Whether they’re birds, cats, dogs, lizards, or ferrets, our pets can be the difference between a house and a true home. Unfortunately, moving with a pet can be quite stressful!
If you have only recently adopted your animal companion, you may be wondering how to move with a pet. Don’t worry!
We have gathered some of the top tips from pet experts, veterinarians, and Blueground guests who are pet owners to help make your relocation a breeze. (Check out some of Blueground’s coolest pet-friendly apartmentswhile you’re at it!)
Here’s our complete guide to moving with a pet, including tips on moving overseas with your pet.
Finding a new neighborhood and home for you and your pet
Whether you’re relocating for a new job or simply a fresh start, moving is a big transition. The need to find a pet-friendly apartment or house adds another wrinkle.
Once you have settled on a city or region, start thinking about what is important to you – and your pet.
1. A first step is limiting your housing search to pet-friendly options. If you’re moving into a private home this is less important. However, many apartments and co-op complexes have no-pets policies or charge pet fees.
2. Start out by zeroing in on a few neighborhoods or towns. If you have a dog, you will want to choose a community or area near a park or trails.
3. Next, see what kind of options you can find within your budget.
4. Make a list of your top neighborhoods.
5. Once you have your list, start looking for apartment ads that accept pets.
This is because going up and down multiple flights of stairs several times a day can be difficult for them.
You need to make sure that your new home is not only pet-friendly but safe and welcoming to your pet.
It’s a good idea to mention your pet or pets upfront when you talk to brokers, building managers, leasing agents, or sales reps.
For extra credit, find out who lives downstairs and whether they might be bothered by your pet’s activities like barking or late-night zoomies.
Chances are if there is a fellow animal lover living below you they will have more patience for your pet.
Finding a pet-friendly home might take a little bit longer, but you know that your beloved pet will appreciate the extra effort.
Preparing for your move
Packing might not be fun, but it’s a great way to sort through your belongings. You may even be able to pare down your things to only what you need.
This same logic applies to your pet’s belongings.
Remember, every box that you pack will also have to be unpacked!
If you’re wondering how to move with a pet without stressing them out, our advice is to go slowly.
Your pets are hyper-aware of changes in their environment as well as their owners’ stress levels.
Tips for packing up your home
Caroline Solomon, a home organization expert who is also a devoted cat mom, recently moved across the US with her two-year-old cat Sweetie.
She chose to stay in one of Blueground’s pet-friendly furnished apartments in LA to ease the transition.
We asked Caroline to share some of her wisdom about how to move with a pet. (You can find even more of her tips on TikTok)
“Large items like cat trees and scratching posts can be a pain to transport cross-country, so I left them at my parents’ in NYC (for when she and I visit),” Caroline said. “Large pet furniture is one thing that can be easily replaced in your new home, so I wouldn’t sweat it if you can’t bring it with you.”
There are a few special considerations for people moving with pets.
First, be sure to leave your pet’s water dish, crate, toys, food, and medications out of boxes until the last minute.
It’s a good idea to pack your pet’s belongings separately so that you can find them quickly when you reach your destination.
Packing just a few boxes at a time will keep your pets calm during the transition.
It’s also a good way to make sure that curious cats don’t nest themselves inside half-packed boxes.
Depending on how far you are going, you can use a car, plane, or even a taxi or rideshare when you move with your pet.
If you are moving within the same city, it might be easiest to have your pets stay with a friend or family member for a few days.
Letting your pet adjust to its new environment all at once is ideal.
The easiest way to move your pet is in your own car. This way, you’re able to keep your eye on them at all times and work in plenty of bathroom breaks.
The American Humane Society (AHS) warns pet owners to make sure that animals are wearing collars on moving days in case anything goes awry.
It’s also a good idea to get your cats or dogs microchipped before your move – if you haven’t already.
If you don’t have a car and are moving cities or across the US with a pet, it’s a little more complicated.
Most airlines will let you fly with a cat or small dog, though policies vary.
If this is your pet’s first time flying, you may want to check in with your vet, as Caroline Solomon did.
“This was Sweetie’s first time on a plane,” Caroline said.
“She’s a nervous traveler in cars, so I made a vet appointment beforehand to see if there was anything I could do for flying. She responded well to sedation, so I’ll give her some for the flight to counteract any anxiety.”
How to prepare your home before you move with a pet
It’s important to make sure that your new home or apartment is as pet-friendly as possible.
First, do a walkthrough of your new apartment to make sure there aren’t any loose wires or cords that your pet could chew on.
The ASPCA also recommends checking for nooks and crannies where smaller pets could get stuck. Don’t forget to inspect the closets!
Finally, check all around the home to make sure there aren’t any poisonous insect repellent discs or traps that could make your pet sick.
Introducing your pet to a new home
Caroline made sure that her cat Sweetie would feel right at home before she introduced her to her newly furnished apartment in LA.
“I recommend bringing some dry food and a small water bowl to have after landing. If you want to take cat mom to the next level, you could even bring a small portable litter pan.” (Caroline loves this one!)
“Packing as much as you need for your pet will ease any potential stress,” she said.
Remember, the less stressed your pet is the less stressed you will be!
The ASPCA also recommends introducing your pet to your new home one step at a time. Put their crate in just one room. Next, let them adjust before moving on to other rooms.
You can even put your pet’s food and water, bed, and litter box in this room for a few days.
Fortunately, you can start your search as soon as you sign a lease. Use the internet and social media to read reviews. Find out who the top-rated animal care providers are in your new neighborhood or town.
If you do your research early enough, you could even have your local vet transfer your pet’s records to your new vet before your move.
How to move overseas with a pet
Moving overseas with a pet can be a huge headache.
Some countries have special quarantine requirements for household pets, so your first step is to check the appropriate government website in your destination.
Find out if there is a quarantine period and what paperwork you might need to clear customs with your pet.
Next, check to see if your pet will need any immunizations or certifications from your local veterinarian. It’s best to do this as soon as possible once you have settled on a destination for your move!
Choosing a flexible-term rental is one easy way to move overseas with a pet.