How to Prepare for a Move With a Pet

Moving around is demanding. There are a lot of things to keep in mind, packing stuff, saying goodbye, organizing paperwork, and transport. If you have a lot of friends or family they can help tremendously by being there to assist you, maybe even offering a car ride if everything is already packed. But what to do if you have small children? That’s easy, they can be cuddled or even made useful for small jobs. 

But what to do if you have a pet? Things get a little more complicated, as animals are not reasonable creatures and will not be aware of what you are trying to do, nor will they always want to move. Preparing for a move with a pet, therefore, takes a lot more consideration and planning, but as countless people have experienced so far – it’s far from unmanageable. 

Plan The Move Accordingly

How the move is going to look like has everything to do with how you planned it. As there is a ton of stuff happening at the same time, it is advisable to have a detailed plan written on paper that you can follow and remind yourself what is the next step. This plan should contain the following things: 

  • A timetable of the move,
  • List of things to pack,
  • People who are involved, and
  • a list of all costs.

If you have a pet, they will be included in several of those things, as it is not enough just to pick them up and put them in the car. If going to a different country, they also need a passport, additional vaccines, some sort of treats or food, etc. 

Have Someone Help You

Moving around means moving a lot of stuff, some of which is easy, such as clothes or toys, though others are very heavy and physically demanding to pack and carry, such as books or furniture. 

To make matters worse, having to think about how and where to store your pets’ boxes, toys, or large scratchers is an additional burden. If going further away, you might want to consider hiring interstate removalists, guys, and gals, who have experience with these kinds of stuff but don’t hire third-party companies. It’s a big plus when moving to have the same people help you pack and unpack, as they will be more considerate with separate boxes if they know when something fragile is in them. 

The Pet’s Attitude

On to the pets themselves. They are, of course, an extension of our family, and many consider them as close as a best friend ever could be. Cats, lizards, dogs, birds… there is a huge variety in what we keep as pets and all of them give off a certain vibe, depending on their personality and breed characteristics. 

We know, for example, that some dog breeds are calmer than others, which is a considerable thing when moving, as a dog who remains calm while his home is being turned upside down and is forced into a car to move states is invaluable. Pets that are aggressive around others should be moved earlier if possible, to not make things worse for those helping you. 

Trinkets for a Smooth Ride

Once you hit the road, you will want everything to go smoothly, so having a pet that doesn’t make too much noise, or is a nuisance while riding, is a good thing. To make sure it goes as planned you need to prepare some trinkets, toys, and snacks to entertain them while moving. 

For example, making a car more travel friendly for dogs by putting blankets not only for cleanliness sake but also for their pleasure. Dogs, cats, and some other animals too, usually attach themselves to soft blankets they use as chew toys or to sleep on, so having one of those over the seat means they will be calmer even on a bumpy road. 

Safety First

Pets, unfortunately, don’t know how to read, nor do they understand the laws of physics that dictate that they will hold momentum even if the car suddenly stops. So if you don’t want them flying all over the place, nor bumping in the back on every sharp turn – you will need to follow some basic safety rules. 

Depending on the state, different regulations will require different things, but a good practice is the same everywhere. Animals should never be placed inside trunks, nor left in cars that are too hot. If they are not in a box (recommended for feisty pets!), then you should have a barrier between the driver and them so they cannot distract the driver directly while they are operating the vehicle. A separate seat belt for them is not necessary but is recommended in many cases.

How to Deal With Larger Animals

We’ve mentioned several animals that are often kept as pets, and while dogs can be big, they don’t come as nearly as big as others. Horses and donkeys, very large snakes, cattle even. Transporting them is another matter entirely, it has separate regulations, requires different logistics, and is usually much, much more expensive. 

Very large animals used to be moved on foot, cattle could be moved in entire herds by a shepherd, horses could be ridden to the desired location, etc. But today we know better and can do it quicker and safer with the help of special vehicles and wagons. There are government-approved codes for transporting horses, for example. Furthermore, not everyone feels comfortable working around them, so that will require additional work from you to make sure everything is fine. 

Those big pets also need appropriate space to walk and sleep, so it is usually not an option to make a stop for the night at a motel, but they need to be taken to their final destination in one go, and as fast as possible. 

Our beloved companions can bring us joy like no other, and it is up to us to take care of them in these dramatic and stressful situations when they don’t know what’s going on. And not only for their sake, for ours as well, as many people agree that a troubled pet equals a troubled owner, no matter if moving or not.

Tim Hanson (62)

Contributing writer at Preferable Pups!