When relocating to a new home with pets in tow, there are a few things to keep in mind. Like us, pets are creatures of habit, and moving can be stressful for them. The good news is that with a little bit of advance planning, even moving with your beloved pets can go relatively smoothly. We’ve developed this checklist to help make moving with them a little easier.
Two Months Before the Move
- Plan the actual logistics of transporting your pet. Determine whether you and your pet will be traveling by car or plane. If traveling by plane, you will need to purchase an airline-approved pet carrier. Whichever method of transportation you choose, make sure each pet has a comfortable crate or carrier to sleep in.
- Sort through what is staying and what is going. Now is the time to get rid of stained or ripped blankets and damaged toys, and make sure your pet will be traveling with essentials such as a favorite blanket and toy.
- Familiarize your pets with their crates/carriers. Introduce your pets to their crates or carriers ahead of time. Put a familiar blanket or plush pet bed inside. Also, start feeding each animal in its crate so that he or she will associate the crate with positive things. Cats may require a little extra time to feel comfortable in their carriers.
- Get comparison quotes from moving companies. Contact up to three pet-friendly moving companies and obtain detailed moving quotes. Verify each company’s experience, and make sure they have the appropriate licenses and insurance. It is essential to get either in-home or virtual video estimates since there are many variables involved with a move, and you’ll want to know the exact expense ahead of time.
- Consider seasonal issues and book your movers ahead of time. In the moving business, certain seasons are busier than others. For example, many people move during the summer when school is out. Book your move at least two months in advance if possible, to ensure you get the movers you want and the dates you want. An experienced moving company will advise you on any potential issues with moving to your new city during certain times.
- Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Call your vet’s office to make sure you can get in for a vet appointment at least a month before your move. That upcoming appointment will be a good time to discuss any concerns about transporting your pet, and you’ll also be able to get any required vaccinations while you’re there.
One Month Before the Move
- Research local pet laws regarding vaccinations and licensing. Not only will your pet need to be vaccinated at least 28 days before air travel, but you’ll also want to make sure you’ll be in compliance with the vaccination and pet licensing laws in your new area.
- Visit your vet. While you’re at the vet appointment, make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations—especially rabies—and consider also getting your dog or cat microchipped. During the visit, you may also want to discuss medications such as calming tablets and sprays for reducing anxiety during the move.
- Select a local mover. If you haven’t already done so, select the mover you felt the most comfortable with, and that was able to answer all of your pet-related moving questions.
- Visit the new neighborhood with your pet if possible. When moving locally with dogs, it’s best to take them for walks through the new neighborhood often to get them used to the sights and smells.
- Create a packing list and start packing several boxes each day. Create a list of essential items your pet needs during the move, such as food, bowls, leashes, and cleaning supplies, and start packing whatever you won’t need for a while. Some moving companies offer full packing services and enlisting their help with this step can save you a lot of time.
One Week Before the Move
- Arrange payment with your local movers and make sure they have the necessary paperwork. If you haven’t already done so, set up a payment plan with your movers, so you don’t have to worry about it on moving day. Verify your quote again for what the total cost of the move will be. Make sure they have all the required documentation and that everything is a go.
- Gather and arrange moving boxes. Now that it’s time to get more serious about packing, keep bringing in boxes gradually instead of introducing too many boxes at once. Your pets will get used to the scent of the boxes as you start to pack and label them. If you have cats, make sure you know where they are before sealing up any boxes.
- Label and pack pet medications. Carefully label any medications your pet might be taking, including heartworm and flea and tick meds. (Medications they will need right away will stay with you if the pet will be traveling with you.)
- Keep up with daily pet routines. Following your pets’ typical daily routines will help them stay comfortable as moving day approaches.
- Feed and walk your pets before the movers arrive. With energetic dogs, it’s ideal to walk them before the movers get there. Also, make sure you feed them, so they’ll be as comfortable and happy as possible while the movers are loading up your stuff.
- Put your pets away while the movers are there. Keep your fur babies in a dedicated room with their things or have someone watch them for the day so the movers can load up your belongings without interruption.
- Verify the identity of the movers. Request identification from your movers when they arrive. You can never be too careful.
- Review and sign moving documents. Be sure to review the fine print on the moving documents before you sign anything.
- Bring cleaning supplies with you on your trip. Bring an extra litter box or puppy pads, and some cleaning products and paper towels in case your pets have accidents while traveling.
After the Move
- Pet-proof the new house. Make sure all cords are tucked away and hide anything away that your pet might be tempted to chew. A stressful situation can sometimes trigger destructive behaviors in pets. Providing appropriate toys will ensure that your pet has a healthy outlet to relieve stress.
- Unpack pet items first. Allow your pets to become comfortable in their new environment by unpacking their familiar items first. Set up a quiet area for your pet to rest and sleep. Ideally, you will confine them to this area while people are still going in and out a lot so they won’t be underfoot. This will also help prevent their escape during a confusing time.
- Gradually introduce your pets to their new home. Give your pets time to acclimate by giving them access to other parts of the house one room at a time. This can help prevent potty accidents.
- Give your pets plenty of attention. Playing with your pets in their new home will help them feel more comfortable there.
- Explore the new house, yard, and neighborhood. Help your dog become acclimated to the new setting by walking him and allowing plenty of sniffing. Taking him for a walk will also teach him the way home in case he gets out. With indoor cats, set them up in a sunny window so they can see the sights.
- Relax and unwind with your fur babies. Once your pets have settled into your new home, take some time to relax and snuggle with your happy, well-adjusted pets.
Relocating to a new home can be a major ordeal for your furry friends but following this moving checklist will make it much more manageable. With a little planning and a reputable mover, the transition to your new home with your pets will be virtually effortless. MoveDay is a full-service local moving company with the experience and know-how to help you and your pets move safely and comfortably. Find out more about our full suite of moving services and get a free moving quote today.