Whatever pets you have will need special attention when being moved to a new home

Pets need a lot of support and loving care during the transitional period of moving house.

Your animal friends will be confused and even scared by the unusual activities going on around them and all the hassle and commotion in your home is sure to alarm them.

So, do your best to preserve your pets’ daily routine and to tend to their needs with even greater care than usual.

Meanwhile, find the time to make all the necessary preparations for their safe transportation and quick adjustment to your future home. Depending on what kind of pet you have, these preparations will have their specifics.

If you are the happy owner of one of the most common pets – a dog or a cat, you will easily find a lot of information and advice on the best methods to move them safely and stress-free across the country.

However big a challenge moving house with cats and dogs may be, you should experience no problems if you choose to follow our detailed tips on how to successfully relocate your furry friends.

Moving with some “unusual” pets, however, could be a lot more difficult or risky.

You need to research the facts carefully before undertaking the delicate and tricky task of relocating birds, fish, reptiles, or any other very special little friends you might have.

You may also like to read: Purrrfect Tips on How to Move Home With Cats. In this guide, we share advice on how to prepare your cat for moving home, the safest ways to transport them, and how to help them adjust to their new home.

Here are some practical tips on how to move house with pets, be they feathery, scaly, or slimy.

How to Move with Pet Birds

We often measure distance as the crow flies exactly because birds move so easily, after all, Mother Nature gave them the ability to fly, with no boundaries to limit them and no distances so great as to intimidate them.

They use the magnetic field of the Earth like a natural GPS for their annual migrations and cross half the globe in several days – birds are symbolic of freedom.

And yet, they are kept in cages, and relocating them to a new city, just several hundred miles away, turns out to be a problem.

To avoid any problems, undue stress, accidents, or injury to your feathery friends during your imminent relocation, follow our proven tips for moving with birds:


Condition your birds

To survive the move without any negative consequences, your birds need to be in good health.

You are advised to include some stress-reducing and immunity-boosting vitamins, probiotics, and other supplements in their diet for a couple of weeks before the move (as well as for at least one more week after arriving at your future home);

Prepare an appropriate carrier

If you are moving a short distance and plan to transport your pet(s) in your own car, you can, of course, let your bird stay in its cage. You just need to take some simple precautions (see below for more details).

In case you own several birds, they should travel in an appropriate container for each of them.

Even if your birds are small, even if they are a pair, each bird has to travel separately to avoid accidental injuries in case your feathered friends are seized by panic.

If your bird is going to be shipped in a carrier different than its own cage, remember that your feathery friend needs to get accustomed to the new surroundings beforehand.

Let the bird explore this new habitat and sleep in it so that no anxiety is aroused by the unfamiliar carrier.

Moving day

As it is with all pets, your birds should be the last to leave your old property and the first ones to be “unpacked” when you reach your new home.

Keep your bird in a calm room, away from movers and moving procedures while your removals take your personal effects out of your home and load them on the moving van.

Don’t forget to visit it from time to time, give it special treats, and talk to it in a composed voice, showing a lot of care.


This should not be a problematic experience, especially if the trip is short.

Just make sure to render the cage safe – remove any toys and swings, as well as the water and food receptacles, add tie wraps to all the sides and the door for extra protection, and secure the entire cage to the backseat of your car.

When you are sure that nothing could accidentally fall or shift inside the cage and hurt your bird, cover the cage with a lightweight cloth or blanket to provide both comfort (birds are sensitive to temperature changes) and a sense of security.

If necessary, use glare guards to protect your bird from direct sunlight and let your air-conditioning run to maintain a pleasant temperature.

Bring juicy fruit and vegetables with you (keep them in a quality cooler) and feed them to your bird to keep it hydrated and comfortable during the journey.

In case your drive lasts for more than a couple of hours, plan for stops when you can give your pet proper food and water.

Be very careful if you need to open the cage door because the anxious bird may try to escape.


Decide upon an appropriate location for the cage immediately after arriving in your new home.

Give your bird plenty of food and water and return all its favorite toys and decorations into the cage.

Make sure to arrange everything inside the way it was before the move and use the same kind of food you used back home for at least a couple of weeks after the relocation.

Place the cage in a quiet room, away from the unpacking chaos that’s next on the agenda.

Your birds will need some extra attention before their anxiety fades away.

If you notice them plucking at their feathers more than usual, even after they have spent about a week in the new surroundings, take your birds for a check-up, they may still suffer from stress and the veterinarian will give you practical advice on how you can soothe your feathery friends and ensure their good physical and mental health (and their joyful chirp to lift your spirits after a difficult relocation period).

