Are you part of the 32 million people who are moving? If you’re also one of the 84.9 million households with a pet, moving becomes a little more complicated.

Just because you have a furry family member doesn’t mean the move has to be difficult. With proper planning, you can prepare your pet for the move to make it less stressful for everyone involved.

Keep reading to learn how to make moving with a pet easier.

Schedule a Pre-Moving Vet Visit

Adult pets usually need vet checkups yearly to make sure they’re healthy and to administer any necessary vaccinations. If your pet is close to needing a checkup, schedule it before the move to make sure everything is up to date.

Even if the next checkup is months away, it’s a good idea to do a pre-move vet check to ensure your pet is healthy. This is also a good time to talk to your vet about anxiety, motion sickness, or other potential issues.

If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll need an interstate health certificate for most states. You might need to send the certificate before you arrive, so check with the state you’re moving to

for verification on the requirements. Most states have a state Veterinary Office or Department of Agriculture that provides the regulations and requirements.

Finding a new vet where you’re moving before you leave prepares you for those first checkups in your new home. Having a vet in mind is a good idea in case your pet falls ill or gets hurt shortly after the move.

Update Collars and Microchips

Before you move, update the information on your pet’s collar and microchips with your new address. Ensure your phone number is accurate, so people can contact you if you get separated from your pet.

If your pet doesn’t normally wear a collar, start putting one on them now. Having a collar on your pet can mean the difference in whether or not you find your furry family members should they run away during the move. Your pet might resist wearing a collar if you suddenly try to put one on the day you move.

Pack copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records to have on hand. Ensure you have rabies tags affixed securely to the collar.

Leave Out Moving Boxes

You’ll likely start packing boxes weeks before the move anyway. Instead of hiding those boxes from your pets, leave them out to get them familiar with them.

Seeing the boxes can help your pets prepare for the changes that are about to happen. It also gives them a chance to sniff and investigate the boxes. Try to create a positive feeling around the boxes by giving your pet treats when they explore the boxes.

Familiarize Your Pet With the Carrier and Car

You’ll likely use a carrier for at least part of the moving journey. If your pet isn’t used to being in the carrier, start introducing it several weeks before the move.

Leave the crate out to let your pet sniff and explore it. Put treats inside the crate to make it more appealing and associate it with positive things.

You can also start putting their food in the crate. Eventually, try closing the door while your pet eats. Work up to a short car ride in the crate.

If you’re moving your pet in your car, start taking regular car rides using the restraint method you’ll use when you move. If you’re using a pet harness for your dog, take a drive to the dog park using the harness. Gradually increase the length of the drives to get your pet used to longer rides.

Keep Routines the Same

While you want to introduce the changes before the move, you also want to keep things familiar. Maintain your pet’s normal schedule as much as possible in the days and weeks

leading up to the move. Even though you’re busy with the last-minute moving logistics, continue walking, playing with, and feeding your pets as part of their normal routine.

Pack a Pet Overnight Bag

If the trip to your new home is a long one, pack a separate bag with your pet’s essentials in it. This ensures you can easily find what you need both during the move and once you arrive.

Include the following items:

· Food

· Water

· Food and water dishes

· Treats

· Toys

· Bed

· Blanket or other comfort items

· Litter

· Medication

· Leash or harness

By packing those items separately, you’re ready to go on moving day with everything your pet needs to move safely.

While water might not seem like something you need to pack, it’s a good idea to bring your own from home since your pet is used to it. Water can be very different from one area to the next. If you simply give your pet local water, the differences could cause tummy issues.

Choose Your Transport Method

The two main methods of transporting your pet are in your vehicle or by air. Traveling by car gives you the most freedom with your pet.

Decide if you want to keep your pet in the carrier in the car or let the pet move around freely. You can also use a pet harness or pet seatbelt if your pet doesn’t do well in a crate. This allows them some freedom while keeping them safely restrained.

If you’re traveling by air, your pet can only be in the cabin with you if it’s small enough to fit in a carry-on-size pet carrier that can go under the seat. Otherwise, pets go in a cargo area that’s pressurized. Booking a nonstop flight when possible makes the trip easier on your pet.

You can also hire a pet transportation service to transport your pet for you. You can choose from a variety of pet transport services to ensure your pet gets to your destination safely, and you can focus on your move. Follow the pet transport tips from the company you choose to make the process easier.

Plan for Overnight Accommodations

If your long-distance move involves one or more overnight stays, plan for your pet-friendly accommodations before you leave. Some hotels allow you to have pets in your room. Those hotels might charge extra fees or have restrictions on breeds, ages, and sizes of animals.

