packing boxes

Making a Long-Distance Move With Pets

You love your pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, snake or any other type of pet, when you’re facing a move, your first thought may be: how can I make the move easier on them? Just like humans, animals sense change and can get stressed out when their routine is interrupted. Doesn’t matter if you’re changing neighborhoods or changing time zones, a move of any size or complexity can be an overwhelming prospect.

But a long-distance move does pose extra challenges – for both humans and pets. View the relocation from your pet’s perspective. Their world is being turned upside down, there are strange people in the house, they’re not getting as much attention as they used to, and suddenly everything in their home is being organized, packed up and moved.

Because they can’t communicate with you and you can’t set their minds at ease, be mindful of the anxiety your pets are feeling with the onset of a move. Short local moves can be disorienting and stressful enough, but add in a long-distance move with more layers of logistics, and you can see why this would be a disconcerting experience for a pet.

Here’s how you can make sure the moving process goes seamlessly for all involved.

Plan Ahead and Be Consistent

Moving long-distance is confusing for pets, and that confusion will start well before moving day. They’ll know something is off when the house is in disarray, you spend all your time packing, and their home doesn’t look or feel like it used to. And with your attention divided between managing the household and planning the move, they won’t be getting the same love from you as they are used to.

Be consistent: this is the best way to set them at ease. Make sure their home environment is as stable as possible, even though it is in flux. Don’t choose this time to make major changes to their diet, schedule, food, or routine. Stick with what they know for now.

Pack their favorite foods and toys to make the trip with you. Their common brands and toys will comfort them in times of stress. So stock up now. If you are taking a car to your new house, you will obviously be bringing your pet with you in the vehicle. If they don’t enjoy car rides, start getting them acclimated to the experience beforehand.

Keep Them Safe

Sudden long-distance moves will make them uneasy. Make plans to keep them in a crate or travel carrier, and make sure you know how to secure it properly in the vehicle in case of shifting.

Bring your pet to the vet before the move to get some tips, especially if your cat or dog has motion sickness or anxiety. There could be some supplements they can be prescribed to help with this. Try out the medications before the actual moving day so you know they won’t have an adverse reaction. While at the vet, check on their vaccination status and ensure they are up to date. Get a copy of their records in case you will be choosing a new vet upon arrival in the new city.

Check on Local Laws

Before beginning your journey, check out the laws in your new city, as well as any states you’ll be crossing through. Keep in mind that pets crossing state lines must have a health certificate. But because all states have different requirements, be sure to check the USDA website for more information.

Know How You Will Travel

While the movers are there to load and unload all your most precious belongings and heavy items, they won’t actually move your pet. You will have to make a decision on the optimal way to transport them that benefits all involved.

If driving in your car, see the above advice. Get a sturdy carrier or crate, and make sure it is secured properly. Plan to make regular stop-offs for water, exercise and food.

If you are flying, check the pet size restrictions of the airline so you will know if you can bring your pet on board with you. The requirements will vary with each airline so always check on carrier size limits — before you book. Some don’t allow pet travel at all.

If you have a large pet, they will have to be placed in the cargo hold. It’s best to book a direct flight so your pet doesn’t have to undergo any undue stress. Make sure they have enough food and water to make the trip comfortably. Try to time your flight to avoid extremely hot or cold weather.

Moving Day

Once you know your moving day, make sure you plan ahead to ensure your pets are safe and comfortable. You may want to call a friend or neighbor to watch your pets when the movers will be at the home so they don’t get underfoot or get stressed out. If you do keep them in the home on moving day, make sure they are properly restrained for everyone’s safety. Perhaps keep them in a room with plenty of food and water so they don’t get in the way.

Advise your movers that you have pets so they can plan ahead too. Before the movers arrive, make sure you clear all paths of debris or obstacles, and organize all pet toys and clutter. The end goal is to keep everyone safe – and that includes your family, your movers, your home, and yes, your pets.

Contact Move Central

Planning a long-distance move with pets? No problem. Move Central specializes in long-distance moves of all kinds throughout Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area. Call for a free quote on our long-distance moves now at 866-305-3919.