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Your furry friends are family members, so don’t forget about them when preparing for your big move. Whether you’re going to a new home across town or across the globe, you need to make special arrangements to keep your pets safe and comfortable.

Figuring out how to plan a move with pets might seem daunting initially. That’s why we’re here to help.

If you keep the tips discussed in this guide in mind, you’ll have no trouble setting your pets up for success and enjoying a smooth move.

Packing Tips to Move with Pets

The first step to a successful move to a new city, state, or country is careful, thoughtful packing. Here are some tips to help pet parents know what to include in their moving boxes:

Bring Along Your Home Scent

Transitioning to a new home can be overwhelming for pets. They’re in a new space with new smells, sights, and sounds.

One way to make their move in a bit less stressful is to bring along some items that smell like your home.

You could give them an unwashed blanket or towel to cuddle up with in bed or their crate, for example. Providing items like this ensures they have something familiar and soothing while you’re unpacking and settling in.

It might be useful to read our ultimate guide on how to pack for a move

Bring Their Toys

It’s great to declutter before a move. However, don’t part with any of your pet’s favorite toys during your purge, no matter how worn out they might be.

Giving your pets their favorite toys is another great way to help them feel more relaxed when you move into a new home.

Pet Toys

Pack an Emergency Kit for the Trip

There’s nothing worse than embarking on a trip to a new home, only to realize halfway to your destination that you’ve packed something essential, like your pet’s water bowls or car harness. 

Put together an emergency kit containing your pet’s most essential items before you leave. The kit might include enough food for a few days on the road, a travel water dish, a few favorite toys, medications or supplements, a leash, and your pet’s bed.

Prepare Your Pet for Moving

As you plan for your big move, remember that your pet doesn’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. They can tell that things are changing, but that’s about it.

To make the moving process easier for your pet and keep them safe and healthy along the way, be sure to do the following:

Visit Your Vet for a Diet Plan and Vaccinations

Always take your pet for a checkup at the vet before you move to a new place.

The vet will ensure your pet is up to date on its vaccinations and can offer suggestions to make a move as simple as possible. For example, they might recommend that you don’t make any dietary changes during this stressful time, as your pet is more likely to have an upset stomach while moving. 

During this vet visit, be sure to get copies of your pet’s medical records or health certificate to share with their new vet (if you plan on switching providers). 

Update Their ID Tag or Microchip

Update your pet’s ID tag or microchip before moving, too. Update the phone number and include your new address so that your pet gets returned to the right place if they get lost or run away.

Legal Requirements & State Laws for Moving with Pets

Many people don’t consider that they must abide by international, state, or local laws when moving with their pets.

Before you head out on your road trip or plan air travel with your pet, do some research to learn the laws and regulations in your new area.

For example, check the rules in your new apartment complex or homeowners association to ensure you’re allowed to bring your pets. You should also check to see if there are any breed restrictions or limits on the number of pets you can have.

Keep in mind, too, that some animals must go through a quarantine period when you move to a new place. This requirement is especially common when moving to a different country or a state like Hawaii.

Safely Transporting Your Pet

Especially when traveling long-distance with a pet, you need to take extra precautions to keep them safe. Here are some tips to help you protect your pet on your way to a new neighborhood:

Select the Best Travel Option for Your Pet

If you’re moving across town or to a neighboring state, driving with your pet in the back seat might be the best and most convenient choice.

However, if you’re traveling across the country or overseas, you’ll need to think more carefully about how you will fly with your pet. Will you be able to fly with them in the cabin, or will you need to put them in the cargo area? 

You might also want to look into special pet transportation services, too. These businesses can help with cross-country or overseas pet travel and keep your pet comfortable on its journey. 

Select Travel Option

Keep Them Comfy on The Drive

If you do decide to drive with your pet, take extra precautions to keep them safe and comfortable.

For example, you might want to purchase a car-safe kennel that you can secure to the seat. You can also buckle your pet in with a special seatbelt. These seatbelts ensure pets remain secure and don’t get jostled too much on the road.

