Moving with Pets

Moving is both exciting and stressful, but pets are often overlooked in the process. Make sure you plan for your pets’ health and well-being while you move. The process takes its toll on everyone in the family, even your furry or finned family members. If you have a big moved planned, keep these tips in mind before you go to make the process as easy as possible for your pets.


Dogs easily sense the stress their owners are under. Keep everything as low-key as possible in your home. Be prepared for the dog to act aggressively towards others who are helping you with a move, even if the dog is usually laid back. Seeing your belongings being packed up and moved out of the home by strangers will cause the territorial nature to come out in most dogs. When you arrive at your new home, set up the dog’s area first, complete with toys, bed, and feeding dishes, so that he has a place to go. Make sure that the dog is restrained so he does not wander while things are being moved in or out of your homes. You may wish to board the dog or have a friend watch him on your actual moving day. Has your dog or cat been used to the car before? Do a test drive if not. If your test drives reveal a cat or dog that gets car sick you should take your pet to the vet and see if there is any medication for motion sickness that is safe to give your pet on moving day and plan to make pit stops for fresh air and potty breaks to help their stomachs stay settled. Don’t forget to bring a leash, a bowel for water and any medications that your pet will need during the move with you.


Cats have a very strong “homing” instinct. Make sure you keep your cat properly confined in your new home until he accepts it as home. If you don’t, your cat may wander off in search of his old stomping grounds. Like dogs, cats can sense your fear and stress during the move. Help ease some of his stress by playing with him every day before you move and setting up a safe place in your new home for him as soon as you arrive.


Before moving fish, talk to your local aquarium store or pet shop about the best methods to transport them. If you must fly, call the airline to discuss flying with fish, which has special considerations. Try to move the fish in their own tank water as much as possible, because introducing them to water with completely new chemistry at your new home will create a tremendous amount of stress.

Small Pets

Small pets, like rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs, require less attention when moving because they can stay fairly well confined. Make plans for the actual move, however. If you will be flying to your destination, ask the airline about their policies regarding these types of pets. If you will drive, make arrangements to drive your animals in your car, rather than the van or truck, which could become too hot. Make sure you do not forget to feed and water these small animals during the hustle and bustle of your move.

Exotic Pets

Before moving with exotic pets, including exotic reptiles, birds, monkeys, wolves, prairie dogs, and others, learn what the laws are in the state or municipality where you will be living. Some areas have outlawed these types of pets because of unethical breeding practices, and you do not want to end up with an unwanted surprise when you arrive. You can contact the State Veterinarian’s Office or State Department of Agriculture to get this information as well as the town governmental office.