You may also like to read: How to Dog-Proof Your Home, Garden, and Car. This is a comprehensive guide on how to dog-proof your new home and garden to ensure that your dog is safe in their new surroundings.

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How to Move Fish to a New House

Always seek professional advice when moving fish to a new home

When moving house with fish, two small details make the process overwhelmingly difficult:

1) Fish are very delicate and sensitive to changes in the surroundings, so you need to be extra careful to help them survive the relocation, especially a long distance one;


2) You need to move the fish tank as well – keep in mind that this extremely fragile glass home is in great danger during transportation procedures.

To have a fair chance to achieve a happy end, you need to:

Keep the time your fish will spend out of the tank to a minimum

This means that the aquarium should be among the last items you will pack for moving and among the first ones you will set up upon arrival.

You are advised to select a good place for your fish tank in advance so that you waste no time looking for an appropriate location after arriving in your new home with all your belongings.

There should be enough space for the aquarium and its accessories, it should be protected from direct sunlight, the area should be level and firm enough to support the weight of the tank and there should be electric outlets nearby, and preferably a source of water, too.

Prepare adequate holding containers

Clean and leak-proof five-gallon buckets are best for the job, especially if they have lids.

If not, cover them with plastic bags to prevent water from splashing;

Don’t feed your fish one day before the move

This is necessary to keep the water free from waste. Besides, fish can usually survive about a week without food and will be too stressed during the move to eat anyway.

Drain about half of the water from the fish tank into the buckets until they are about 2/3 full

You will be able to preserve the same bacteria colony and your fish will have a greater chance to survive in their “own water”. Just take water from the top, not from the bottom of the tank (it will not be clean enough).

Transfer your fish into one (or two if you possess a lot of fish or if any of them are aggressive) of the buckets

Catch them carefully with a net, count them to make sure none of your scaly friends have remained in the tank hidden among the decorations or the plants, and release them gently into a bucket full of water.

You are advised to cover the container with a lid (or a plastic bag) but make sure there is enough air inside for the fish to breathe.

If your trip is going to last longer you will need to supply additional oxygen (provide a battery-powered air pump).

You may want to consider transporting your fish in boxes with styrofoam lining (styrofoam ice chests) instead, especially for longer distances (plastic buckets could leech toxins and cannot preserve the appropriate water temperature long enough).

Transfer the water plants to another bucket

Take them out of the tank with extreme caution, being careful not to damage the roots, or to harm the stems and the leaves.

Place them gently in a bucket full of water and do your best to arrange them so that breaking or tangling is avoided.

Be mindful of any crabs, shrimps, water snails, spiders, or any other creatures that have lived in the tank – they can be carried along in plastic bags with a small amount of water or into one of the buckets.

Remove all the decorations and accessories

Rocks and other decorative elements don’t need water and you can pack them carefully in appropriate boxes, providing enough wrapping and padding materials to preserve them.

You are at liberty to choose whether to place the water pumps, filters, tubes, heaters, and chillers, light fixtures, and other accessories in a box full of water or an empty container, just make sure to secure them properly like any other fragile appliances.

However, for short-distance moves you are advised to store the filters in chemical-free sealed containers filled with water from the tank.

Drain the tank completely

No water should remain inside and you are recommended to even remove the gravel from larger tanks and put it into an empty bucket.

The weight of the gravel could easily break the bottom of the tank when it is lifted, of course, but even a small quantity of water may cause it to crack, so make sure it is completely empty.

Get the tank ready for transportation

If your tank can be disassembled, don’t hesitate to do it – very carefully, of course.

If not, make sure it is secured well and kept level during the transportation – wrap it in bubble wrap, place it in a padded box if it is small enough, whatever is appropriate in your particular situation.

Set up the tank immediately after arriving

As already mentioned you should get your fish back in their tank as soon as possible.

Position the tank at its predetermined place, set up the filters, heaters, and pumps, return the gravel to the bottom, pour in some of the preserved water from the buckets, and meanwhile replant the water plants and place the decorations back in.

You’d better not rearrange the interior of your aquarium at this stage because your fish will feel better in familiar surroundings.

Get as much water as possible back into the tank and then transfer the fish.

Add the water from the bucket(s) where the fish were and if necessary, add some more dechlorinated tap water.

After about an hour, turn on the heaters and the pumps and check several times during the next couple of days to make sure the temperature is correct and everything is working properly.

You may also like to read: How to Move Fish When Moving Home. This is a far more comprehensive guide on how to pack and move your fish to a new home.

How to Move Reptiles and Amphibians

Your cold-blooded pets may not be able to keep their cool during the hectic moving preparations and procedures, so do your best to preserve their daily routine and reduce stress as much as possible – keep in mind that reptiles are very susceptible to health issues.


