Moving with Pets? Here’s a checklist for a fun and safe move
When you're relocating to a new home with pets in tow, there are a few important aspects to take into consideration. The great news is that you can manage your move very well when you make plans ahead of time. Follow this checklist for a smooth move with your pets.
2 Months Before the Move
- Consider logistics. Do research to determine if transportation via vehicle, plane or boat is best for you, your move and your pet. No matter what you choose, make sure to get carrier-approved crates and carriers that are comfortable for your pets.
- Sort out what you're bringing and what you're leaving. Use this time to get rid of soiled blankets, damaged toys, or other unsafe products and sort through essentials that your pet needs, such as her favorite blanket or toy.
- Familiarize your pets with their crates and carriers. If you're transporting your pets via carriers or crates, make sure they get acquainted. Set up the crate so that it's a comfortable place for your pet to rest. Put a familiar blanket and your pet's favorite toy in the crate. Cats may require more time than dogs to feel comfortable, so take your time and gradually introduce your pets to their crates and carriers. You can also feed your pet in the carrier, including leaving treats, so they associate it with positive things.
- Get and compare moving quotes. Moving quotes are essential for knowing exactly what to expect when it comes to expenses. Select at least three pet-friendly moving companies and obtain detailed moving quotes from them. Verify their experience with moving pets, make sure your movers have the appropriate licenses and insurance, and get in-home or virtual video estimates. Here are some tips to make sure moving companies are legitimate.
- Consider any seasonal moving issues. For instance, if you’re moving during a popular moving season like summer, you may want to consider booking two months in advance to avoid missing out on your preferred movers. If you have an experienced moving company, they will also be able to advise you of any potential issues for moving in your new country or city during certain times.
- Schedule a vet visit. Make an appointment with your vet to make sure you can get an appointment for at least one month ahead of time to discuss moving plans and meet shot requirements. Your vet will be able to address any specific concerns you have about moving with your pet.
1 Month Before the Move
- Research required vaccinations, pet laws and licenses. Make sure you're following local laws by reviewing the vaccinations and licenses that your pets will need. Make sure all of your pet’s paperwork is in order and fully compliant, especially when moving to another country – no one is above the law (not even Johnny Depp) and a mistake or oversight can cause delays and stress.
- Visit your vet. Whether you're moving out of state or across the country, it's important to make sure your pet is up-to-date on his shots and microchipped. Prepare by visiting your vet to get core vaccinations, such as rabies shots. Talk to your vet about products like calming tablets and sprays, which can reduce any anxiety your pet might have.
- Select your mover. If you haven’t already done so, pick the mover you felt most confident in and had the best answers for your pet-related questions.
- Make a packing list. Create a list of all the essential items your pet needs, including food, bowls, blankets, tags, collars and cleaning supplies. Some moving companies offer full packing services and you can ask them to help with this step to save time.
- Visit the new home often. If you’re moving locally with dogs, start by taking them for a walk in the neighborhood so they can get familiar and comfortable with the smells and sounds of their new environment.
1 Week Before the Move
- Arrange to pay your movers. If you haven’t set up a payment arrangement for your movers, make sure you do so ahead of time to avoid worrying about it on moving day. This is also a time to verify your quote again, and what the total cost of the move will be.
- Pack medication. Label and pack any special or regular medications your pets may be taking, including heartworm or flea and tick medication.
- Gather (and leave out) moving boxes. Reduce stress for pets by gathering boxes slowly and leaving them around, instead of introducing a lot of boxes into your home all at once. Leave your boxes out so your pets can get familiar with the scent. This also helps you with packing and labeling your boxes in advance. If you have cats, make sure you know where they are before taping boxes closed.
- Double-check that requirements are met. Reconfirm with your mover that all essential documents are taken care of, including any international health certificates.
- Keep up with daily routines. Follow your pet's typical routine so they feel comfortable as your moving day approaches.
- Verify your movers. Request identification from your movers to verify who they are.
- Review and sign moving documents. Review the fine print of important moving documents before signing on the dotted line.
- Feed/walk your pets before the movers arrive. For energetic pets, it's important to play and walk your pets before the movers arrive at your home. Also, make sure your pets are fed to keep them comfortable and out from under your feet.
- Put the pets away. Put your furry friends in a dedicated room with their items or have someone watch them for the day so that your movers can pack your items without interruption.
- Bring extra cleaning supplies. Bring an additional litter box or doggie pads for any accidents while traveling.
After the Move
- Pet-proof your home. Make sure sockets have covers and cords are tucked away. Also, if your pet has a bad behavior, like eating things that aren’t food, make sure those temptations are put away first, or your pet has a healthy outlet. A stressful situation can trigger bad habits in pets just like it can with people.
- Unpack your pet’s items first. Allow your pet to get comfortable in the new home by unpacking their belongings first. Set up an area so they aren’t overwhelmed, and have a comfortable place to sleep and rest. You may want to confine them to this area while you’re still moving in and out to avoid any escapes or them getting underfoot. Even pets who aren’t normally escape artists can act strangely when in a new environment.
- Gradually introduce pets to the home. Take your time helping pets get familiar with their new homes by giving access to different parts of the house one room at a time.
- Play with your pets. Give your pets some attention by playing with them so they can feel comfortable in their new home.
- Explore the neighborhood. Help your dog get familiar with their new surroundings and allow plenty of sniffing around to get acquainted with the new environment. If you have a cat, set them up in front of a nice window or sun porch.
- Unwind. Now that your pet is settled in your new home, take some time for yourself to relax and unwind, and hopefully snuggle with your happy, healthy, well-adjusted pet.
Moving to a new home is a major deal for your pets, but you can make it an easy process by following a moving checklist. By planning ahead, moving into a new home with your pets will be effortless.
Suddath® is a full-service moving company with the experience and know-how to help you and your pets move safely and comfortably. Learn more about our full suite of moving services and helpful resources, as well as receive a free moving quote.
Download the Moving with Pets Checklist