Make sure you have a carrier or crate on hand if you plan to leave your pet in the hotel room. If an employee enters the room to clean or provide supplies, this ensures your pet stays safe and doesn’t run away.

Set Up a Safe Space for Moving Day

Doors often get left open on moving day, and there’s lots of action that can cause stress for your pet. If possible, find a spot away from your house to keep your pet for the day. Having a pet sitter or sending your pet to doggy daycare keeps your pets away from potential danger and lets you focus on packing and moving.

If taking your pet somewhere else isn’t an option, create a safe space within the home. For a dog, that might be a fenced-in backyard. You can also set up a quiet bedroom as a spot for your pets to hang out while the moving truck gets loaded.

Check in on your pet regularly. Keep a regular schedule as much as possible with walks and feeding like normal.

Tire Out Your Pet

Before packing up your pet for the journey to the new home, get in plenty of exercise. The exercise can help reduce anxiety and tire your pet out to encourage sleeping during the move. Take your dog for lots of walks or play with your pets at home before you depart on your trip.

Plan for Breaks

When traveling by car, schedule lots of breaks during the trip. Plan to stop at least once every two to three hours. This gives your pets a chance to stretch their legs, burn off energy, and go to the bathroom.

Attach your dog’s leash before opening the doors. If you have cats, always attach a harness if you plan to let your feline out of the car. Your cat might not run away at home, but under stress in unfamiliar territory, you never know how your cat will react.

Secure Windows

Engage the window locks if you let your pets run free in the car. A pet can easily step on the window button and open it without you realizing it. If you have the windows open, crack them just a little to keep your pet safely inside the vehicle.

A cool vehicle can help reduce motion sickness for pets. If you don’t want to drive with the windows open, consider running the air conditioning to keep it cool and make your pet feel better.

Avoid Tranquilizers

Your first instinct might be to use tranquilizers on your pet during the move. This isn’t recommended since it can cause breathing or other issues for pets. Sedatives lower heart rate, respiration rate, and body temperature.

Sedatives can also cause more stress for your pet. The grogginess can cause your pet to feel confused, worried, or scared. Pets might have a greater risk of injury during the move due to lost balance while under the sedative.

While tranquilizers seem like the easy answer, the risks are often not worth it to concerned pet parents.

Use Natural Stress Relievers

While tranquilizers aren’t recommended, you can use other natural products that help relieve stress in pets. Some pets feel calmer with the use of lavender oil. You can put some on your dog’s blanket or bed for the trip.

Synthetic pet pheromones can help calm anxiety. There are specific pheromones for different species, so you’ll need dog pheromones for your pups and cat pheromones for your felines. They come in the form of collars, sprays, and wet wipes, making them easy to apply while you’re moving.

Anxiety vests might help some dogs feel more comfortable during the move. The vest wraps around your dog and applies gentle pressure, similar to a hug, which can help some dogs feel at ease.

Never Leave Your Pet Unattended

During the transport process, never leave your pet alone in the vehicle, even for a short time. It’s tempting to run into the gas station or restaurant and leave your pet alone. But cars quickly overheat, and your pet might become scared.

Take turns going into restrooms or other places. Order takeout food or go through a drive-through to get your meals without leaving your pet in the car.

Keep Your Cool

Pets pick up on your mood and feed off of it. Moving can be stressful, but if you’re acting stressed, worried, or upset, your pet might act the same way.

Keeping your cool can help your pets stay calm throughout the move process. Focus on spending time with your pet, which pet owners often find relaxing. Find ways to deal with your stress productively to set a calming tone in your home.

Set Up Familiar Things in the New Home

Having familiar items easily accessible when you get to your new home helps transition your pet to the new surroundings. Set up a space with your pet’s bed, toys, and food and water bowls right away to help them feel comfortable.

Some pets do best if they have a single room to explore at first. Put their familiar items in that room and gradually let them explore the rest of the house.

You’ll be busy unloading, but make sure to spend time with your pet to provide reassurance in the unfamiliar location. Stay home with your pet as much as possible in the first few weeks to make the home feel like a safe space.

Be patient with your pet after you arrive. Some pets take weeks to settle into their new homes.

If your pet still seems anxious or isn’t settling in well, contact your new vet for a checkup. The vet might recommend anxiety medicine or other coping methods to help your pet adjust.

Prepare for Moving With a Pet

Moving with a pet doesn’t have to be stressful. Planning ahead, reducing stress for your furry family member, and ensuring your pets stay safe can make the move much easier.

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