11 Tips for Moving with Pets

11 Tips for Moving with Pets

Moving homes can be a daunting task for anyone, and for those with furry family members, it can get even more challenging. With a rising number of families owning pets—did you know that 66% of American households own a pet, according to Forbes?—there's an increasing need for guidance on moving with them. Whether you have a curious cat, a devoted dog, or a bubbly bird, this guide aims to make the moving process a little easier for you and your pets.

Fast Facts about Pet Relocation:

  • A PetRelocation.com poll reveals that a majority of pet owners, either always or occasionally, take their pets on vacation.
  • An impressive percentage of pet owners have either relocated with their pets or plan to in the future.
  • A significant 65% of those polled have transported a pet by airplane.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that over 99% of pets in good health travel without any hiccups.

Acclimate your pet to packing materials and containers

For pets, the sight of unfamiliar boxes and the sound of packing tape can be unnerving. Imagine seeing your world slowly get packed away into unknown territory. To make this transition smoother for them, introduce them to these materials gradually. Let them sniff around, play with the empty boxes, and make it a game. Over time, this newfound familiarity will help them view the moving process as less of a threat and more of an adventure.

Maintain consistency in their daily routine

Our pets are creatures of habit. The slightest change can sometimes throw them off balance, affecting their mood and behavior. When you're in the midst of moving chaos, it's essential to keep their routine as unchanged as possible. Whether it's their feeding time, walk schedule, or playtime, ensuring consistency provides them with a sense of normalcy amidst the whirlwind of change.

Engage them with fun activities

Moving can be tedious, and in between all that packing and planning, it's crucial to remember that our pets need entertainment and engagement. Carve out some time to play with them, offer new toys, or introduce interactive games. Keeping their minds stimulated will not only distract them from the upheaval but also build positive associations with the move.

Set aside a calming space exclusively for them

In the din of shifting and the coming and going of movers, pets can feel overwhelmed. Designating a serene corner or room exclusively for them, filled with their favorite toys, bed, and some calming music, can make a world of difference. This sanctuary will provide them with an escape where they can retreat and feel safe when things get too hectic.

Schedule a visit to your veterinarian

Our pets can't tell us if they're feeling unwell. But the stress of moving can sometimes lead to health issues. Before the move, it's wise to consult with your vet, ensuring that all vaccinations are up-to-date and discussing any concerns you might have. It's always better to be safe and ensure our pets are in the best of health before diving into the moving process.

Educate yourself on the pet regulations of your new locale

Each city or state might have different rules and regulations regarding pet ownership. Before you move, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with these laws. Whether it's leash laws, specific breed restrictions, or requirements for outdoor spaces, being informed will help you ensure that your pet's transition to the new environment is as smooth and compliant as possible.

Plan for pet-friendly stops if journeying across states

The journey can often be as taxing as the move itself, especially if it involves crossing states. If you're driving to your new home, it's essential to plot out pet-friendly accommodations along the way. These stops will allow your pet to stretch, play, and rest in an environment that caters to their needs. Remember, the journey is a part of the experience, and making it enjoyable for your pet will set a positive tone for their new beginning.

Ensure your pet stays close and secured for their safety

During the moving process, the commotion can be overwhelming for our furry friends. With doors opening and closing, moving boxes piling up, and unfamiliar faces walking in and out, there's an increased risk of your pet making an unexpected escape. It's paramount for pet owners to keep their pets ahead of the chaos, possibly in a secure room or with a trusted pet sitter. This ensures that they remain safe, reducing stress for both the pet and the owner.

Set aside an emergency moving kit for your pet

Just as humans need an essentials bag during the move, our animal friends require one, too. A few days before moving day, prepare a bag with your pet's essentials: food bowls, a few days' worth of food, favorite toys, grooming tools, health records, and any medications they might need. This overnight kit ensures that amid the packing and unpacking, your pet's needs remain a priority.

Safeguard your pet for vehicle travel

When it comes to moving with pets, especially over a long distance, it's crucial to make the journey ahead as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If your pet isn't used to car journeys, consider taking short drives in the weeks leading up to the move to create a positive association. Remember to never leave a dog unattended in a car. For those with pets prone to car sickness, consult with a new vet for potential remedies.

Pet-proof the new surroundings before their arrival

The new environment poses a host of unfamiliar surroundings for your pet. Before your pet arrives at the new house, make sure you've taken steps to pet-proof the space. Check for any spaces where a pet might hide or escape, secure trash cans, and remove any toxic plants or substances. For cat owners, ensuring the litter box is set up in a more permanent location helps ease the transition.

Give them time: Pets and their new home adjustment

Moving can be a whirlwind of emotions, not just for humans but for our pets as well. The adjustment period varies; while most pets might feel at home within a few weeks, others might take a bit longer. Gradually introduce them to the new space, allowing them to explore each square footage of the new environment at their own pace. Keeping familiar items like their food bowls, favorite toys, and scratching post close can help reduce stress and make them feel more at ease in their new surroundings.

Tips for moving with a menagerie of companions

Moving processes differ for each pet species, so understanding specific needs is crucial for pet owners.


Moving with fish requires unique attention. Transferring them in their own tank water and avoiding feeding them a day before the move helps reduce water contamination. Considering air travel? Consult a pet transportation company for the safest options.

Small rodents

For guinea pigs, hamsters, or mice, the moving process can be daunting. These little critters can be stressed easily. Ensuring their cages are secure, with familiar surroundings like their favorite toys and a regular routine, can ease the transition.


Birds are sensitive to change. Feathered friends, when moving, should be kept in a comfortable cage with familiar objects. Reducing exposure to extreme temperatures and consulting a new veterinarian about health certificate requirements is also essential.


Our cold-blooded companions have their specific needs. For reptiles, maintaining a consistent temperature during the journey and ensuring their terrariums are secure is of utmost importance. Engaging a pet transportation company knowledgeable about exotic pets can provide added assurance.

Fast Facts about Pet Relocation

  • According to a poll by PetRelocation.com, a majority of people either always or occasionally bring their pets along on vacations.
  • A significant majority either have relocated or intend to move with their animal companions.
  • Close to two-thirds of those polled have flown with their pet.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that the vast majority of healthy pets journey without incident.

About Barbara Major

Barbara Major stands tall among the top 1% of agents, a testament to her exceptional service and deep-rooted integrity. If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about the Marin real estate market, contact Barbara Major today.

*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash


Barbara knows real estate in Marin County, and she is very well-connected. She guarantees that if you work with her you will be in experienced, knowledgeable, and expert hands.

Follow Me on Instagram