Your Pets

Your Pets

Moving the Menagerie
Pet Peeves
Transporting By Air
Transporting By Car
Professional Pet Service
Pet Information Directory

If you think moving is stressful, imagine how "Fido" feels. Whether it's a dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other pet variety, preplanning is extremely important when it comes to moving a pet. Pets can become nervous when faced with an unfamiliar situation. The better prepared you are, the more comfortable your pet will be.

Pet Peeves

ATTENTION OWNERS: Aaaarrf! There's nothing more annoying than being yanked from familiar territory - that has already been marked - and forced to navigate new surroundings. Speaking for most animals, moving ranks right up there with baths and visits to the vet.

Here are some of the biggest pet peeves when it comes to moving:

  • Forgetting to get a copy of health records from the veterinarian. This information needs to be passed on to the veterinarian at the new location to ensure continued good health.
  • Failure to get a Health Certificate less than 10 days old. Most states require one for dogs. Many states will require one for cats and birds. The Health Certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian and must be accompanied by an inoculations record.
  • Owner doesn't get a permit allowing entry into the destination state. Vets can help owners apply for one. A fee may be charged (It is well worth it).


  • Lack of Identification. Owner fails to have identification secured to his or her pet's collar (birds are identified by leg bands). ID tags should include pet's name, your name and destination address. Most states also require dogs and cats to have a rabies tag on their collars.


  • Owner doesn't call the City Clerk in the new neighborhood to check for local pet ordinances. "Leash Laws" are becoming more common. Licensing may be necessary, and the number of pets per household may be limited (imagine that).

Transporting By Air

First and foremost, when putting your pet on a plane, make travel arrangements well in advance to avoid problems. Before departure:

  1. Have your pet checked by a vet. Get any necessary inoculations, a health certificate, and any sedatives or medications your pet may need.
  2. Check the airline in advance for instructions, reservations, special requirements and insurance coverage.
  3. Get a Federal Aviation Administration approved container and a travel ID tag.

If you plan to bring your pet on board, and if it's small enough to fit in the cabin area, you must notify the airlines in advance. Some airlines will allow a pet inside if it is in an FAA-approved container and will fit under the seat; it is odorless and inoffensive and the limit for the number of animals inside the cabin has not been reached. Usually, pets allowed on board are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Seeing Eye Dogs can sit in the aisle of the cabin at the owner's feet.

If possible, don't change air carriers during your trip. Moving you pet from one plane to another adds extra work, cost and stress. Write the words "LIVE ANIMAL" clearly on the outside of the container. You've seen how baggage handlers handle unmarked luggage.

Pets not accompanied by the owner or too large to travel inside the cabin must travel air freight. Sorry, reptiles or rodents of any kind aren't usually allowed.

Let the airline know in advance that you will be shipping an animal by air freight. You may need to bring your pet to freight loading two or more hours before departure. For your pet's welfare and comfort, be sure to:

  • Feed at least five hours before flight time, and water it at least two hours before flight time.
  • Exercise your pet at the airport and administer any required medications.

You are responsible for picking up your pet at destination. Pets not picked up in a reasonable amount of time (24 hours) will either be returned to point of origin at owner's expense, or placed in a kennel, also at owner's expense.

Airlines may refuse to transport a pet if: it cannot be shipped within a 24-hour period; ground temperature is below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees at either origin or destination; or, it is not in an FAA-approved kennel with proper identification.

Know your destination state's pet entry laws and regulations. Some states have border inspection and other states rely on individual compliance with the law. Airports normally have officials present to inspect animals arriving by air.


A proper container should be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down. It must have adequate cross-ventilation and a leakproof bottom with layers of absorbent lining. It should also have a secure lock on the door and should be able to withstand bumps, jostles and falls.

Most airlines have travel kennels available for you to buy. These kennels meet all FAA requirements for pet transportation. Pet stores may also have acceptable containers for sale.

Transportation by Car

Car travel is probably the best way of transporting your pet to his or her new home. It provides a feeling of security for both you and your pet, and it is less expensive.

If your pet isn't used to car travel, take it on short rides before the trip to help accustom the pet to the motion of the car. Some pets may never become accustom, so you might want to consult your veterinarian about medication to reduce or eliminate motion sickness, obsessive crying, etc.

If you're planning to stop at a motel along the way, be prepared. Find out which motels accept pets. Consider using a leash, kennel or carrier to move your pet from car to motel.

Before leaving, make certain you have all your pet's required documents. Dogs and cats should be wearing collars with ID and rabies tags.

Take along an ample supply of food, fresh water and a dish for each; a leash and grooming brush; medications, extra towels and newspaper; a favorite toy or two; your pet's blanket; and, a room deodorizer for motel rooms.

