A Practical Guide for Moving with Pets

Long-distance moves with pets don’t have to be complicated 

Moving out of state or across the country is a big undertaking, and you’ll want to make sure everyone in the family makes the trip comfortably — including pets. Whether your animal companions run, pounce, crawl, fly, swim or slither, they’ll need to get to the new place safely. Follow this guide to keep long-distance moves as stress free as possible for you and your pets. 

Girl sits on her bed with her dog before moving with her pet across country.


Prepare pets for moving

No matter what types of animals you have, it’s a good idea to get them ready for the move. Depending on the pet, there may be different levels of prep work ahead.

Learn more specific information about moving long distance with these pets: 

Check laws, rules and regulations

You don’t want to lease or purchase a place only to learn later your pet isn’t allowed. Look up state laws for bringing in animals and ask about any local rules or regulations from city hall, landlords, building managers or Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs).  

Keep in mind there are additional regulations for moving pets to Canada or bringing animals with you to Hawaii

Get a checkup 

Your veterinarian is the best source of information for helping animals prepare for an upcoming move. Schedule a checkup to make sure vaccinations are up to date and any medications are refilled prior to moving. It’s also a good time to transfer records to a vet near the new place. Your current doctor may have recommendations on where to go. Just ask! 

Introduce new things slowly if possible

Help pets get accustomed to the crate or cage they’ll be transported in if they’re not already using it for sleep or short-distance travel. 

Take practice car rides 

If your pet doesn’t usually travel in a car, it’s helpful to make smaller trips ahead of time and gradually increase the distance to help them get used to it. This will also help you learn if medications are needed to help keep them calm or prevent motion sickness. 

Update pet identification

Make sure your pet has identification that has your cell phone number so you can be contacted if your pet escapes during the move. If your pet has a Microchip, make sure it’s updated with your new address as soon as you know it. 

Find places to stop or stay overnight

Plan ahead for places to stop along the way for animals to have food, water and bathroom breaks. If you’re staying overnight, make sure to find a pet-friendly place. Plan to call ahead because some hotels may only accept dogs.

Tips for moving day

Moving day can be scary for some animals with all the loud noises and doors opening and closing. Do what you can to keep your pet safe during loading, travel and unloading.

Isolate them 

It’s best to have someone keep pets away from the home, but if that’s not possible try isolating them in a quiet room with the door closed for their safety (and yours!). 

Keep pets safe on the road (or in the sky)

When pets are traveling by car, they should be in a harness with a seatbelt or a suitable carrier to protect them. They need proper ventilation and should never ride in a moving trailer or in the back of a moving truck. If you’re flying, check with the airline for specific rules for transporting animals on the plane.

Help them adjust to a new home

Getting to the new place is only half the journey for your pets. Now they’ll need to get used to a different environment. Fortunately, these simple steps can help them adjust.

Set up their new space with familiar things

Keep bedding, toys and food the same as they settle in. If animals will roam the house, it’s best to introduce them to the space slowly, letting them have access to only one or two rooms at a time with supervised visits to other parts of the house. If your pet goes outside, make sure they’re on a leash to prevent them from running away after the move.

Reestablish a routine 

It’s easier for pets to adjust when they know what to expect. That’s why it’s important to get back to a regular routine as soon as possible with feeding, walks, bathing or play time. 

Visit the veterinarian 

Once you’re settled, schedule another checkup to establish care with the new vet. Make sure to get refills for any medications and see if there are new ones they should take in the new area. You can also ask for information about local pet sitters or boarding services if needed. 

U-Pack can help pet parents move comfortably 

Pets are often calmest when they’re with their people. U-Pack® makes that easy during a move since we handle driving the moving equipment. This leaves you free to drive or fly with your animal friends to the new home.  

Get a free quote online or give us a call at 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak to a moving consultant. If you have any questions about moving with animals or about U-Pack services, let us know in the comments. We’re happy to help!