Moving With Pets: Tips and Tricks for the Easiest Move Possible

Matt Matasci Matt Matasci · Updated October 6, 2023

Moving your home to a new city is a big undertaking. Adding your pets to the mix can make moving logistics and planning even more difficult. But, with careful planning, you can minimize stress levels creating a smooth, easy transition for you and your furry family member.

How to Keep Your Pet Calm Before, During and After Your Move

Between the shuffling boxes and hectic movements, your pets can usually detect when their living situation is about to change. Keeping your pets calm before, during and after the move can ease your pet’s mind, making the transition to a new home easier and healthier.

Preparing Your Pet for the Move

You can count on a smooth move with your pet if you’re well-practiced and prepared for the journey. Some basic first steps for moving with pets include:

Pet Shipping with CitizenShipper
  • Veterinarian – Before your move, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. You want to ensure your pet is safe enough to travel and has the correct health certificates for your new state and location. Some states require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, sometimes called a CVI, before entering. Before your move, find a new veterinarian in your new city and have your existing vet transfer any necessary and relevant health records.
  • Identification – If your pet manages to escape, you want to ensure they are safely returned. Update your pet’s identification tags and/or microchip with your new address.
  • Pet Box – Create a dedicated box with all your pet’s supplies when packing. Pack your pet’s food, toys, bedding, and medications in one easily-identifiable box. When you set up your new home, you’ll know exactly where to look for your pet’s necessary supplies.
  • Prescriptions – Fill your pet’s prescription before you travel. If you have any delays finding a new veterinarian and getting an initial appointment in your new city, at least you know your pet will have the medicine it needs.
  • Crate – If your pet will travel in a carrier or a crate, try to get your pet used to the crate before the move. Using plenty of treats and praise will help your pet feel more comfortable. When your pet is well-versed in getting into and out of the crate, it can make travel and bathroom breaks much more straightforward.
It's important to provide comfort before moving with pets.

Keeping Your Pet Calm During the Move

To facilitate a smooth moving day, maintain your regular pet routine as much as possible. Start the day with exercise, so your pet stays relaxed during the journey. A bathroom break before departure is essential so your pet stays comfortable.

With the move underway, you’ll want to keep your pet away from the action. Movers and loud voices can scare a pet, especially if they are already coping with a new environment. A day at a pet daycare can relieve the stress of the move (and keep your pet out from under your feet as you try to work). If you have friends and family helping with the move, have one person dedicated to pet care. Having an extra set of eyes on your pet can ensure your pet stays happy, entertained, and secured in your new home.

Helping Your Pet Adjust to Their New Home

When you get into your new home, ensure your house is pet-proof. Remove any chewable wires, block off any rooms you don’t want your pet to enter, and use a gate to protect your pet from stairs or unsafe areas.

Introduce your pet to your new home slowly. Restricting your pets to one room at a time can help your pet acclimate faster to a new home. Gradually increase your pet’s available space as it feels more comfortable at home.

Try to stick to your pet’s regular routine as much as possible. Continue with your standard exercise time, walks, and playtime. Keep your pet’s feeding schedule the same, and designate one area of the home where your pet will eat. Introducing your pet’s familiar blankets and toys can make your pet feel more comfortable.

Every pet is different and accepts change at different rates. Never force your pet into an uncomfortable situation. Keep your demeanor cheerful, and remember to give plenty of praise. Most pets can take a few weeks to feel entirely comfortable in their new home.

How Do I Move My Pet Across the Country?

Long-distance pet transport is a big undertaking, even for experienced travelers. Careful planning is essential to move with your furry friend across the country successfully. Early planning can help create a smooth journey, whether traveling by plane or vehicle.


Often, driving is one of the best options when considering cross-country transport with your pet. Not only is driving less stressful for your pet than air travel, but the cross-country transport cost is often much lower than alternative transport options. Long drives across the country take careful planning, but learning how to travel with a pet in the car makes the trip easier.

You’ll want to purchase a secure, safe, and sturdy crate for your pet. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand up, lie down, and turn around. Try to get your pet used to the carrier in advance so your pet feels comfortable.

For your journey, you’ll need to pack the essentials for your pet. Make sure you have plenty of food and water, as well as collapsible bowls for easy transport. If necessary, pack your pet’s medication for the ride. Throughout your drive, you’ll need to find places for your pet to stretch its legs, exercise and use the bathroom. If your travel requires overnight accommodations, be sure to find a pet-friendly hotel for your stop.

You’ll want to pack some familiar items to keep your pet calm and stress-free throughout the ride. A favorite toy or blanket can make your pet feel more comfortable. Be sure to pack some treats to reassure your pet along the journey.


Flying with your small pet is a convenient option for long journeys across the country. Various airlines will have different requirements for your pet, so it is essential to thoroughly research your particular airline’s requirements before arriving at the airport. United, Delta, and American Airlines have restrictions on how many pets are allowed in the main cabin, so be sure to reserve your pet’s ticket early.

The three major airlines have standard requirements to keep your pet safe during the flight. Keep in mind that only small cats and dogs will be able to fly in the main cabin. Your pet must be small enough to ride comfortably in a carrier that fits under the seat. The carrier needs to be leak-proof with plenty of ventilation. Make sure you choose your seat correctly too. A pet cannot ride in the bulkhead or the exit row.

