How Do You Move With Pets?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated: July 7, 2023 / Published: March 1, 2023
move, pets

Tackling a move to a new home is a big undertaking, only compounded when you add pets into the mix. You can set yourself, and your pet, up for success with careful planning and preparation. Using the proper training, moving with pets can be safe and stress-free.

Have a Transport Plan

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across the street or the country; you’ll need to have a plan for your pet’s transportation. Your chosen transport method will largely depend on your pet and the distance you have to travel. Some of the best pet transport options include:

  • Air Transport – Small dogs and cats will be cheaper and easier to fly with, especially on long trips. If your pet can fit in a carrier under the seat, your pet can fly in the main cabin. Larger dogs or multiple animals will have to fly in the cargo hold.
  • Ground Transport – More affordable and straightforward with multiple pets, ground transport by train or personal vehicle is often the preferred method for moving to a new home. Remember that cross-country moves will take longer and could incur more costs for overnight hotel accommodations.
  • Pet Transportation Service – Using a professional pet transportation service like CitizenShipper can help streamline logistics and save you time. Pet transportation is available for air or ground transport and is affordable, safe, and easy.

Choosing your pet’s transport method during your move will entirely depend on what is best and safe for your pet. Professional shippers from transportation services will stay with your pet throughout the journey, ensuring your pet stays happy and healthy. Pet transporters will communicate regularly with you and have access to 24-hour veterinary assistance to ensure your pet stays safe.

Prepare Your Pet

Early preparation is one of the best ways to set your pet up for success. Your move will be smooth and stress-free when you and your pet know what to expect.


Choosing the right carrier will depend on your method of transportation. Hard-sided carriers tend to work better for ground transport, while soft-sided carriers are perfect for air travel.

You want to choose a carrier large enough for your pet to fit comfortably. Your pet should be able to stand, turn around, and lie down without touching the sides. Remember that airplanes and Amtrak have strict size regulations, requiring your pet’s carrier to fit under the seat.


Visit your veterinarian before any travel plans to ensure your pet is safe enough to travel during your move. Your veterinarian will do a wellness exam and check for signs of infection or parasites. During the appointment, your vet will also ensure your pet is current on necessary vaccinations.

Certain states require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, or a CVI, for entry. The CVI is necessary if traveling by air or using a pet transportation service. Most airlines and pet transportation services require a CVI issued at most ten days from departure.


Update your pet’s identification with your new address. Be sure your pet’s identification tag has an accurate and valid phone number. If your pet has a microchip, ensure the contact information is up-to-date and relevant.


Practice makes perfect when it comes to transporting your pet. Not only does training make travel logistics more manageable, but it helps reduce stress before and during transit. Allowing your pet to become familiar with new surroundings and conditions will lead to a smoother, safer move.

If you use a carrier for your pet, you’ll want to start training early. Get your pet accustomed to riding in its carrier. Start by keeping your pet in the carrier for five minutes, gradually increasing the time spent inside. Over time, your pet will feel comfortable going inside and staying in its carrier.

Prepare Your New Home

Ensuring your pet is ready for the move is the first step to creating a seamless transition. You want your pet to come into a safe space to lower stress levels and help speed up acclimation. Some of the best tips for preparing your new home include:

  • Restricted Access – When first introduced into its new home, limit how much space your pet has to explore. Confine your pet in just one room to get used to the new sights, smells, and sounds. As your pet becomes more comfortable, expand your pet’s access until your pet has free range of the house. Baby gates are easy to move around and are perfect for blocking access.
  • Comforts of Home – You want your pet to feel comfortable in its new space, starting with familiar smells from home. Give your pet its blanket, bedding, and toys. Your pet will feel more comfortable when it’s surrounded by familiar smells.
  • Maintain Routine – Cats and dogs rely on regular routines to get through their day. Although moving to a new home can be chaotic, try to maintain your pet’s normal routine as much as possible. Keep playtime, walks, and meal time consistent. The sooner your pet falls back into its patterns, the sooner it will become happy in its new home.
  • Slow and Steady – Every pet moves at its own pace, so never rush your cat or dog into a new environment. Stay calm and patient throughout the process, and remember that slow and steady wins the race.

Setting your pet up for success starts at home. Your pet will transition smoothly into its new surroundings with careful planning and preparation. It can take about two months for most cats and dogs to feel completely comfortable in their new home.


Moving to a new home is a daunting task, made even trickier by complicated pet logistics. Consider the best transportation method for your pets and your pet’s well-being. Hiring a pet transport service can make a move easier and lower stress levels. With CitizenShipper on your side, rest assured both you and your pet will safely make it to your final destination.