5 Things to Do When Moving with Pets

My Pet Cab | Oct 8, 2020 1:33:45 PM | Pet Travel

Whether you’re moving for work, family, or just to make a fresh start, it’s often a daunting task with a lot of planning required. When you factor pets into the equation, it typically requires additional planning, especially if you’re moving far away.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some things you should plan for and expect when moving pets, focusing on dogs and cats. With proper planning, you can make the relocation easier for both you and your pet. 

Create a Quiet Space for Your Pet

You may already know from previous moves or when simply packing for a vacation that this activity can be stressful for your pet, so if possible, you might try to get a friend or relative to look after your dog or cat on moving day. 

If a pet sitter isn’t an option, it’s best to keep your pet contained in one quiet room of the house with the door closed to reduce noise on moving day. This will provide peace and quiet for your pet, ensure that you or your movers are not tripping over them, and that your pet doesn’t accidentally get loose when you’re going in and out of the house. Don’t pack your pet’s things (crate, bedding, toys, etc) until the very end so that you can keep these items in the room to further reduce their stress level. And remember to check in on them from time to time to give them reassurance and attention.

Visit Your Veterinarian

If you haven’t taken your pet to the vet for a checkup recently, making an appointment prior to a move is a good idea. This is especially important if your pet won’t be with you during the move (for example, if they’re going to be flying separately or are being moved through pet relocation services). The vet can provide assurance that your dog or cat is healthy enough to make a long-distance move or raise concerns. Other items to ask your vet about include:

  • Obtaining a copy of their health records/health certificate. Your destination state’s regulatory agency may require an interstate health certificate from the state of origin; your veterinarian can apply for this, or you can do so on your own.
  • Updating vaccinations, including rabies inoculation (almost all states require one, with a tag to prove it).
  • Obtaining additional prescriptions if your pet’s medications are running low and you may not find a new vet right away.
  • If your pet is excitable or prone to motion sickness when traveling, ask about sedation options.
  • Recommendations for a colleague or practice in your new city.

If your current vet doesn’t have a recommendation, you should research veterinarians in the area and schedule a new patient appointment shortly after you’ll be settled in your new place.

Check State & Local Regulations

Most states have laws regarding the entry of dogs and cats. If you’ve already made a vet appointment in the new city as recommended, you may want to ask them about specific laws concerning entry of your pet (otherwise, you can contact the State Veterinarian in the capital city of your new home state). This is important, as some states have random inspections by department of agriculture officials or their highway patrol; if you’re flying to your new destination with a pet, representatives of the state's department of agriculture are usually present at airports to inspect any incoming pets.

In addition to state regulations, many U.S. communities have pet control and licensing ordinances. Sometimes this only relates to dogs, but an increasing number of cities are applying them to cats as well. License fees and the length of time you have to obtain a pet license following your arrival vary from place to place so it’s best to contact the city clerk for details. Remember, some local laws limit the number of dogs or cats permitted in one household so always inquire about this before committing to a move.

Moving to the U.S. from another country? Your pet may be subject to regulation by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as all well as other federal agencies.  Depending on your destination state, your pet may need to also meet additional health requirements. Check with the USDA APHIS site for more information.

Purchase Identification Tags and Consider Microchipping

Most people already have an identification tag on their pet’s collar, but if you do not (for example, cat owners whose cat remains indoors) you’ll want to get one with your contact information on it in the event your pet is lost. In addition to an ID tag, you should strongly consider getting your pet microchipped.

Microchipping can be performed at your veterinarian, on the spot. It’s quick and virtually painless for the pet, and it helps ensure they will be returned to you if they are lost. If your dog or cat is already microchipped, be sure that the microchip details are up to date and include details of your new home address. Read more in our blog, The Importance of Microchipping Pets.

Pack for Your Pet

Here’s a list of items you’ll want to consider if you’re moving long-distance with pets.


Checklist for Moving with Pets

Dog Crate/Cat Carrier

Bed and Blanket


Food, Bottled Water, Treats

Food and Water Bowls

Toys and Chews

Bad Weather Gear

Grooming Supplies

Cleaning Supplies (for accidents)

Puppy Pads/Litter Box

Pet Paperwork (health certificate, etc)

Collar and Leash

Can Opener

Flea or Tick Repellant

Scooper and Plastic Bags

Want more advice for moving with pets? Be sure to check out our blogs Cat Travel Tips for Pet Owners and How to Travel with a Dog Cross Country.

Moving with Pets? We Can Help!

Moving with dogs is different than moving with cats, but both pets can become very anxious during moving time which makes planning very important for their mental well-being.

If you’re moving with pets across country, or if you’re moving to the United States and your pet will be flying in without you, you may also consider pet moving services such as My Pet Cab. We offer the safest nationwide pet transportation service, bringing your pet door-to-door (or airplane-to-door) when you’re moving. Have questions about how My Pet Cab works? Contact us to learn more.


About the Author

My Pet Cab

The MyPetCab team consists of animal lovers who are dedicated to helping your pet travel safely. That’s why we work hard to create useful and informative content for our blog!

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