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Moving & Traveling 

If you and your pet are getting ready to move, follow these recommendations to keep your companion safe on moving day. 

Plan ahead

Advance planning will make your move less stressful on you and your pet. Pack over a period of time, and try to maintain your pet's normal routine. Invest in a high-quality, sturdy pet carrier. If you have a dog or cat whom you want to keep safely confined on moving day, get a carrier ahead of time and gradually accustom your pet to spending time in it. 

Purchase a new ID tag for your petID tags

As soon as you know your new address, get a pet ID tag that includes your new address and telephone number(s). Also make sure any microchip information is up-to-date. An up-to-date ID tag is a lost pet's ticket home. 

Keep your pet secure

On moving day, place your pet (whether in the carrier or not) in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom, so that he or she cannot escape. Place a large sign on the door that says, DO NOT ENTER, and be sure that friends and professional movers are aware that the room is off-limits. 

Make your car trip safeDog leaving carrier

If you're traveling by car and your dog enjoys car travel, you may want to accustom him to a restraining harness. Because most cats aren't comfortable traveling in cars, it's best (for their safety as well as yours) to transport them in a well-ventilated and securely placed carrier. Never leave pets alone in a parked vehicle during warm weather as the temperature rises quickly and can injure or kill them. In any season, a pet in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to being harmed or stolen. Never put an animal in the trunk of a car, the open bed of a pickup truck, or the storage area of a moving van. Talk to your veterinarian. If your pet doesn't enjoy car rides, consult your veterinarian about medication that might lessen the stress of travel. Depending on your destination, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. 

Find hotels in advance

Listings of pet-friendly hotels will help you find overnight lodging during your move. The American Automobile Association has information on finding pet-friendly hotel accommodations and useful resources for your planning. 

Plan ahead for air travelAirplane

Check with your veterinarian, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the airline if your pet will be flying. Also be sure to check out our online tips for traveling with your companion animal. You will need to take precautions to ensure your pet's safety, so give yourself ample time to work out all the arrangements. 

Prepare your new home

Take with you all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one in your new home: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, food and water bowls, and health records. Also have on hand a recent photo of your pet, for use if your pet becomes lost. 

Moving: Settling into your new home

Moving to a new home may be stressful to your pet. So be patient and understanding and provide lots of affection. Here are some pointers to help you settle in safely and sanely. 


For the first few days in your new home, it's smart to confine your cat to one room, while you work on putting the rest of the place in order. Prepare the room with your cat's bed, litter box, food and water bowls, and toys.

Now is the perfect time to make your cat an indoor-only pet. Indoor-only cats live longer and healthier lives. Resist attempts by your cat to go outdoors. If your cat hasn't established an outdoor territory, he or she is less likely to be interested in going outside. Accessories such as window perches can ease the transition. If you play with your cat and supply lots of attention, your cat should have all he or she needs indoors. 


Ideally, your dog's introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place, including his bed and crate, toys, and food and water bowls. If you must be away from home for many hours each day, look into a pet-sitter or consider dog day care.



Make your new home safe for all pets by being mindful of, or providing a secure place for, hazards that can:

  1. poison, such as cleansers, insect sprays and pesticides, medications, chocolate, certain plants, and antifreeze
  2. burn‚ such as plugged-in appliances, boiling liquids, open flames
  3. electrocute‚ such as worn lamp cords
  4. strangle, choke, or obstruct breathing‚ such as choke collars, small balls, sewing thread and needles, pantyhose, and bones
  5. topple or crush‚ such as precariously placed appliances, top-heavy filing cabinets, and lamps
  6. allow escape or theft‚ such as loose screens and inadequate fences. Never leave your pet unattended on a balcony or chained in a yard.


Veterinary care

As soon as possible, choose a veterinarian and take a practice drive to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Trying to find it when you really need it can waste precious time. Also learn basic pet first aid. 


Wherever you live, disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, or hazardous-material spills may occur. Make sure you are prepared for your pet's safety in case of a disaster. Start by keeping a list on hand of community animal welfare resources. To receive our free disaster tips brochure, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope to:

Disaster Tips
Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20037

Information adapted from HSUS and Dumb Friends League Behavioral Sheets

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