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How to Move Your Pets: Tips on Moving With Dogs, Cats and More

Making a major move or just going down the street? Don't worry! We're here to help make moving stress-free for pets and help them get acclimated to their new home.

By Dmytryk Carreño on September 23, 2022

How to Move Your Pets: Tips on Moving With Dogs, Cats and More
Jeff Adkins

If you’re wracking your brain on how to move with pets, you aren’t alone. Planning a move with your pet can be complicated, but a bit of planning can make all the difference. The key is to avoid stressing your furry friends while keeping things easy on yourself. Consider the following tips when relocating with your fluffy, feathered or scaly family member.

Know Local Laws and Regulations

Many municipalities require dogs, cats and large or exotic animals to be registered. Some require pets (especially dogs) to wear tags identifying that they are up to date on their various vaccines. Some zoning regulations may prohibit animals like pigs, goats and chickens altogether.

If moving into a condo, apartment or subdivision, always make sure you speak with a rep and read the fine pet-print! Most spots have limits on pet sizes or the number of pets allowed, as well as info about pet-friendly common areas and fencing/leashing.

Pets and Potential Homebuyers Shouldn’t Mix

Selling a home means many strangers coming in and out — realtors, potential buyers, inspectors, etc. Make plans for your pet during these times. Letting animals have free reign of your home as potential buyers take a tour is a recipe for disaster. Many real estate pros advise sellers to hide pet stuff because buyers can be dissuaded when they see chewed-up toys, fur-covered beds and dirty food bowls. If your pet must stay in the house during a showing, consider confining them to a familiar crate or keep them in the garage so they don’t frighten house hunters and vice versa. A particularly sensitive animal might do better staying with a neighbor or boarding at a kennel during the whole affair.

Meeting the Neighbors

Make sure to introduce your pet to the new neighbors. This is especially important if it’s going to be outside or let out frequently. Familiarity on both sides is the goal! The more, the better. So if your pet gets out and wanders around, everyone knows who’s who and can help. This is particularly important if the neighbor also has a pet. Two disagreeable dogs that share a fence is something you’d want to know about sooner rather than later. Several cities offer amenities like dog-friendly restaurants, so it’s easy for both you and your furry friend to explore the new digs.

Breaking Them In

After moving into a new house, immediately walk your dog around the neighborhood so that they become familiar with the new area. Establish boundaries in the yard for your dog to roam, and help them become accustomed to the new environment by maintaining a regular feeding, walking and sleep schedule.

Take Things Slow with Cats

Try not to expose your cat to your new living arrangements all at once. It’s a good idea to limit the number of rooms the cat has access to at the beginning and gradually let them explore independently. Also, surround the cat with familiar items and snacks during the move to reduce emotional stress. Finally, once in your new home, don’t let your cat outside until they’re familiar with the new living environment to reduce the risk of a “Jellicle jailbreak.”

Air Buds

If you’re moving your pet by plane, contact the airline for rules and regulations, transportation charges and container/carrier requirements. Make your reservations well in advance — pet approval is usually given on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a good idea to feed your pet no less than five or six hours before flight time, with more regular water breaks throughout the trip. A stressful situation on an empty stomach isn’t fun for any of you. And don’t forget to identify and utilize pet relief sites in the airport! They’re well hidden but clearly marked, and they are a lifesaver when flying with a furry companion.

Road Crew

If you’re moving your pet by car, start making a list of items you’ll need for a pet travel kit, including a carrier, collapsible dishes, favorite toys, water, food and treats. If your pet doesn’t typically travel by car, start practicing with short trips around the neighborhood. Ask your vet about medications that might help relax the animal. Having a “clean-up kit” in the car is also a good idea for regular accidents and/or motion sickness situations. Stopping for leisurely meals is much harder with pets, so plan your drive-throughs, leg-stretches and potty breaks in advance.

Familiar Surroundings

Because you’re in a “new” home, often with new décor and furniture, you may also want to replace your pet’s old favorites. But it’s better to use your pet’s familiar food and water dishes, bed, blanket and toys to make them feel more at home. Try to keep things in the same locations as they were in your previous residence, as well, to make the move easier on your pet.

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