Moving with Your Pets

Moving to a new home is exciting yet can be anxiety-producing. That’s true for us humans. Now imagine what it can be like for your cats and dogs!

Yet our pets are often true companions and essential parts of our families these days. So let’s make sure that both the human and the four-pawed parts of your family, get there safe and sound and adjust well.

Cat peeing out of a moving box.The folks at VetStreet, a company providng support and access to many great veterniary practices across the country, published a helpful article recently, “Moving With Pets: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid”. We’re happy to share it, along with our added tips.

We’d like to stress their first point, and hope that if you already have a new home purchased/rented, you already paid attention to it: Make sure that your new home is pet-friendly, rather than best for a pet-free family. It’s not just HOA rules, municipal restrictions, and other regulations you should consider. VetStreet points out concerns both in the home’s layout, and outside in the yard and street, which you should carefully look into, and imagine your pet there.

We also really like their second point: Please don’t let your pets run free while you, or our Certified Packers do your packing in boxes we hope you purchase from us. Nobody’s going to have fun with that. Except maybe your cat, who suddenly thinks it’s the greatest holiday present surprise ever, with all the boxes to run, jump, and hid in. But people, things, and kitty can all get hurt. Nobody wants a Schrodinger’s Cat in an indeterminate state trapped in a box, on a long move!

We have a few more pointers, from our own and our valued customers’ experiences moving with their furry friends.

A new place might be just the time for new food and water bowls, new cat litter box, new pet toys. Not the old, stinky, chewed up ones. But think of all the valued older possessions you just had us move. Don’t you think your pets will feel more at home with some of their “prized possessions” too? Include a few of their things when you move with them, to reassure them it’s still “home.” Then get them a bunch of new goodies at the new place, to get them excited about being there.

How long and far is your move? If it’s just crosstown, or a few dozens of miles away, your pets will do fine in your car with you. And you’re close enough, if your exit-date from your old home and your move-in date at your new one overlap, to do a less-crazy, pets-only, specific trip without your cat or dog squished in with a bunch of suitcases, bags, boxes you didn’t give the movers, and what-have-you. You can give your likely-stressed pup or puss a bit of personal attention, or keep them from jumping around in a tizzy, if they aren’t jammed between a crate of cooking utensils for the first night, and some suitcases full of pre-mover-arrival clothing.

On the other hand, if you’re doing a medium or long-distance move, plan carefully on whether you are driving or taking a plane, long-distance bus, or train to get there. The airlines, Greyhound and other bus lines, and Amtrak all have very different rules for pet travel. Make sure you know them. If driving, don’t assume that most roadside hotels and motels will allow pets, especially unexpected pets. Both the hotel websites themselves, and pet-specific travel sites, have ways to search for pet-allowed locations. Often you’ll have to pay an extra fee, or there will be only a limited selection of room types, size or weight restrictions, number of pet restrictions, breed restrictions, or any mix of the above. You can’t predict that just by hotel chain, either. It’s very common for some locations of “Big Fancy Hotel Brand” or “Budget Roadside Cozy Motel” to allow pets, while others do not.

If taking a plane, be sure you know the airline’s specific pet travel requirements, whether for in-cabin pets with you on the same flight, “checked baggage pets” in a proper pet crate underneath in the pressurized and heated luggage compartment with your flight, or “pet cargo” where they may be in the same baggage compartment, but you don’t have to accompany them on the same flight. Costs, date, season, temperature restrictions, and health certificate requirements can be all over the place depending on your pet, origin, destination, airline, and if international, both the final country destination and any intermediate connection country requirements. The temperature restrictions, including how strictly different airlines interpret them, and where their connecting hubs are located in terms of climate, can be a very big, and bad, surprise if you don’t plan in advance and research carefully.

That’s way more than we can go into here on our news, advice, and specials blog, but we want to make sure you are aware of the concerns. Often, your veterinarian will have complete and updated information on what each country requires, and a good general idea of what the domestic airlines require. But it’s less likely they will have the details on specific airlines and overall policies. You need to do some of your own research, or hire a pet transport broker. That’s one of the few moving-related services we don’t currently arrange.

But speaking of hot-weather moves, it’s a concern not only for those airline temperature restrictions. We’ll have more about doing summer moves, including some hot-weather move tips, from our Florida store location’s website later this month, at Florida.DiscountPacking.com.

Our customers have moved by car with their pets, while their belongings moved on hassle-free moves arranged by us, all over the USA – and even beyond. Europe, South America, and more. In the car, in the back of the car, under the passenger cabin as pet baggage or pet cargo, even in the cabin under the seat in front of the passenger.  Your pets can too. You almost certainly can take your furry companion with you. The happiest news we get is when everything went smoothly for their entire family, including their pets.

Do you have stories of your pet moves, questions, or tips to share? Let everyone know in the comments below!