Relocating Your Pets in a Move : What to Expect

Relocating Your Pets in a Move

Guest Writer: Paisley Hansen

Moving to a new place can be exciting. But relocating your pets in a move can also be quite stressful. This holds true for you and for your pets. But often pets can feel even more stressed out by a relocation because there is no way to explain to them what is about to happen. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ease the transition for them, and the sooner you start the easier it is likely to be for all of you.

Relocating Your Pets in a Move : What to Expect
Jan Voigtmann, Flickr

First Things First: The Vet

If you are crossing state lines in your relocation, you will need to be sure your pets have had a recent vet checkup. You must carry proof of a clean bill of health for each pet with you when you are en route.

It is always best to schedule your pets’ vet exams as soon as possible just in case there are any health issues that need to be addressed before you move. Be sure their shots are up to date, including any vaccinations that may be required for travel (such as kennel cough) and in your new state, even if they aren’t required where you live now.

Also ask the vet for ideas to make the move as low-stress as possible. This may include administering a sedative, practicing crate training or riding in the car or other relevant activities that might be new to your pet.

Before you leave, be sure you have the following in-hand:

  • Certificate of health from your vet dated within 30 days of your departure date.
  • Prescriptions for all current medications your pet is taking.
  • Copies of your pets’ vet records and vaccination schedule.
  • Microchip information! If your pets are not microchipped, now is a good time to do it.

NOTE: Finally, be sure to ask for a recommendation for a vet in your new location. Before you even leave, try to get an appointment scheduled for your pets. This way, if there are any issues en route or once you arrive, you already have a relationship with a vet that you can quickly turn to for help.

Getting Your Pets Travel-Ready

In addition to preparing all of your pets’ medical and vaccination reports and obtaining a clean bill of health from your vet, you will need to think through what your pets’ impact may be on others you will meet during your move.

In general, people will respond more favorably if your pet is groomed, clean and as free as possible from odors and smells. Consider making an appointment for grooming services several days before you are scheduled to depart.

Ask your groomer to pay special attention to the following:

  • Sharp or long nails. Trimmed nails won’t gouge furniture or people.
  • A shed-happy coat. If your pet tends to shed a lot, consider an aggressive haircut or shave or some serious brushing to reduce the impact of this on others.
  • Scents. Be aware that some scents may be irritating to others and to your pet, so only use shampoos and grooming products you are already familiar with.

What to Do While Traveling

If you will make the move in one day, you may not have to deal with finding pet-friendly lodging. This NYC moving company suggests that moving in one day will be much simpler and safer if your pets are away. But if you will be making nightly stops, be sure you make advance reservations at places that permit pets. Also scout out stopping points that offer pet-friendly resting areas.

And be sure to assemble a car or plane pack that includes all of your pets’ favorite toys, treats and blankets for the trip.

Upon Arrival at Your New Location

Here, be aware that your pets may take several days or even weeks to get used to the new space. The smells, sounds and sights are all new and unknown, as are the people and pets.

Try as best you can to stick to the regular schedule your pets are used to from your old location. Examine the entire premises for any pet dangers, including escape routes.

Most importantly, give your pets lots of love and attention to try to ease the transition for you both!

Relocating Your Pets in a Move : What to Expect” by Paisley Hansen 

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6 thoughts on “Relocating Your Pets in a Move : What to Expect”

  1. I would recommend if your pet doesn’t take many rides in the car (if it is easy to do so) maybe take a few short practice drives to see how they do in the vehicle. Maybe your pet gets car sick or has some other behavior that is less desirable. I have had to sedate one of my animals while driving cross country on a move. The vet prescribed the medicine after I described what my animal does in the car, during the pre-move vet visit. I don’t recommend that for everyone – however, it is needed in some special instances. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

    • I do agree with you, Laurie, about taking your pet on short test drives before going on a longer trip. I’ve done that with my dogs and it’s very helpful. I sedated one of my cats once, and that was a nightmare. For the cat, mostly. She didn’t like being drugged at all. Thanks for your suggestion. I appreciate you. 🙂

  2. Hi Paisley Hansen ,
    What a nice and well written post for the pets relocation.
    I am so happy to find this animals blog. As I love so much my pets.
    Thanks for sharing….Please keep sharing such post.

  3. These are helpful tips. Yes, relocating can be highly emotional for your dog, but dogs get used to it very soon. While introducing yourself to your new neighbors, don’t forget to introduce your dog to them. Also check out local pet/dog law if you are passing state lines.

    • Oh, what fantastic advice, to introduce your dog to your new neighbors too. Yes, very good. Laws are good to know too, as you say, so there are no surprises. Thanks for your comment! Come back soon, Craig. 😉


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