10 Tips for Moving with Pets

12 December 2013 by


montagne des pyrénées en voitureIt’s time for the big move, and luckily you are able to bring your pets with you. Moving can be extremely stressful for dogs and for you as well. There are many things to keep in mind when moving with pets before, during, and after the move, but here are ten tips to keep in mind that will make the whole process easier when moving to a new home with your pets.

Find a new veterinarian by your new home 

Finding a veterinarian by your new home before you even move can take a huge weight off your shoulders if you are worrying about your dog adjusting to the new home. Veterinarians are your source for making sure you dog is living a healthy life, and moving can significantly impact your dog’s stress and health, so chances are you will need someone to go to in the time immediately following your move. Veterinarians are also often excellent resources for finding other important people in your dog’s life such as the groomer, an emergency hospital, and a quality pet store. These are all places that are helpful to find before you move so that you don’t find yourself in limbo when your dog needs something and you don’t quite know where or who to turn to in order to get it.

Update your dog’s tags 

Especially in a new environment, it’s easier for your dog to run away and get lost (especially when the house is always open with movers coming in and out all day). Update your dog’s tags before you leave and switch them out as soon as you turn in your key in your old place to eliminate the possibility of your pet getting lost with old tags that will not aid in his return. Make sure your phone number is included so you can be contacted immediately if something happens.

Bring copies of your veterinary records 

It’s often fairly easy to ask veterinarians to forward records and information to your new veterinarian, but it’s not a bad idea to have copies of the records for yourself on hand in case of a system glitch or delay. Depending on where you’re moving, there may be stricter laws about what types of vaccinations and health certifications your pet might need, so being able to quickly prove that these requirements are met can take some stress of your mind. Make sure you know the best way and time of day to reach your old veterinarian in case you have questions or need clarification about your pet’s medical records and history.

Stock the necessities 

Have plenty of food and medication for your dog on hand in case the move is longer than you expected or in case of an unexplained emergency. Don’t be afraid to ask for an extra prescription refill from you veterinarian if your dog is on medication. You don’t want to be caught short of medication before you reach your new place and have already talked with your new veterinarian. If your dog has a special diet or likes a unique kind of food, don’t be afraid to stock up in case you cannot easily find this type of food when you first move to your new home.

Prepare your new home 

If it’s possible to prepare your new home before your dog arrives, do it, otherwise make that your number one priority when you arrive. Set up your dog’s food and water bowls and arrange your dog’s bed and favorite toys in an area of the house that is quiet and removed from the chaos of moving. If you can, keep your dog in a closed room so that he doesn’t find his way out of the house or get underfoot when you are carrying heavy boxes. However, it’s a good idea to check on your dog frequently throughout the move both to make sure he’s still there and doesn’t need to be let out, and also to serve as a source of comfort and familiarity in a time of transition.

Create a safe environment in your form of transportation 

Make sure your pet is safe and secure no matter what the form of transportation is. Dogs should not be able to wander freely within the car. Invest in a pet car seat or pet travel crate to ensure your dog’s safety. Pay attention to see if your pet gets motion sickness. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions on how to deal with motion sickness before you leave. You may ask to pick up a low-dose prescription to have on hand in case it becomes a problem. Also keep in mind that eating and drinking can be difficult for pet in a moving vehicle and can trigger the onset of motion sickness. Typically your pet will not need food during your car ride, but if he does, make sure you stop to take a break for meals. It’s also a good idea to make frequent stops so your dog can stretch his legs and use a bathroom break.


If you will be staying in hotels or even making frequent meals stops at restaurants, it’s a good idea to research and pre-book pet-friendly establishments ahead of time, so you’re not conflicted about what to do when your dog is not allowed inside.

Maintain a normal routine 

Obviously things will be far from normal in those transition weeks, be maintaining a routine will help your dog feel less stressed and more easy to transition during your move. Try to keep meal times and walk times the same as at your old place and try to set up your dog’s items in arrangements that are similar to how they were at your old home. Once you have set up your dog’s things, try not to move them around. This will only create more confusion.

Keep a leash handy 

Even if you don’t normally keep your dog on a leash, it may be a good idea for the first several weeks at your new place when going on walks or even when unfamiliar movers are constantly in and out of your new home.

Be careful with air travel 

If you are traveling by air, this could be an especially traumatizing experience for your dog. Talk to your vet to determine how to make your pet most comfortable and make sure you understand all the procedures for handling pets by each airline. Don’t be afraid to call to clarify and make sure you will understand what will happen for your specific pet’s flying situation.

How did you handle the transition when moving with pets? What advice can you offer to make the process easier? Share your tips in the comments section below.

SSF Team

SSF Team

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