Tips for Moving Your Pets Out of State

Date posted: 07/30/2012

by Kathy Teel on
in Moving & Traveling

3396 Tips for Moving Your Pets Out of State

Moving out of state requires some planning on your part, especially if you’re taking pets with you. Some states have laws that regulate the entrance of dogs, cats, horses, parrots, and other animals (with the exception of tropical fish, with which you can cross borders freely).

Not complying with state laws when moving your pets out of state can result in tickets, civil prosecution, and even removal of your pets from the home.

Fortunately, we have several tips to help you move out of state with your pets:

  • Before relocating, check with your new state’s Department of Agriculture for licensing laws and other issues related to pet control (leash laws, pet vaccinations, etc.).
  • While we typically think of pet control and licensing ordinances with regard to dogs, be aware that many states and communities now require licensing cats and exotic birds, as well.
  • If you plan to bring horses, ponies, or livestock to a new state, check ahead to see if your destination prohibits the relocation of such animals within city limits.
  • In communities where stabling is permitted inside city limits, there is almost always a minimum distance required between the stable and another residence (whether yours or your neighbor’s); maximum pasture size is usually specified as well; be sure to make sure your property is compliant with state guidelines.
  • Pet licensing fees, as well as the length of time allowed a new resident to obtain a license for a pet, are set by municipalities, not states, and vary from community to community; call City Hall to find out how long you have to comply.

Helping Your Pet Adjust to the Move

Pets get anxious and fear the unknown just like people do, but you can help your pet adjust to your move and settle in to a happy life.

Below are a few tips for helping your pet adjust when you relocate.

  • Relax. Pets respond to their owners’ stress, so the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your pet will be.
  • Keep your routine. Keep feeding, walking, training, and play times consistent even if you’re busy packing up the house. Your pet will be reassured that the important things won’t change.
  • Bring familiar items. In a new home, your pet will be comforted by having the same food dishes, sleeping blanket, chew toys and treats. They will help him understand that the new home is something like the old one.
  • Let your pet explore. Your pet will need to look around and get to know the new space. Give him the freedom to explore and sniff. When you go outdoors with a dog, keep the dog on a leash until he knows his way around the new yard.
  • Give extra attention. “Home” for a pet is where you are, so make sure to be with your pet as much as possible. Some extra attention and affection will help your pet understand that you won’t leave him.

Moves can be stressful for pets as well as people, but with some planning you can meet both the legal requirements and the emotional needs of your pets.

Have you ever moved with a pet? What tips do you have to offer?

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About Kathy Teel

Kathy Teel is a freelance writer and editor, a sometime college instructor, and a perpetual student. She has written extensively in the areas of local law, business, politics, addiction and recovery, marriage and sexuality, parenting, education, and religion and spirituality. She is a founding member of her town’s community theatre and works with learning disabled children in her local school. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband, another writer/ editor/ student/ actor, and her three incredibly talented children. Kathy has been writing for a living since 2006, and would love to consider new projects. Contact her at More articles by Kathy Teel

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