Moving With Pets

You would never leave your child behind when moving. Most movers wouldn’t dream of leaving their much-loved “furry family members” behind as well. Pets are like people, and they are happiest and most content when in familiar surroundings. Many animals have an instinctive fear of a new environment, even though they may adjust to it quickly.

Transition Pets into Their New Home

Pre-planning will minimize or avoid relocation problems. Getting everything in place before moving day is going to make your moving experience as pleasurable as possible.

As soon as you decide to move you need to consider the following:


State Laws and Regulations

It is important to know the requirements for pet ownership and bringing a pet to your new home or office. State and local municipalities determine the laws and registration on pet ownership. To avoid being detained at the border, make sure you check the regulations before you leave. Often, your veterinarian can provide you with the information, but it's also a good idea to keep checking the state website for updates as the move grows closer. To find your state information click here.


Although most states will perform only random searches, some do check every vehicle that enters. If you have all the papers required, this should not be a problem. If you're flying your pet, some customs officials will check the pet upon arrival. Again, it depends on the state you're moving to.

Almost every state has laws applicable to the entry of pets. Contact the state veterinarian in the capital of your new home state to learn the laws. You should also contact the city clerk or town hall in your destination city to learn about license fees and regulations for your pet.


Veterinarian Visit

It is always a good idea to have your pets checked out before you move as they may get into something they shouldn’t have and you want to make sure that they did not have any preexisting conditions that may bring into question with a new Veterinarian.

Many states require a health certificate. This states that your companion animal is free from diseases and has had all its necessary shots. Dogs and horses must have an interstate health certificate, while cats, birds, hamsters, and other small companion animals may need them depending on where you're moving to. Again, speak to your veterinarian about preparing this document and check with the state itself to determine what is required. Keep it handy when traveling, as you may get asked for a copy of it as you travel through state agricultural checkpoints.

To find a veterinarian in your new state, ask your current veterinarian for a recommendation. You can also call the AVMA,  AAHA or the ASPCA for a recommendation.


Pet Identification

In addition to permanent identity and rabies tags, make an ID tag with your pet’s name, your name, destination address and an emergency name, address and telephone number in case you cannot be reached. A luggage-type tag with writing space on both sides is easy to use.


Familiar surroundings

Once moved into your new home, use your pet’s familiar food and water dishes, bed, blanket and toys to make him/her feel at home. Try to keep things in the same locations as they were in your previous residence – for example, food and water dish by the back door.


Moving your pet by airplane

Contact airlines for their rules and regulations, transportation charges and pet insurance. You will be responsible for a shipping container/carrier to transport your pet. Make your reservations well in advance, because pet approval is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Feed your pet no less than five or six hours before flight time and give him/her a drink of water about two hours before take-off. If you’d like assistance please consult your personal WolfePack Moving consultant can help set you up with a pet moving company.


Moving your pet by auto

Plan ahead and purchase carriers, supplies, and first-aid kits. Start a list of items you’ll need for a pet travel kit including collapsible dishes, favorite toys, your pet’s regular food, and a few treats. If your pet is not used to car travel, start taking him/her on short trips to get accustomed to car motion. If necessary, ask your veterinarian about tranquilizers to relax your pet.

Do not feed or water your pet just before starting. A few treats during the day will keep him/her satisfied. Plan regular stops to give your pet a drink or a short run. Take a container of freshwater with you, because a sudden change in drinking water may cause a temporary upset stomach.


Moving with a dog

After moving into a new house, immediately walk your dog around the neighborhood so that he/she becomes familiar with the new area. Maintain the feeding and walking schedule from your original residence. Immediately establish boundaries in your neighborhood or yard for your dog to roam.


Moving with a cat

Do not let your cat outside until he/she is familiar with the new living environment to reduce the risk of running away. Constantly surround your cat with familiar items during the move to reduce the emotional effects on your cat. Do not expose your cat to your new living arrangements all at once. Limit the number of rooms the cat is allowed in and gradually let your cat explore the rest.


Careful pre-planning will minimize or avoid relocation problems. WolfePack Moving and Storage has created a booklet that offers suggestions for simplifying the transfer of your pet, including a checklist of things to do and a special section on horses and ponies. For a copy of “Moving with Pets,” contact your personal WolfePack Moving Consultant.

Interviewing a Veterinarian

Finding a new vet is always a challenge when moving with pets, especially if you're moving to a new city, to another state or even moving to another country. Preparing to move with pets doesn't stop when you get your pets to your new home.  And the place to start once you've settled them in is to find a good clinic. To do that, use these questions to interview potential vets.​



What Types of Animals Do You Treat?

Ask specifically about your own pets and if they have someone qualified to treat them. Some vets will specialize in dogs or cats and can't treat hamsters or birds, for instance. Make sure your pet is on their list of animals they specialize in. If you have multiple species in your home, you probably want to find a vet who can treat everyone.


How Long Have You Been in Practice?

An established vet means more experience and also that they're part of the community and can be a resource for any additional needs or consultations your pets may require.


How Many Vets Do You Have on Staff?

While a single vet office isn't an indication of a vet who isn't qualified, having only one vet can mean reduced hours and longer wait times. But with that said, a single vet practice can also work if you can work within their schedule, that is, if the vet is the best around. However, do ask what happens when your vet goes on holiday or what you do in an emergency - in other words, make sure he or she has a backup.


Do You Provide Emergency Services?

Some vets off an off-hours advice nurse or emergency service should you need help outside of regular hours. If you moved to a large city, many vets will offer this type of service. Smaller towns might not have such flexibility so keep this in mind when you're choosing a vet. So if such a service is not available, find out what you do with your pet should an emergency arise.


Do You Have Specialists on Staff?

Even if your pet is healthy, it's a good idea to find out if your vet provides any special services or whom they work with locally for care. Make sure you ask them that if they do have specialists, who are they and what can they offer and if not if they work with other practices.


How Many Technicians Do You Have on Staff?

Ask how many techs they have and how long have they worked there.


What Services Do You Offer?

Boarding, grooming, x-ray and ultrasound testing? Surgery services and other specialties?


How Much Do Your Services Cost?

While prices will vary, it's a good idea to ask how much an office visit costs and get general estimates for common procedures including shots, blood work, and checkups.


What Are Your Hours of Operation?

Some vets are only open Monday through Friday, which might not work for you. Or some have reduced weekly hours that won't fit with your schedule.


Will You Give Us a Tour of Your Facilities?

If so, can we speak with a vet at that time? Note: If a clinic will not give you a tour, ask why. A good clinic should be proud to show you their facilities and answer any questions you might have.


Do You Have Clients Who Could Provide References?

Many vets will have this information posted on their websites or you can find reviews online with companies such as Yelp or Google. Either way, check out what others are saying about them so you feel a little better about trying their services.

Download and Print  Moving with Pets Checklist

Download and Print  Interviewing a Veterinarian