No two pet owners are the same. While you may just have one dog, other families could have three dogs, a betta fish and a snake. The more pets you have, the more you'll need to keep track of on moving day. These animal-specific tips can help simplify your moving process and help keep you stress-free about moving your beloved pet.
A recent study found that “dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress levels of their owners." So, if you're stressed out about moving, chances are Fido is feeling it, too.
Whether you're moving closer to your neighborhood dog park or you're relocating with your four-legged friend from Maine to Florida, these tips can help ease your fur baby come moving day.
- Reduce food intake for your dog by one-third the day before and the day of your move. This will help quell your dog's stomach, whether you're going by car or airplane.
- If your dog isn't already crate trained, make sure you start introducing your pup to a travel crate as soon as you know you're moving. If you're traveling by air, make sure your travel carrier fits with airline guidelines. And, if you're traveling by car, make sure you
- Before any moving gets underway on the big day, try to wear your dog out with a little exercise.
- Give your dog any prescribed calming medication from the vet at least 30 minutes before your movers arrive.
- Find a room or area that you can put your dog in with his crate and toys that's separate from the chaos of movers, boxes and heavy lifting.
- While it's tempting to grab your dog's favorite blanket and wash it before moving, leave it as is. The smell of this blanket, towel or toy will have the scent of your old house on it and it will ease your pup's anxiety.
- Although moving day can get chaotic, try to keep up with your canine's routine. If you always take your pup out for a bathroom break at 3 p.m., try to stay on schedule.
- If you're road-tripping to your new space, plan ahead if you need pet-friendly hotel accommodations.
- When moving your pup from your car, make sure it is on a leash and ready to walk with you. This will prevent any accidental runaways!
- Upon arrival at your new residence, arrange a space exclusively for your dog. This could be where the crate and toys go. The more this area is similarly arranged to the last place, the better for your pet.
When it comes to change, cats are quite averse. Your feline friend may find moving day a bit too much, no matter if your move takes two hours or 20 hours.
- To prevent your cat from getting an upset stomach on moving day, plan to cut your cat's food intake by one-third the day before and day of your move. This will cut down on your feline's chances of vomiting.
- No matter how you're getting to your new apartment, you'll need a cat carrier for your four-legged friend. If your cat has never been in a carrier before, make sure you acclimate your cat to it before moving day.
- If your veterinarian prescribed medication to help ease your cat during the move, plan to give it to your cat 30 minutes before your movers arrive.
- Find a secure, safe room for your cat to go into. Bring your cat's litter box, toys and carrier into this room with your cat. If you're worried about someone opening the door, hang a note that says “Do not open."
- When you are ready to hit the road and head to your new home, make sure your cat and their belongings are the last things you grab. This will keep your cat from bolting during the chaos of the move. Also, at this time, you can pack up the litter box.
- Keep in mind, cats can usually go about six hours without using their litter box. If traveling to your new home takes longer than this, plan ahead to set up for the night in a pet-friendly hotel and make sure you set up a litter box.
- If your cat becomes extra vocal in the cat carrier, don't open the carrier and let them out. Stay calm and patient with your cat in the carrier because it's the safest spot for them, especially in an airport or a moving car.
- When you get to your home, find a secure, enclosed room for your cat to explore and get acclimated to. Here, you can take your cat out of her carrier. However, don't let the cat explore the rest of the house until the movers leave and everything is secure.
If your pet companion is a lizard, snake or turtle, you probably have already accepted that moving with reptiles comes with limited options.
Since most airlines do not want any opportunity for the movie “Snakes on a Plane" to occur on one of their flights, most reptiles are not permitted in the cabin or as checked baggage for most airlines. The only exception to this rule is if you're traveling with a turtle — most airlines accept them on flights, as long as they travel with you in a compliant carrier and they're not removed from their carrier during the entirety of the flight.
If you're moving across the country, you will have to either road trip with your cold-blooded pet or look into shipping your reptile as air cargo. Try these tips to keep your reptile safe and comfortable as you head to your new home.
- Before moving day, pick out a travel carrier for your reptile. Go ahead and start putting your reptile in this space, so you can help it get used to that environment on moving day.
- Line the bottom of the carrier with a grippy material. This will keep the carrier supported and prevent it from sliding around in the car.
- Plan to scale back on food for your reptile — a day or two before the moving date, start feeding your pet less. This will help your reptile keep a settled stomach during its trip.
- On moving day, remove any items from your snake, lizard or turtle carrier that could shift or fall on your pet during transit.
- Make sure the lid of your reptile's carrier is on and secure. If you're worried about your corn snake or gecko escaping, use a security lock or tape to reinforce the lid.
- If your reptile needs a moist environment, line the carrier with wet towels.