Moving Tips by Pet Species

So far, we’ve discussed general rules for planning a move with pets. Now, it’s time to get specific about moving with a particular animal species: 

Dogs & Cats

The tips we’ve shared so far apply to most cat owners and those moving with dogs.

If you have a furry feline or canine companion, you use the guidelines mentioned above to keep them safe and healthy as you drive or fly to a new location.

It’s especially important to take your cat or dog to the vet, update their tags and microchips, and invest in car-safe kennels or seatbelts to keep them secure during your travels.  


Birds, like other pets, require special care and planning to stay safe and healthy as you move to a new place. Here are some strategies for a successful move with a bird:

  • Put them in a smaller travel cage or carrier

  • Help the bird get comfortable with the travel cage or carrier before moving

  • Take the bird on short car trips to help them get comfortable with traveling

  • Only stay in bird-friendly hotels and travel accommodations (don’t leave them in the car)

  • Bring plenty of food, treats, and bottled water

Take your bird to the vet before moving, too, and ensure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations. 


Moving fish, whether they reside in a bowl or tank, can be tricky. These tips can help you ensure your fish make it to their new home in one piece:

  • Transfer the fish to plastic bags or small storage containers (visit the local pet store to pick some up)

  • Don’t feed your fish 24 hours before moving them to the transport containers to keep the water clean

  • Empty and clean the tank and decorations

  • Transport pebbles or sand to a separate container

  • Remove and clean all equipment, such as filters, and pack them separately

  • Pack the tank and equipment in a padded box

Fish might be small, but they still experience stress during significant life changes (like moves). Avoid transferring them to their transport or storage containers until the day before your move to minimize their time in a new, potentially anxiety-inducing environment. 


Reptiles like lizards and snakes also need special attention and care when moving to new locations. These tips will help you protect your reptiles and keep them healthy:

  • Bring them with you in the car if possible to control temperature, noise, and other variables

  • If you can’t bring your reptile in the car, transport them via airline (traveling in the cargo hold is less stressful than riding in a moving van)

  • Set up the reptile’s habitat as soon as you arrive (pay special attention to factors like light and temperature to get them acclimated)

Be sure to research and abide by quarantine laws for reptiles in your new location as well. 

What's the Best Way to Move Cross-Country with Pets?

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that all pet owners should use when moving cross-country with pets. However, these long-distance moving tips can help everyone stay safe and say during the journey:


The sooner you start preparing your pet for your move, the better. Practice taking car rides or getting into a travel cage to build a positive association and minimize your pet's stress throughout your travels. 

Ask About Medications

Your pet’s health and well-being should be a top priority during your move.

Some pets fare well with natural calming supplements like CBD or melatonin. However, prescription medications can be more effective for stress and anxiety-prone dogs and cats.

If you know your pet won’t be comfortable or calm on a long car trip or flight, talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications or sedatives to make the journey easier. 

Connect with Care Providers Early

Get in touch with new care providers, such as a new vet, a pet sitter, or a doggy daycare facility, before you arrive in your new location. Establish these connections early, so you know where to take your pet if they need medical attention or need to be out of the house while you move in.

Pet Care Providers

Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels

Look for pet-friendly hotels and Airbnbs. These locations have pet-proof carpets and won’t mind if your dog barks a bit or your cat sheds on the pillowcase. They also allow you to keep your pets close during this transition period.

Work with Professionals

Look for a moving company or relocation services that have experience transporting pets. These professionals will help you get your pet safely to their new home and keep them comfortable along the way.

Be Patient and Leave Room for Playtime

Finally, remember that it takes time for your pet to get used to their new surroundings (just like you).

Be patient with them as they get settled, and make room for activity in your busy schedule. Playing with your pet helps you bond and is a stress reliever for both of you!

Start Planning a Pet-Friendly Move Today

Moving to a new house with pets can be challenging. If you follow these guidelines, though, you’ll have an easier time preparing for moving day and helping your pets get settled in a new environment.

If you need more help planning your move, we’re here for you at Oz Moving & Storage. Our experienced movers know what it takes to make pet relocation (and human relocation) as simple and stress-free as possible.

Reach out today to get a quote.


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