On The Road

Don't feed or water your pet for a few hours before you leave. Once you're on the road, feed only once daily. Make frequent stops to water and exercise your pet, and keep your pet on a leash for its protection, and yours.

Try not to leave your pet in the car alone. If you absolutely have to, lock the car doors and crack windows for cross-ventilation. Check on your pet regularly if you must leave it alone for very long.

If you leave your pet alone in a motel room, notify the management and hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Before leaving the motel, use your air freshener to help eliminate odors.

If you're traveling with a bird, keep the cage covered to help calm it. Remove water and food dishes to avoid messy spills. Feed and water it at stops along the way.

Arriving At Your New Home

Like you, your pet needs time to adjust to the new house and new surroundings. Use your pet's favorite food bowl, bedding and toys to help it feel at home.

Once everyone's settled in, locate a new veterinarian. Your old vet may have a recommendation or you can contact the local Humane Society for references. Consult with your van line at any stage of your move. They are always ready to help.

Professional Pet Service

If you're too busy to make the proper preparations for your pet's move, consider hiring a professional pet service that can take care of everything for you. Your Atlas Van Lines representative can recommend a reputable service in your area.

Find out about your destination state's pet entry laws and regulations by contacting the following state agencies:

Alabama   State Veterinarian
Department of Agriculture & Industries
(205) 242-2647
Alaska   State Veterinarian
(907) 745-3236
Arizona   State Veterinarian
(602) 407-2858
Arkansas   State Veterinarian
(501) 225-5138
California   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Food & Agriculture
(916) 654-0881
Colorado   State Veterinarian
(303) 239-4161
Connecticut   State Veterinarian
Dept. Of Agriculture
(203) 566-4616
Delaware   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(302) 739-4811
Florida   State Veterinarian
Florida Dept. of Agriculture &
Consumer Services
(904) 488-7747
Georgia   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(404) 656-3671
Hawaii   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(808) 483-7111
Idaho   Division of Animal Industries
(208) 334-3256
Illinois   Division of Animal Industries
(217) 782-4944
Indiana   State Veterinarian
(317) 232-1344
Iowa   State Veterinarian
Bureau of Animal Industry
(515) 281-5305
Kansas   Livestock Commissioner
Animal Health Department
(913) 296-2326
Kentucky   State Veterinarian
(502) 564-3956
Louisiana   State Veterinarian
(504) 925-3980
Maine   Director
Div. of Veterinary Services,
Dept. of Agriculture
(207) 289-3701
Maryland   State Veterinarian
Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
Animal Health Division
(410) 841-5810
Massachusetts   Bureau of Animal Health
(617) 727-3018
Michigan   State Veterinarian
Animal Industry Division
(517) 373-1077
Minnesota   Executive Secretary
Board of Animal Health
(612) 296-2942 x16
Mississippi   State Veterinarian
(601) 354-6089
Missouri   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(314) 751-3377
Montana   Dept. of Livestock
(406) 444-2043
Nebraska   State Veterinarian
(402) 471-2351
Nevada   State Veterinarian Director
Bureau of Animal Industry,
Nevada Dept. of Agriculture
(702) 688-1180
New Hampshire   State Veterinarian
New Hampshire Dept. of Agriculture
(603) 271-2404
New Jersey   Division of Animal Health,
Dept. of Agriculture
(609) 292-3965
New Mexico   State Veterinarian
New Mexico Livestock Board
(505) 841-4000
New York   Division of Animal Industry,
New York State Dept. of Agriculture
(518) 457-3502
North Carolina   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(919) 733-7601
North Dakota   State Veterinarian
North Dakota Board of Animal Health
(701) 224-2655
Ohio   Chief
Division of Animal Industry
(614) 866-6361
Oklahoma   State Veterinarian
Animal Industry Services
(405) 521-2840
Oregon   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(503) 378-4710
Pennsylvania   Director
Bureau of Agriculture
(717) 783-6677
Rhode Island   State Veterinarian
Division of Agriculture
(401) 277-2781
South Carolina   State Veterinarian
Clemson University
(803) 788-2260
South Dakota   State Veterinarian
(605) 773-3321
Tennessee   State Veterinarian
(615) 360-0120
Texas   Director
Texas Animal Health Commission
(512) 719-0700
Utah   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(801) 538-7160
Vermont   State Veterinariana
Livestock Division, Dept. of Agriculture,
Food & Market
(802) 828-2421
Virginia   State Veterinarian
Division of Animal Health
(804) 786-2481
Washington   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture, Food Safety, Animal
Health Division
(206) 902-1878
West Virginia   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(304) 558-2214
Wisconsin   State Veterinarian
Dept. of Agriculture
(608) 266-3481
Wyoming   State Veterinarian
Wyoming Livestock Board
(307) 777-7515