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How To Move With Small Pets: Helpful Tips

Moving is exciting and stressful at the same time. While in the Air Force, I moved 11 times in 23 years. Whether it was to a different city in the same state, across North America to Canada and back twice, or to Asia, my pets always came too. While much of the planning required to move with small pets is similar to moving humans, some considerations will make your life easier. Therefore, today we're going to share helpful tips on how to move with small pets.

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Travel resources

In most cases, travel is part of moving. If you’ve never traveled with your pets, please also read our helpful blogs on:

Jasper, Missy, and I

Missy, Jasper, and I right after we moved to South Korea (2004)

Helpful tips: how to move with small pets

I’m not going to lie and say moving with pets isn’t stressful. It totally is. Several moves included living in extended-stay hotels for up to two months until our permanent housing was ready. Other fun memories were when Zach and Lexie slipped their collar and ran amok around the hotel in Nebraska. When we got off the plane in South Korea, Jasper decided to tell the customs and immigration agent he wanted out of his crate NOW by loudly barking at him. Also, I’ve had an entire cat litter box dump in my vehicle and had to keep fresh lettuce and parsley cool for the bunbuns. So, here are helpful tips on how to move with small pets.

Zach and Lexie in the hotel

Zach and Lexie in the hotel in their crate (2009)

  • Know where your pets are when the movers load and unload. Put your pets in a safe space while the movers are around, and all the doors are open. One solution is to put them in a room and put a sign on the door to not open without checking with you. Depending on the species, you could also have them hang out at a friend’s house or put them in daycare.

  • Plan ahead. Research and plan your route, every stop, and what you will do at your final destination. This includes confirming with the hotel that they take pets and where you will take potty breaks or let your pets stretch their legs. Also, leaving your pets in the vehicle is never a good idea. You might want to consider bringing another human to help wrangle everyone.

  • Vet records and medical requirements. Before you go, get electronic copies of your pets’ health history. Of course, you'll give them to your new vet when you get there, but you might also need to seek medical care for one of your babies along the way. In addition, airlines require specific parameters for crates and health certificates. Finally, some places may require different vaccines. You'll want to get those vaccines before you move.

Bored Zach

Zach giving me side eye and asking if we are there yet (2011)

  • Maintain your routine. Pets love a schedule and consistency. Have all their favorite things with you when you move and stick to your daily schedule as much as possible. For example, if you usually feed them at 6 am, keep doing that. If they enjoy a particular food, make sure you have plenty in case it's not readily available in your new location.

  • Pet-proof your new house. When settling in, little things like checking the fence and gate, ensuring windows have screens, covering electrical cords, etc., can make all the difference.

  • Bring cleaning supplies. Accidents happen. When moving my pets by car, I had a small vacuum cleaner, dustpan and broom, trash bags, paper towels, old towels, unscented baby wipes, and other non-toxic cleaning supplies with me in an easily accessible spot. Trust me, when that cat litter box tipped over, I was glad to have these things.

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I could go on and on forever about how to move with small pets. Some moves were easier than others, but leaving them behind wasn't an option as my pets are my kids. They seemed to enjoy all the moves and living in new places as much as I did. If you have any questions or want to share tips, please email us or comment on our socials.

DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.

VETERINARY DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.  If your pet is acting unwell, you have concerns for their well being, or before adding any new product, please contact your veterinarian immediately.  

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