The impact moving has on pets and houseplants is often overlooked. This handy guide lists several suggestions on how to ensure a successful transition for your family pet(s) and plants.

Moving with Pets

Pets are not allowed on moving vans. Furthermore, it is important to keep your pet on a leash when outside or in a crate when movers are present. Your pet should wear an identification tag with its name, your name, and a phone number. If you are flying to your new home, contact your airline for rules and regulations regarding flying with your pets. Consult with your veterinarian concerning how to care for your pet during the trip.

Entry Requirements

If you move across state lines, contact a state veterinarian to learn the applicable state laws for entering with pets. Interstate health certificates must be obtained for dogs and horses prior to entering most states. Furthermore, many states require a rabies vaccine for dogs and cats. You will also want to check with the new state’s regulatory agency to see if any entry permits or fees are required.  A few states have border inspections of all animals being transported; others have random inspections.

Local Laws

Local communities have pet control and licensing ordinances. In some cases, the number of pets is limited.

Air Travel Checklist

  • Obtain a shipping container or carrier for your pet a week or two in advance. Familiarize your pet with it by placing the pet in it for a few minutes each day.
  • Schedule boarding and shipping arrangements for your pet.
  • Feed the pet no less than five or six hours before flight time.
  • Give the pet a drink of water no less than two hours before the flight.
  • If your pet is accompanying you, arrive at the terminal 45 minutes before normal check-in time.
  • If shipping the pet, get to the freight terminal two hours in advance of the flight. Confirm names, addresses, and telephone numbers of people responsible for the pet at origin and destination. Notify the person receiving the pet that is on the way. Pets can usually be picked up within 90 minutes of flight arrival.

Car Travel Checklist

Some pets struggle with travel, so it is important to get them used to travel. Take short trips with the pet a week or two in advance. Folding kennels or crates can be very useful. Also, accustom your pet to being on a leash and always use it when outside your vehicle or hotel. If you must stop overnight, check in advance for hotels that allow pets. Above all be sure that your pet is properly tagged and the rabies tag is firmly attached.

Moving Tips for Plants

  • SHOCK: Some houseplants are susceptible to shock when moving.
  • TEMPERATURE: In Fahrenheit, temps below 35 or above 95 for more than an hour can kill many plants. Never carry plants in the car trunk, which can get too hot in summer, and too cold in winter.
  • WATER: Most house plants can survive for seven to ten days without water with little harm, but they should be moist when placed in cartons.
  • DARKNESS/LIGHT: houseplants can tolerate darkness for up to a week if other conditions are favorable. When first exposing plants to light after prolonged darkness, do so gradually to avoid wilting and sun-scald.
  • CUTTINGS: For convenience and space-saving, you can take cuttings of your favorite plant (if possible). Most cutting can survive for several days if kept in a plastic bag containing damp vermiculite, peat moss, or perlite.


Download our Moving with Pets and Plants overview.

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