hold, so you need to find an airline service that allows them in the cabin. Remember to line the approved pet carrier with enough warm padding so that your guinea pigs don’t feel cold.


Rabbits are very sensitive to heat, so if you’re moving them in your car, keep their cages away from direct sunlight. While it’s unlikely that your rabbit would want food and water when it’s too stressed due to the travel, keep some in the cage, just in case.

Like guinea pigs, your rabbit can travel with you in certain flights.


Fishes are very sensitive to sudden changes and thus it becomes tricky to move them. It’s unsafe to move them in their tank, so transfer your fish into plastic bags filled with the tank water. Once you reach your new home, set up your tank and fill it up with water. Then hold the plastic bags containing fish in the tank water. This is to get the fish used to the temperature of the water in the tank. Then you can transfer them in the tank.

However, moving long distances with fish isn’t easy. So, it’s best that you give them away to a neighbor or the local aquarium.


Once you’ve moved with your pets, don’t forget to get in touch with your new vet. It’s good to just have a routine check-up planned. Be patient with your pets and in time, they’ll be at home with their new home.

See also: Best Pet Shipping Companies