Family Moving With Dog

Most people realize that moving is incredibly stressful but as stressful as it is for you, imagine how your furry best friend feels. They will change homes and most likely not understand why. They may even feel confused at some point and not know why you are packing your items and whether they are going with you. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make moving with a pet a lot easier, both on you and the pet. This includes everything from legal issues to comfort during and after traveling. Here are the things to keep in mind during the move.

Go To The Vet

No matter where you are moving, whether it is right down the street or halfway across the world, you should always take your four-legged friend to the vet before doing so. The main reason for this is that the process of traveling can put a lot of stress on a dog or cat (or other animal) so if they are not completely healthy, it can worsen any sickness they have.

Take Your Pet To The Vet

Health Certificate

If you are traveling by plane or internationally, you should always ask your doctor for a certificate of health as no plane will allow your furry friend to fly without one. Be sure to check with the airline ahead of time for any specific requirements, such as what the certificate needs to include. The same is true of international moves as many countries have laws about the health of animals brought in. Some states will also have requirements so do your research. If you check ahead of time and make sure you have the proper documentation moving with a pet will be much easier.


Anytime you are moving with a pet, it is important they have the proper identification. Make sure that they are wearing tags and the information on them is up-to-date and if they have a microchip check the information stored there as well. This is usually a requirement for bringing your pet on a plane with you or if you have hired a pet moving service. It is equally important, however, if you are moving the pet yourself in your car as they may get overwhelmed and try to dart out. If they have the proper identification, you will have no problem being reunited with your best friend.


If you are moving with a pet a long distance and traveling by car, it is smart to ask your vet for a sedative. This will allow your dog or cat to stay calm during the journey. It is especially great if your pet does not like going in the car (like many cats). One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you cannot use sedatives if your pet is flying as this will make it harder for them to breathe on the airplane and could even cause death. All airlines will make sure you did not give your furry friend a sedative before they allow them to board.

Dog Moving By Car

Car Travel

If you are moving with a pet by car, there are some specific things to keep in mind. First of all, make sure that you pack enough toys, food and water for the length of the trip. Despite having the food on hand, try not to give them too much during the trip as this can give them an upset stomach, especially if they eat in the car. You should also be sure to take regular breaks to allow your dog to get some exercise and stretch their legs. This is also important for leash trained cats; if your pet is not leash trained, then you should not let them out at rest stops as most require animals to stay on a leash.

If your pet has not been in the car before and you will be moving a long distance, it is a good idea to take them on several small car trips before the move so they will start to get used to it.


Many pets get overwhelmed by the process of packing. Some do not know what is going on and simply see a lot of excitement while others know you are packing your things and think it means you are leaving… without them. In either case, the excitement or stress of packing may over-stimulate your dog or cat. If you think this will be the case, it is best to ask a family member, friend or neighbor to watch them while you pack. This will also let you focus on packing instead of worrying about your best friend. If you think your pet will be fine, try simply putting them in a different area of the house while you pack so they do not damage any of your items or get in your way.


Unpacking is just as stressful as packing for your dog or cat so you need to take care with this as well. The best idea is to allow them to explore the new home (with supervision) and then place them out-of-the-way in a large crate or behind a pet barrier in the kitchen. This way they will have at least seen the new place which makes them less likely to want to break out but they will still be safely out-of-the-way. Just keep in mind that you should check on your pet regularly to give them affection and make sure they are adjusting to the new move.

Show Them Around

One of the most important things to keep in mind when moving with a pet is what to do after the move. Your furry friend will want to get to know their new home and simply exploring the house won’t be enough. If you have a dog (or other leash-trained pet), try taking them on a walk around the neighborhood. This is a great way for them to release any energy they have pent-up from traveling and get to know the new place, which will help them relax.

Placing Their Toys

One thing that will help your furry friend deal with the process of moving with a pet is if they are able to find their favorite toys after the move. This will show them that they are home, even if it does look and smell different. Be sure to put their toys (as well as food, water and bedding) in an obvious spot and show them where it is. If you have cats, be sure to show them the litter box right away. 

Show Your Pet Their Toys