- Depending on the climate and the type of reptile you have, you may need a heat source for your cold-blooded companion. Try using a warm water bottle, a heat pack or disposable hand warmers for warmth — just make sure your reptile has enough space in its carrier to move away from the heat source if it gets too toasty.
- If you have an overnight road trip to your new home with your reptile, make plans to stay at a pet-friendly hotel. Be honest and upfront about your scaly friend!
- To keep stress to a minimum, plan on setting up your lizard, snake or turtle in their usual enclosure as soon as you possibly can at your new place.
- Leave your reptile alone in its home for a few days. Let your cold-blooded crony recover from its travels and explore the brand new scenery around its space. Visit your pet but don't handle them right away!
Frogs, newts and salamanders are all amphibians — meaning these pet-friendly creatures spend both time on land and in water. The skin of amphibians must stay moist for them to absorb oxygen, which is why for long-distance moves, traveling by vehicle instead of an airplane is recommended. Keep your amphibian friend safe outside of its vivarium.
- Before moving day, pick out a travel-sized carrier for your amphibian. Go ahead and introduce your pet to the space before moving, so when you remove your pet from its vivarium — this new space won't seem so unfamiliar.
- Line the bottom of your travel carrier with a grippy material. This will keep the carrier from sliding around in the car.
- To keep your frog, newt or salamander happy inside the travel carrier, add some sphagnum moss and keep the container moist.
- On moving day, remove any items from your pet's vivarium, such as rocks and live plants and put them into a container with a lid. Keep everything from the vivarium together since it is all a part of your pet's usual habitat.
- Depending on the weather (temperature and humidity), you may need to consider a heat source for your amphibian friend or more moisture. Pack a warm water bottle or hand warmer for an emergency, as well as a spray bottle of water.
- Set up your vivarium for your froggy friend as soon as you can in your new space. The faster your pet settles in, the better off it will be.
Since pet birds often live long lives — some age up to 30 years — chances are your bird will go through a move or two with you. Whether you have a Finch or Parrot, the easiest way to move a pet bird of any kind is by car. Here are tips to keep your feathered friend as stress-free as possible.
- Transport the bird in its cage from home. Ideally, you can move your bird and its cage straight to the car. If the normal bird cage is too big to go into the car, pick up a smaller transportable cage.
- Before moving day, pick up a lock or security clip to secure the cage externally. When you are ready to transport your bird into the car, add the clip to ensure your songbird doesn't escape.
- Throw a cover over your pet bird's cage. Whether it's a blanket, a towel or a draped curtain, make sure it's strong enough to block out the sun. This cover will work as a protective shield for your bird from direct sunlight. Birds also get sick from being in cars with the scenery going by.
- Keep the birdcage away from any direct vents in the car. You don't want drafts of air conditioning or heat too close to your bird. The same goes with open car windows!
- Make sure the birdcage is secure — use a seatbelt and make sure it can sit upright for the entirety of the ride.
- Soothe your bird friend with music. Birds are known to positively respond to music, so crank up a little Mozart or New age music and let your bird focus on the vibes instead of being in a moving vehicle.
- If you're road-tripping to your new home, plan to stop every few hours to give your bird some water.
While tropical fish like guppies, bettas, swordtails, Zebra danios and angelfish make great pets, moving fish can get complicated. You won't want to move your fish in their aquarium. You'll want to dismantle the aquarium for easy transportation.
Since fish need water to survive, move your fish from their aquarium and put them into a container. If you're moving a lot of fish, look into getting minnow buckets. Large lidded containers will also work (make sure to poke holes in the container lid). If you're moving one single fish or a small amount, consider using plastic bags. Whatever you do, remember fish are fragile.
- Gingerly move your fish from the aquarium into plastic bags or buckets. Make sure you do this as gently as possible.
- Save the water from your aquarium, so you can add it into the container you're moving your pet fish into.
- Don't overfill any container with too many fish.
- Don't mix your fish. If you have multiple aquariums, keep the fish from each aquarium together. Now is not the time to mix your betta fish in with your angelfish!
- Whether you're using a minnow bucket or plastic bags, make sure there's room for air to flow.
- Make sure each container is at least one-third full of water.
- You might not have time to set up your fish tank right away in your new space. Set an alarm for every four hours so you can freshen up the air supply for your fish.
- Living plants and snails should go into their own containers — not with the fish.
- Set up your fish tank as soon as you can. Make sure you treat the water before moving your fish back into the tank.
- Add a liquid healing agent to your fish tank. This will help your delicate fish heal if they received any bumps or bruises during the move.
Just like you, your pet will need to acclimate to the new space after moving in. Make sure you help your beloved pet explore their new home and set up their part of the home to their specific likings. Although it may take a few days, your pet will bounce back to its usual self in no time.