Woman, man, and a dog preparing for cross-country moving

Brief Guide to Cross Country Moving With Pets

When moving with pets, it’s important to remember that animals can get stressed just like humans. Luckily, there are specific steps you can take that will make the transition a lot easier for your cat, dog, or any other animal. Follow this guide, and your furry friends will feel at home again very quickly.

Carefully Plan Everything When Moving Pets Across the Country

Relocations generally require some preparation, especially if you’re unsure how to move with pets. To avoid any complications during your move, there are a few things you should finish up:

  • Contact your vet – When relocating across the country, contact your vet and take all the records and prescriptions with you.
  • Check if a permit is required – Different states have varying regulations regarding different critters. Make sure you have all the permits if you own any exotic animals. Furthermore, check if your cat or dog had all the necessary shots that the state requires.
  • Prepare an overnight kit – The kit should have enough food, toys, kitty litter, and everything else required to take care of the furry friend during the first few days after the move.
  • Update their information – After you’ve settled, don’t forget to update the information on your pet’s microchip or tags with the new phone number and address.
A woman holding a to-do list
You’ll have an easier day if you plan everything before the move

Preparing Your Pet for Transportation Will Make the Travel Less Stressful

Animals experience moving stress in a similar way that people do. The first step is to help your pet get used to being in a carrier. If they’ve never been inside one, slowly introduce the idea by placing a blanket or a toy they love and leave the door open. After getting comfortable with the carrier, the next thing you should do is familiarize them with car travel. Cats will have a more difficult time than dogs, but a few short 20-minute rides should be enough to get them accustomed to all the noise. For some animals, traveling is more comfortable when they can’t see their environment changing outside. Cover their carriers with a blanket, and they’ll be good to go.

A happy canine looking out the car window.
Canines love to travel by car

How Do I Move My Pets to Another State?

If you’re unsure how to move pets across the country, choosing the right option is crucial. For coast to coast relocations, flying is probably the best option. While airlines transport hundreds of thousands of animals every year, the process is not as simple as just showing up at the airport. For example, How do you relocate a dog? Most commercial flights allow small dogs and cats on board, but they’ll require proof that the animal has been vaccinated recently. If you want your furry friend to be placed in a carrier under your seat, you’ll have to pay a fee ranging from $100 to $150. Regulations are strict for larger dogs, set by the International Air Transport Association and the Department of Agriculture. They must be placed in kennels and fly in the plane’s cargo area. Know that most airlines won’t transport animals if the outside temperature is too warm or too hot, which makes flying viable only during fall or spring. Most importantly, take caution administering meds, as they may have severe negative effects during flight.

Driving is the other option, but it’s more viable for a local move than a cross country move. If you go this route, plan a few extra stops for a bathroom break. You’ll also need some extra gear for the road, such as a restraint harness, no-spill water bowls, a few toys, and a seat cover. If the pet gets carsick, feed it before embarking on the trip and during breaks. You can also hire professionals to take care of your furry friend. However, a mover may charge around $1,000 for a small pet, which may be too much if you have a moving out for the first time budget.

A Smaller Pet Requires Different Transportation Methods

While cats or dogs are the most common pet types, many others require different methods of transportation:

  • Can you move with fish? – Fish have a strong stress response, so any move can be traumatizing or even fatal. While not ideal, you can transport them in bags filled with water from their old tank. However, this is unusable when cross country moving, so it’s better to leave them with a friend. You also don’t have to throw out the tank and the equipment. Just place them in a storage unit until you get another fish.
  • Move with a bird safely – Even the most loyal birds are known to fly off If left outside their cages during transport. While they might hate the idea of being locked out for too long, it’s better than to risk them getting lost or hurt.
  • How to move with guinea pigs – These critters don’t like to be jostled around. Since their hearts are particularly susceptible to stress, take care of them by transporting them in warm, comfortable carriers.
A cat inside a carrier
Smaller animals can fly in the passenger cabin but must stay inside their carriers

Allow Your Pet to Get Used to Its New Home

If you’re moving to another state alone, but with a pet, “inspecting the property” should be one of the first things on your new apartment checklist. Ensure that no toxic chemicals are lying around the floor that your dog or cat can come into contact with. Having a routine will help your pet adjust more quickly, so have a schedule in place when you’ll spend some quality time. While this may take a few days, there are many ways you can ensure your cat or dog feels comfortable in their new home.

Here Are a Few Ways You Can Help Your Cat Get Used to Its New Home After Moving

Cats take longer to get accustomed to their new surroundings. It’s not uncommon for them to “disappear” for a few days, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find them immediately after entering your house. They may also be hesitant to eat or “forget” to use the litter box. There are a few ways to make your feline friend feel at home quickly. Have a room that’s entirely its own, with favorite toys, scratching post, and something, like a t-shirt that has your smell on it. Having a routine is one of the key factors in making any animal feel relaxed. If moving without a job, you’re likely to spend more time at home, which will make the cat more comfortable at the beginning.

Unlike Cats, Most Dogs Adapt Quickly to the New Environment

A dog is eager to explore its surroundings, so make sure you go on many walks. Canines need room to exercise and spend the extra energy, so they may have a harder time adjusting to a smaller apartment, especially if you used to live in a house. Once they get used to the smell, everything will be back to normal. When moving to a new city alone, remember to go out once in a while, or the dog may get too used to your presence, which can cause some problems further down the road. Still, most dogs don’t like to be left alone, so be sure you spend a lot of time with your furry friends before going back to work. If you’re living in a house, a dog needs to be inside while you’re away, as they can get anxious and even jump over the fence.

A cat inside a box
Don’t worry if your feline friend doesn’t come out for a day or two after you move in

Moving With Pets Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you won’t have to worry about experiencing any problems during your move. While each pet is unique, keeping them happy is not that difficult. With enough attention and dedication, they will feel at home once again very soon.

Don’t Forget to Ask Cross Country Movers for a Free Estimate

Now that you know what to do with pets when moving, you should finish up other details regarding your relocation. Organizing a move with an animal involved takes a lot of preparation by itself, so hiring professional movers to assist you might be a smart choice. These companies offer various moving services, and can even help you with car shipping. If you get a packing service, movers will show you how to pack glasses for moving, among other fragile objects.

You’ll also learn many neat moving hacks, which materials to use for packing, how to move a piano and other large items, and more, including tips for wrapping up your aquarium.

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