Moving With Pets

Our pets are just like any other member of the family. Their special needs must also be taken into consideration when planning your relocation. When moving locally, your pets can usually transported easily by car. But if you’re moving long-distance, you may want to look into other options for your pets.
  • When it comes to cats, dogs, and other small animals such as birds, hamsters, and rabbits, you can take them with you in your car if you are driving. Covering cages with a soft cloth can help calm the animal and keep it calm during the trip. Be sure to plan ahead and pack enough food and water for your pets. Don’t forget to bring a leash and plastic bags for curbing your dog. Smaller caged animals may require newspapers, wood shavings, or other various liners to clean their cage during transit. If your pet has any symptoms of car-sickness, you may need to bring plastic bags or paper towels and make frequent stops along the way. If you are stopping at hotels or motels, call ahead to make sure that they allow pets.

  • Make sure to get a copy of your pet's health records from your veterinarian. You may also ask your veterinarian for any recommended professionals in your new location. You may also contact the Humane Society for recommendations.

  • Another option is to fly your pets. Check with your airline first regarding their specific rules and regulations. Depending on the destination, your pet may need to be vaccinated prior to shipping. Ensure your pet is properly identified and tagged prior to transport, including an ID tag with your name and destination address and vaccination tags. Make sure to arrange for someone to meet your pet at the destination airport if you cannot. You can even hire a kennel to meet your pet at the airport and if you like, they will care for your pet until the move is complete.

  • If you are flying to your destination, you may be able to bring your pet with you on board. Again, please check with your airline’s specific restrictions and also make sure that your pet’s carrier is approved by the airline. It may be helpful to give you pet a tranquilizer on the way to the airport to help ease its nerves and keep the animal calm. If your pet has a favorite toy, having a familiar item such as this on board with you can help keep the animal relaxed. You may also want to bring your pet’s favorite snacks or treats.

  • Fish have completely different needs than other pets and can be difficult to move. The most important thing to consider for moving fish is the difference in the water at the place you are moving to. If that water is totally of a different quality, you may risk losing all of your fish if you suddenly introduce them to a drastic new environment.

  • The best method to transport your fish is in a bucket or bags (buckets circulate more air) and keep the original tank, water, filters and décor that is already in your tank. This will also save you the time and money involved in setting up a new tank. Upon arrival at your new location, fill the tank with the old water and filters, and allow to settle for an hour. You can then begin to re-integrate the fish. Now that your old tank and water have been relocated, you can add a small amount of new water every few days and your fish will adjust without incident.

  • If you are moving long distance and the above method is not practical or possible, try the following. First, do not feed your fish for 3 days prior to the move. This will keep the waste down during transport. Depending on the size of your aquarium and the number and type of fish you have it may be easier to break them down to a couple of tanks. If the aquarium is 5 gallons or less it may be just as easy to move the entire aquarium. Place some cellophane over the top of the aquarium and remove and heaters and aerators. Place this container in a cooler box or Styrofoam container to regulate the temperature. This should keep the temperature constant for up to 48 hours. Ensure every 4- 5 hours to open up the cellophane to change the air. This option may be the best for tropical fish that may not do well in smaller containers with overcrowding or indeed sudden changes in water and temperature. Never leave this container in the car overnight as the temperature changes may be too drastic for the fish. If you plan to be traveling to your destination for a couple of days with your fish it is advisable to purchase a portable aerator to keep the water well oxygenated. Always pack your aquarium last in the moving truck so you can set it up quickly when you arrive at your destination.

  • Depending on the size or your aquarium you may need to break down the fish in to a number of smaller containers or fish bags. If you can you should use the water from the aquarium if you choose this method. In the event you do not have enough water for all the smaller use fresh or saltwater depending to the type of fish you have. It is advisable to fill the container with appropriate water and allow the water to settle for a few hours and empty and refill. Do this a couple of times and to leach any impurities out of the container material. If you have only a small number of fish and are moving only a short driving distance, you can move the fish to their new location by using plastic bags half filled with water and the other half with air. As a general guideline each fish should have at least 1-2 gallons of water. To maintain the temperature place the bags in an insulated container or Styrofoam container.

  • It is important to put healing agents in to the water as the fish may become bruised during the move. This is not uncommon and you can purchase healing agents at your local pet supply store. When you arrive at your destination, set up the aquarium as quickly as possible. You may need to add some water neutralizers to the water to neutralize any chemicals. Your local pet store can advise you of any water treatments you may need.

  • Turn the aerator on for a while before adding the fish one at a time. Slowly and gently add the fish to the filled tank. Wait until the water settles and feed as usual.