How to Prepare for Moving Cross-Country with Pets 

Cross-country moving isn't a piece of cake. There's a lot of planning that needs to be done and many factors can affect the end result. Preparing for these kinds of relocations is hard on its own. However, there are some things that can make it even tougher. Moving cross-country with pets can take a lot out of a person. There's almost double the preparation that you need to put in. Luckily, here are some of our tips that might make things easier. 

Before buying a new home 

The preparation for something like relocating cross-country with pets needs to start even before the moving preparation. If you own pets, think about the ways your new home will affect them. The effects of moving can be both positive and negative. Some things to think about when buying a new home are whether it has a suitable yard, its position in relation to the street, and the safety of the neighborhood. You want to ensure your pets have plenty of space and that they will always be safe. 


You should pack your pets' belongings with the same attentiveness as you do your own. However, while moving with pets cross-country or otherwise, you'll need to have a lot of things on hand. Packing separately for your pets might be the best solution. Keep their bag with you, just as you would your carry-on.  

A suitcase packed for moving cross-country with pets. 

Relocating cross-country with pets takes some time and effort. Make sure you've packed properly. 

A suitcase packed for moving cross-country with pets. 

Plan the day of the move 

While you need to plan out a lot more than just the day of the move, this doesn't really concern your pets. Apart from some things being shifted here and there, they won't really notice the difference during those days, especially if you don't leave them alone that often. 

Nonetheless, they will surely notice that something is changing when it's time to actually move. This is why you need to be prepared for anything and everything when moving cross-country with pets. Physically and mentally.  

Hire someone to take care of your pets 

If you assess that your pets can't calmly go through this process, that's fine. Think about hiring a sitter and leaving your pet with them for a while. This way, they'll be much calmer than they would've been otherwise. It's a much better option than moving cross-country with your pet and making them suffer through something that makes them uncomfortable. 

Take them to the vet 

There's a lot of benefits to taking your pets to the vet before moving cross-country with them. If there's anything wrong with them or something that requires attention, who better to notice than an expert? 

Apart from getting your pet a new collar for ticks and doing a basic check-up, there might be something else your local vet can do for your pet in this type of situation. There are special light sedatives that you might benefit from if the road that's ahead of you is rough or your pet is especially agitated. 

Safety first 

Before moving cross-country with pets, think about chipping them. If this sounds too invasive, you might want to think about getting them a collar with tracking technology. 

Different transportation 

Another thing that you need to consider when relocating cross-country with your pet is what the most comfortable way for them to get there is. If you're travelling by car then think about car seats and adjustments that are going to make the trip more bearable and pleasant.  

Take it slow 

Have patience with your pets when moving cross-country with them. They don't have a way of knowing what's going on and are probably a bit scared. Bring plenty of chew toys and treats to show them that they're safe and that they have you there with them. Make sure that you make stops for potty breaks and a bit of exercise. 

Once you get there, don't punish them for marking the territory at first. You can do that a bit later, of course. However, chances are that they'll initially be too confused to know what it is that they did wrong. 

Planning on making stops? 

If you're planning on taking more permanent breaks while moving cross-country with pets, you need to call up the places that you want to stay in first. Some of them might not allow pets. Taking longer breaks makes moving easier on your kids as well as your pets. There's no need to rush if you plan for some extra time on the road. 

A dog running on green grass on a break from moving cross-country. 

Make sure to take plenty of breaks when moving cross-country with your pets. 

A dog running on green grass on a break from moving cross-country. 

Find good movers 

Finding the right crew to take care of your move is one of the most important things when moving cross-country with pets. This will ensure that you have enough time to dedicate to your pet and anything else that needs tending to. 

Make your home safe for pets 

Once you've arrived or even before, try to make your home pet-friendly and ready for their move-in. After you've moved cross-country with pets, they'll need plenty of rest, so you can do this then as well. If you live in a neighborhood where safety isn't really prioritized, think about getting home security. This way, you'll be able to leave your home in peace. 

Don't forget 

  • Take them out for walks 

  • Get them a tag necklace 

  • Bring something to calm them down 

  • Act as normally as possible 

New home 

They'll need some time to get used to the new home. This will be an exciting time for your pets and they might even get more playful than before. A great way for them and yourself to get to know the area once you've moved cross-country with your pets is to go on walks and hikes. Exploring new areas will make you feel like you belong there.