Moving With Pets

While your new home may be great for pets, you have to take some precautions when you bring your hairy (or feathered or scaly) babies on the road with you. Here are a few tips to keep them safe and comfortable and as stress-free as possible as you go from one house to another.

Ask Your Vet Before You Leave

Checkmark-Iconhave your pet examined by your veterinarian

Xmark-Iconcollect up your pet health certificate and vaccination records

Checkmark-Iconask your vet for a reference to a doctor in the new city

Xmark-Icondiscuss sedation for your pet during the trip

Checkmark-Iconhave your pet vaccinated 30 days prior to overseas moves

Xmark-Iconget a current rabies tag if you don’t already have one

Get Your Records Straight

Checkmark-Iconname of pet

Xmark-Iconspecies and gender

Checkmark-Iconlicense number

Xmark-Icondescription including color and markings

Checkmark-Iconowner’s name, telephone number, address

Xmark-Iconveterinarian’s name, telephone number, address

Checkmark-Iconemergency information

Xmark-Iconvaccination and appointment dates

Checkmark-Iconconditions and illnesses

Xmark-Icontreatments and medication

Legalities And Regulations

Checkmark-Iconair transport of cats and dogs less than 8 weeks old is prohibited

Xmark-Iconknow that some states have a mandatory border inspection of all animals

Checkmark-Iconfind out your destination state’s pet entry regulations

Xmark-Iconapply for an entry permit if needed

Checkmark-Iconcheck local pet control and licensing ordinances

Xmark-Iconsecure a form of identification to your pet’s collar

Making Travel Plans

Checkmark-Iconhave one person in your family take responsibility for your pets during move

Xmark-Iconbook air 4 weeks before domestic moves, 6-8 weeks before international

Checkmark-Icontalk to your travel agent for suggestions and help planning shipping

Xmark-Iconbegin acclimating your pet to the shipping container several weeks ahead

Checkmark-Iconmake plans for pick-up and boarding if your pet arrives before you

Xmark-Icontake your pets to visit their new home to familiarize them with the habitat

Checkmark-Iconwhen booking a hotel, make sure the management allows pets

Moving Small Animals

Xmark-Iconbirds and rodents may be moved in their own cages

Checkmark-Iconremove all water from cages to prevent spilling

Xmark-Iconkeep bird cages covered to protect from drafts and stress

Checkmark-Iconfeed small animals regularly and water at rest stops

Xmark-Iconhave tropical fish packed by a professional at your fish store

Checkmark-Iconother fish may be packed in a half-full plastic bag

Xmark-Iconcarry as much of the aquarium water with you as you can

Checkmark-Icontanks smaller than 5 gallons can be moved in-tact in the car

Xmark-Iconit is generally not necessary to feed fish during the trip

On Moving Day

Checkmark-Iconfeed your pet no less than 5-6 hours before the move

Xmark-Icongive your pet water and any medications 1-2 hours before leaving

Checkmark-Iconexercise your pet before confining it to the shipping container

Xmark-Iconlimit feeding of your pets to once a day during the move

Checkmark-Iconkennel should allow your pet room to stand, lie down, and turn around

Xmark-Iconplan regular stops for water and exercise if possible

Checkmark-Iconmake sure you or your consignee has the Air Waybill for picking up your pet

Transportation Options

Xmark-Iconanimals may not travel on the moving van

Checkmark-Icononly seeing eye dogs may travel on trains or buses

Xmark-Iconpets may travel on airlines if crated in a proper container

Checkmark-Iconsome airlines allow pets in the cabin if the crate will fit under your seat

Xmark-Iconlarger pets must be stored in the cargo area as “air freight”

Checkmark-Iconpets traveling in your car should be properly restrained for safety

Xmark-Iconyou may ship your pet by air even if you are not traveling with it

Checkmark-Iconthe shipping container must be legibly marked with your contact info

Xmark-Iconyou must provide appropriate health documentation for your pet

Checkmark-Iconyou generally must pay for shipping charges in advance

Travel Necessities

Xmark-Iconveterinarian papers and medical records

Checkmark-Iconpet’s bed or blankets

Xmark-Iconleash or harness

Checkmark-Iconpaper towels or rags for cleaning up messes

Xmark-Iconscooper and plastic bags or litter box and litter

Checkmark-Iconportable kennel

Xmark-Iconfavorite toy and treats

Checkmark-Iconbrush and comb

Xmark-Iconfood, dish, and water — plus can opener if canned food

When You Arrive

Checkmark-Iconkeep your animal confined for a few weeks until settled in

Xmark-Iconput your pet’s dish, litter box, and other supplies in familiar locations

Checkmark-Iconallow your pet to explore the home to get comfortable

Xmark-Icontake your pet to visit the new veterinarian to get acquainted

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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