The RCI Blog

10 tips for moving with pets

Posted by Staff on Oct 13, 2014 11:47:00 AM

Whether you own a cat, dog or even a fish, new environments are often scary for pets. When you move, you are taking your pet out of its comfort zone, which can increase its anxiety. Planning a move with your pet in mind can help alleviate and minimize stress once you arrive. Here are a few things to consider before a move to ensure it will feel like home for everyone.

Relocating a family with pets

1.       Pick a pet friendly neighborhood

If at all possible, visit your new home beforehand to get a sense of what the neighborhood is like. Will you be able to take your dog for a walk and still feel safe?

The ASPCA also recommends taking note of aggressive dogs or dogs wandering around without a leash.

2.       Consider living space

When deciding on a new home or apartment, consider how the living space will affect your pet. Cats need room to climb, whereas larger animals, like big dogs will need more space. Is there a big yard or dog park to compensate for a smaller space? And if your pet is older, how well will it do with a flight of stairs?

3.       Make an appointment with your vet

Before you move, make an appointment with your vet to obtain a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations and any other necessary medical records. Also be sure to refill any medications your pet will need for the trip as many vets can’t write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship. If you’re moving long distance, your vet may be able to refer you to another credible vet and animal hospital in the area as well.

4.       Update pet tags

Make sure you update your pet’s collar tags and microchip with your new home address and phone number. Any number of things can go wrong during a move. If your pet escapes, you want to ensure you can be contacted easily.

5.       Prepare an overnight bag/box for your pet

Set aside a small bag of necessities for your pet while you’re packing for easy access. Keep at least a week’s worth of food and medications on hand in case of an emergency, as well as some treats and toys to comfort your pet during the transition.

6.       Keep your pet out of the action

Your pet may be overwhelmed and stressed by all the moving day activity. Keep your pet confined in a quiet, secluded room with a caution note on the door so it won’t escape. Another option is to call a friend to watch it for the day or drop your pet off at a trusted kennel. Check in regularly for walks or food to keep their routine as normal as possible.

7.       Move your house before you move your pet

Try to set up as much as possible before introducing your pet to the new home. Before you let your animal wander, confine it to a small space and inspect the house and yard thoroughly for any hidden holes or broken windows and walls so it can’t escape.

8.       Weigh transportation options

Before transporting your pets, it’s a good idea to slowly introduce them to their carrier or crate at home with treats. If you are driving, place a blanket over the top of the kennel to block out the moving surroundings and ease your pet’s stress. Depending on your pet’s size, you may need to get a special carrier. 

If you are flying, be sure to check in with the airline about pet restrictions and requirements. Be aware that extreme weather may affect an airline's ability to transport your pet/ Have a back up plan if you're coming from a location where extreme conditions are a reasonable possibility. 

9.        Book a pet friendly hotel

Call hotels in advance to verify they accept pets- Some online sites don’t always have up to date pet policies. If you plan on leaving your pet alone in the room, turn on the TV or music as background noise. But if your pet makes noise while you’re away, it’s probably best to it company.

10.   Learn more about the area

After you find a new vet, ask if there are any local health concerns you should be aware of like heart disease, ringworm or fleas. It’s important to research what vaccinations your pet may require in your new area or if there are any unique laws you should know about. You may need to pay a fee, quarantine your pet or provide special documentation before entering different countries and states. Some cities and homeowners associations also have restrictive laws on what type of breeds you can own.

Relocating to a new home can be stressful enough, but a little bit of pre-planning when moving with pets can go along way. 

Topics: Moving, Transferee Resources

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