Typically, major airlines will charge $125 to allow your pet to fly in the main cabin. Larger dogs must ride in the cargo while flying. Costs for cargo hold spaces usually start at $500 but can vary depending on the airline and destination.

If you’re traveling with your pet as a carry-on, give yourself some extra time at the airport. Most airlines, like Delta, United, and American, require you to check in with a customer service representative before boarding your flight. The representative will ensure your pet carrier meets the minimum size requirements and you have any necessary documentation or paperwork for your pet.

A pet transportation service can prove invaluable, especially when flying for long trips with layovers. An air nanny will bring your pet to the airport, and fly alongside your pet, large or small, until arriving at the final destination. In addition, pet nannies will stay with your pet over layovers and can help with the paperwork and documentation needed for your final destination. Some international pet shipping policies require air nannies for pet transportation.

Understanding the requirements and procedures when flying with a pet ahead of time can help set you up for success. Ensure your pet carrier is approved before your flight, and try to get your pet accustomed to the carrier before. Give your pet plenty of exercise before the flight, and ensure your pet has plenty of time to go to the bathroom. Keep the experience positive throughout the trip to help keep your pet calm and happy.

Using a Pet Transport Service

A pet transportation service can help make light work out of a lengthy move across the country. Pet transportation services, like CitizenShipper, can help take a load off your shoulders while ensuring your pet arrives safely at your new location.

CitizenShipper allows you to find a pet transporter that works best for you. Starting with CitizenShipper is easy. Register on the CitizenShipper platform and give some basic information about your journey and pet. Listing your trip is always free and only takes a few minutes.

Next, experienced pet shippers will give you price quotes for your trip. You’ll have the chance to read each person’s biography and discuss travel logistics. After you choose the best pet transporter for your needs, you’ll pay a small fee to CitizenShipper based on the mileage of your journey. Payment for the pet transportation services will go directly to your transporter through a payment platform that works best for both parties. Your  pet transporter will stay in contact with regular updates, photos, and videos throughout the trip until your pet arrives safely at its final destination.

How Do I Move Internationally with a Pet?

Moving with pets internationally requires extensive planning and detailed logistics. In addition to reserving your pet’s airfare, you’ll need to consider any necessary permitting, documentation, or quarantine. Additional veterinary documentation, pet passports, or vaccinations might be required.

Certain countries require a mandatory quarantine period with your pet. For example, Germany only requires a recent rabies vaccination without quarantine, while Australia requires a 10-day quarantine with a pet that is clear of fleas or ticks. Be sure to alert the arrival country of your travel plans so they can prepare your pet’s quarantine appropriately.

Moving With Pets FAQs

Pets are undoubtedly part of the family, so it is important to consider their comfort during a move. Moving with a pet creates  logistics complexity, so having questions regarding a move with a pet is normal. Understanding how to keep your pet comfortable will help set your family up for success.

Is moving stressful for pets?

Any change in your pet’s environment can be stressful, but moving can be especially difficult for pets. Uprooting your pet’s life to a new location can introduce new smells, sounds and sights. It’s important to minimize your pet’s stress as much as possible, to keep it happy and healthy.

Generally speaking, ground transportation is less stressful for your pet than other transport options. Try getting your pet accustomed to its travel crate well before your move. You can also pack your pet’s favorite toys or blankets to give it some familiar comforts from home.

What do you do with pets while moving?

With the hustle and bustle of moving with pets, it’s easy to forget their needs. Packing your belongings is essential, but the safety and well-being of your pet should take priority. For shorter moves across town, consider taking your dog to a pet daycare facility to remove your dog from the chaos moving can introduce.

For longer cross-country trips, consider using the services of a pet transporter. Not only will the transporter help with the complicated logistics of getting your pet to your new home, but traveling with an experienced transporter can help minimize stress levels.

How do you move a large dog to another state?

Large dogs are trickier to move than small dogs due to their size. While a small dog can easily fit under the seat of an airplane, a large dog doesn’t have that luxury. When it comes to large dogs, the best option for transportation is ground transportation.

Experienced pet shippers through CitizenShipper can help transport a large dog to another state. Ground transportation with a pet tends to be less stressful and more cost-effective than shipping your dog in the cargo hold of a plane. Pet transportation services are safe and reliable and keep you up-to-date and in touch with your pet along the route.

How long does it take a pet to adjust to a new home?

A new home can be frightening for your pet at first. Your pet is experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells for the first time. Don’t expect your pet to feel comfortable in a new home immediately. It can take a few weeks for many cats and dogs to become comfortable in a new home fully.

Give your pet some of the comforts it knows to make the process faster. Familiar bedding, toys, and blankets can be soothing. Remain positive and use plenty of treats, praise, and happy voices to assure your pet. Never rush the process; simply let your pet move at its own pace.


Moving with pets can be a big undertaking, but proper planning and preparation can make moving day run smoothly. Ensuring your pet is safe, healthy, and happy is a priority for any move. A pet transportation service, like CitizenShipper, is a fantastic option for long or short journeys. Find a pet transport cost that fits your budget and get the added peace of mind only an experienced pet transporter can give. Your pet will be comfortable and safe in your new home with the proper planning and forethought.