Have your reptiles checked by a veterinarian about a week before the move, obtain any necessary health certificates, and ask for advice on how to best care for your rather unusual friends during your forthcoming relocation.

Get hold of an appropriate carrier and allow your reptile enough time to get used to it.

The container should be spacious enough for your crawling friend to move inside, but not so large as to let the animal be tossed around inside during the transportation.

The containers should be properly ventilated – make sure there are several holes to allow enough air in but they are small enough not to allow your animal out.

Also, when moving amphibians or reptiles that need a wet environment remember to line a water-proof container with moist towels to prevent dehydration and help them survive the move.

However, ensuring the appropriate temperature for your extraordinary friends is probably the biggest challenge you will be faced with – you will need to provide cooling or heating elements depending on the weather conditions and the ambient temperatures.


Your removal company will be unable to take your scaly friends in the removal van so you must transport them in your car.

You will be able to adjust the air-conditioning to your pet’s temperature needs and to keep the surrounding noises low reassuring your animal that it is not in danger.

Just make sure the container you selected is well-secured, properly ventilated, and away from direct sunlight.

Remove any objects from inside the carrier that could fall and injure your pet and arrange your other items in the car so that they don’t block access to your reptile’s temporary habitat.

If possible, avoid any stops – the faster you reach your new home, the greater the chance that your little friend will survive the move without any trauma.

If you need to stay in a hotel overnight, select one that will allow you to take your reptile in the room with you.

Just in case, bring enough food and water for your pet in case of delay or an emergency.

Each of your reptiles or amphibians should travel in their separate containers and larger lizards and tortoises can just go into an appropriate carrier.

The situation is a bit different with toads, crabs, snakes (especially poisonous ones), and other small or dangerous animals, or ones that have specific requirements (turtles, for example, which need constant contact with water).

You can seal each one in an appropriate bag (partially full of water if necessary) and then arrange the bags in a styrofoam cooler to provide protection and appropriate temperature. You should secure the box and label it “LIVE ANIMALS” and other relevant information.

How to Transport a Terrarium

If your reptiles or amphibians used to live in home terrariums, you will have to move their specific habitats, too, of course.

Transporting a terrarium is similar to transporting a fish tank, only the plants will probably be much more abundant and there may not be water inside.

First, catch your pets and secure them in suitable carriers, then place the entire terrarium as it is in a well-padded wooden crate and seal it appropriately, leaving just several holes to let some air in (only make sure the crate will be kept level and stable throughout the entire process), or you’d better:

  • Remove all the decorations and accessories and pack them appropriately;
  • Drain and preserve the water (if any) in a sealed bucket;
  • Carefully take out the plants and wrap them so that their root systems are well preserved and their stems and leaves remain intact;
  • Store any soil, sand, or gravel in a separate container (bucket);
  • Disassemble or warp the glass enclosure as any fragile item.

If your terrarium hosts insects, spiders, or scorpions, transfer them into adequate containers and secure them really well.

After The Move

When you reach your final destination, settle your pets into their habitual surroundings as soon as possible.

Take them to a quiet place, restore their daily routine, and verify the correct temperature in their habitat.

Try to alleviate the moving stress by tending to their needs and providing a calm and pleasant atmosphere.

Don’t change their food or any elements in their immediate surroundings and watch for warning signs in their behaviour.

Once they begin to act normal, your relocation can be declared successful – reptiles and amphibians will not need a period of adjustment if they have survived the move in good health and have overcome the stress caused by the transportation and the sudden changes.

You may also like to read: How to Pack a Car When Moving Home. The best way to transport your pets to your new home is by using your car. In this guide, we share useful tips on how to prepare your car, safe loading techniques, and how to safely load it.

How to Move Pet Rodents

Whether you are the lucky owner of mischievous and fascinating gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, mice, or rats (or even pet rabbits, although they are not rodents), you have to follow the same basic procedures when moving house with them:

  • Take them to your vet for a thorough checkup and obtain relevant medical records and health certificates;
  • Provide well-constructed, escape-proof carriers of appropriate sizes;
  • Prevent injuries by removing any objects that could fall and hurt your pet (if possible, line the carrier with some comforting and protective materials);
  • Withhold food and water for a couple of hours before the trip to avoid motion sickness;
  • For longer trips, bring along their habitual food and bottled water, some comfort toys, and essential medications. Remember that special treats soothe the nerves better than anything else;
  • Make sure the trip lasts as little as possible and restore the daily routine of your pet at the earliest opportunity.

NOTE: Whenever relocating your pets always seek professional advice from your vet first and ensure that you keep a close eye on them post-move to ensure that they have suffered no adverse effects from their journey to their new home.

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