How to Move Your Pet

No matter what kind of pet you own, relocating an animal, especially over long distances, will require special consideration. The goal of any moving plan that includes the family pet should be to reduce or entirely remove stress from the situation. That’s why we’ve compiled the following information; so that you are well prepared to move with your animal and so that your pet doesn’t have to suffer from the high stress levels often associated with long distance moving.

Plan Before You Act

Pre-planning for the move is going to be one of the most important steps you take if you are moving with your pets. This step will require that you do a number of things, but the best place to start is by doing research on the laws and animal related requirements of the place you are moving to. You should start at the top, by contacting the State Veterinarian to get information on state laws. If you have an exotic animal, this is where you will get the information you will need regarding keeping them in your new state.

In most cases, you’ll find state laws are fairly similar, but local ordinances can vary greatly. For this reason, your next call should go to the local City Clerk of Court’s office in the area you’re moving to. Ask about specific ordinances that pertain to licensing pets, the number of pets allowed per home, and what kind of pets are allowed within the city limits.

Finally, don’t forget to head to your current Veterinarian to get a copy of your pet’s current health records. If you are crossing state lines, you will probably need this, and if you don’t there, having them on hand will make it easier to license them in the new area. This will also save you trouble when you go to find a new Veterinarian in your new home.


Before you head out on the road, it’s important that you gather a few important documents. Having these things on hand will make it easier for you to deal with the transition on behalf of your pet.

  • A recent photograph of your pet will help in the event that your pet is lost at some point along the way.
  • A health certificate that is less than ten days old may be required by your new state. This will generally include any shot records your pet has as well.
  • If you have an exotic animal, be sure that you have all of the proper permits to keep them.
  • No matter how your pet ultimately travels, be certain that you have identification attached to them that includes pertinent information like the pet’s name, your name, your phone number, and your new address.

Moving Methods

There are a number of methods that you can employ when you are moving a pet over long distances. It’s a good idea to look over all of them to find the one that is best for you and your situation. Once you decide which one you will be using, take time to ensure you meet all the requirements and/or are prepared for moving day with this method in mind.

  • Pets by Air – Most airlines allow animals, whether they are accompanied by their owners or not. If the animal is too large to travel in the cabin, they will have to fly as freight, which may require that you plan the trip during a time of the year when temperatures are not extreme in either direction. You can minimize the stress that your pet feels by avoiding plane changes and long layovers.
  • Pets by Car – Most people choose to take their pets to their new home with them in the car. This is one of the most simple methods, but you should always take time to acclimate your pet to the car if they are not used to it by taking short rides ahead of moving day. Remember, never leave your pet in the vehicle alone, especially when the weather is warm. On these days, temperatures can spike to fatal levels inside the vehicle within minutes.

General Tips for Moving Pets

Regardless of what methods you use, or where you are moving to, remember that your pet thrives on the routine that you provide them with. Keep their routine as close to what they are used to as possible to reduce the stress that they ultimately feel. And don’t forget everything they will need for the trip they are about to make; having food, brushes, favorite toys, and medications on hand will make your job as a pet owner that much easier.