How to Prepare Your Pet for a Long-Distance Relocation?

March 19, 2024

Moving to a new location can be a stressful endeavor, and it can be even more challenging if you’re sharing your life with a pet. Your furry friend might not understand what is happening and could feel anxious and distressed. Fortunately, there are several measures you can undertake to make the journey more comfortable and less stressful for your pet. This comprehensive guide will provide useful tips to help you and your pet navigate the complexities of a long-distance move.

1. Start Planning Early

Planning is the key to a successful relocation. This is even more critical when you are moving with a pet. You need to take into consideration how your pet will travel, whether by car or by plane, and what accommodations will be needed during your journey. Pets, particularly dogs, are creatures of habit. Any disruption to their routine can be distressing.

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Start planning your move at least one month in advance. Determine the mode of transport that is best for your pet and does the least harm to their routine. If you plan to travel by car, consider taking your pet on short car rides leading up to the move to acclimatize them to the experience. If air travel is necessary, research various airlines to find out their policies on pet travel. Some may allow pets in the cabin, while others might require them to be in the hold.

2. Visit the Vet

The health of your pet is of paramount importance during a long-distance move. You need to ensure that your pet is in good health and can withstand the rigors of long-distance travel. A visit to the vet is, therefore, crucial.

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Schedule a visit to your vet a few weeks before your move. The vet will conduct a comprehensive check-up to ensure your pet is healthy and fit to travel. They can also provide advice on how to keep your pet calm and comfortable during the trip. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, this is the perfect time to get that done. A microchip will help you track your pet in case they get lost during the move. It’s also helpful to get a copy of your pet’s medical records from your vet, especially if you’re moving a long distance away.

3. Pack a Pet Essentials Bag

During the moving process, you’ll want to keep your pet’s needs in mind. It’s a good idea to pack an essentials bag for your pet to make sure they have everything they need during the journey and the first few days after the move.

The essentials bag should contain food, water, a leash, a few toys, and a blanket or bed that has the scent of your home. This will help keep your pet comfortable and reduce anxiety. You should also include any medication your pet might need, as well as a first-aid kit in case of emergencies. It’s also a good idea to have waste bags and cleaning supplies on hand, in case of any accidents.

4. Keep Your Pet’s Schedule Consistent

Pets thrive on routine. Changes in their schedule, such as meal times, walks, and playtimes, can cause stress. During the move, do your best to keep your pet’s schedule as consistent as possible.

Even during the chaos of moving, try to feed your pet at their usual time. Try to keep their bed in the same place until the last minute, and set it up as soon as you can in your new home. If your dog is used to a walk in the morning, no matter how busy you are with the move, make sure you take the time to maintain that routine. This consistency will help reassure your pet that not everything in their life is changing, and can help ease their anxiety.

5. Provide Comfort During the Journey

Whether you’re traveling by car or by plane, your pet might feel scared and anxious during the journey. It’s important to do everything you can to keep them comfortable and calm.

If you’re traveling by car, make sure to take regular breaks for your pet to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. You should also keep the car well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature. If you’re traveling by plane, ensure that your pet’s travel crate is comfortable and secure. Include familiar items, like a favorite toy or blanket, to help soothe them. You should also check on your pet regularly to make sure they’re okay.

Remember, moving can be a challenging time for everyone involved, including your pet. However, with careful planning and a bit of patience, you can help your pet adjust to their new home with as little stress as possible.

6. Research Pet Friendly Accommodations

If your long-distance move requires stopping for overnight rests, it’s crucial to research and book pet-friendly accommodations in advance. Not every hotel or motel accepts pets, and the last thing you want is to arrive at your destination tired and without a place for you and your pet to rest.

Start by identifying potential stopping points along your route. Once you have these, seek out accommodations that not only allow pets but also have suitable facilities for them. Some establishments may offer dedicated areas for pets to relieve themselves or play. Others may provide pet care services, which can be convenient if you need time to deal with moving responsibilities.

Always remember to verify the pet policies of these places. Some accommodations might have restrictions on the size or breed of pets allowed. Others may require a pet deposit or charge additional fees for pets. It’s also a good idea to pack a portable crate or pet bed, as not all pet-friendly accommodations will provide these items.

7. Prepare Your New Home

Before your pet sets paw in your new home, take some time to ensure it’s safe and comfortable for them. Pets, especially cats, are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Therefore, making sure your new home is pet-friendly before your arrival will help your pet adjust more quickly.

Start by pet-proofing your new home. Check for any potential hazards such as toxic plants, accessible cleaning supplies, or loose wires that your pet could chew on. Just as you did in your old home, try to create a space specifically for your pet. This could be where you set up their bed, toys, and food and water bowls.

If your relocation involves a cross-country move, your pet might be overwhelmed by the new sights, sounds, and smells. Consider setting up one room fully before letting your pet explore the rest of the house. This will provide a safe and familiar space they can retreat to if they feel anxious.


Moving long distance with your pet is certainly a considerable task, but with the right amount of planning and preparation, it can be accomplished smoothly. Remember, the goal isn’t just to move your pet from one place to another. It’s to ensure that your pet remains comfortable, safe, and happy during the entire process.

Your veterinarian is an important resource during this time, so don’t hesitate to reach out for advice or support. Ultimately, your pet looks to you for comfort and security – your reassurance will go a long way in helping them adjust to their new home.

The process of a long-distance move will undoubtedly test your patience, but the joy of settling into a new home with your pet by your side is worth the effort. With our moving tips, your move can be less stressful and more rewarding for both you and your pet. Here’s to a successful relocation and the start of a great new chapter in your life!