How to move with fish, reptiles and exotic pets

There is a lot to think about when moving. If you have pets, there are extra plans and precautions you need to be aware of.

Keeping your pet safe, calm, and well cared for during your move is a priority – and some pets need special considerations. Our tips will help make transporting your reptile, fish, small mammal or exotic pet a little less stressful for you both.

how to move with fish

How to Move with Pets

Pre-Moving Pet Tips

State, local and homeowner laws and regulations about exotic pets and animals vary. Familiarize yourself with all rules and restrictions before your move. Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines and any required permits.

Schedule your pet for a visit with the veterinarian before moving. It’s a great opportunity to confirm they’re healthy, request copies of their health records, get prescriptions, and ask for vet referrals in your new city or neighborhood.

Help keep your pet calm and anxiety-free leading up to the big day. Stick to their normal feeding schedule and routine as much as possible.

If you’re making a long-distance move that requires overnight hotel stays, be sure to book and confirm “exotic pet-friendly” lodging in advance.

Whether you’re relocating a few blocks or to a new city, make a pet travel kit that is well-stocked with your pet’s food, treats, medications, favorite toys, and any other essentials. They’ll have what they need, and you’ll know where everything is.  

Find a transport container. It should be small enough to keep your pet safer and more secure during travel than their everyday terrarium, tank, or cage, but large enough for them to move around. Remember that temperature control and airflow will be important for your pet’s health and well-being during transport. A breathable cage or tank cover will help reduce your pet’s stress level.

It’s a good idea to acclimate your pet to their transport carrier or cage once you have it. Place them in it for a short time each day leading up to the move to familiarize them with their new space and reduce anxiety.

how to move with reptiles

Moving With Pets Tips

Professional moving companies cannot move pets, so animals most often travel to their new home by air or car. Air travel can be expensive and requires significant paperwork. You may prefer to keep your pet by your side and take to the road together. (See “exotic pet-friendly hotel” tip above!)

Each type of animal has its own unique needs and moving can be traumatic. Be sure your pet is up to it. If they are older or their health is in decline, you might want to consider leaving them with friends or family.

  • Moving with Birds: Feathered friends are easily stressed. Transport birds in an appropriately sized cage and use a well-ventilated cover to ease the experience. Keep them watered and fed.
  • Moving with Fish: Stop feeding fish 1-2 days before moving to lessen mess during transport. Wait until the last moment, then pack your fish in doubled plastic bags (one fish per bag) or a clean, new lidded 5-gallon bucket depending on how far you’re going. Use tank water for transport and save what you can to refill the tank on the other end.
  • Moving with Reptiles & Amphibians: Cold-blooded creatures require special attention. Make sure the temperature for snakes or lizards remains regulated and provide a damp environment if needed. Venomous reptiles should be double boxed and labeled.
  • Moving with Small Mammals: To help reduce stress on hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small pets on moving day, keep them in a quiet area away from the action and check on them regularly. Make sure their transport container is chew-proof.
  • Moving with Nocturnal Animals: You’ll most likely be packing up and moving in the daytime. A well-fitting, breathable container cover will keep your calm and on their regular sleep schedule.
  • Moving with Big Animals: Give yourself plenty of lead time to book an appropriate trailer to transport large four-legged pets or exotic birds like llamas or peacocks. They will need adequate space, ventilation and cover during the trip.

how to move with pets

Unpacking with Your Pet

When you arrive in your new location, set up tanks for fish, reptiles or amphibians immediately. Keep four-legged friends in their crates or confined until movers are gone to keep them from escaping.

It will take time for your pet to feel at home. Give them lots of attention and get them into their regular routine and feeding schedule to help them adjust. Soon you’ll both be comfortable and settled in your new home!

Let Priority Moving Take Care of the Rest

While you care for your pet, we’ll take care of the rest of your move. We have the experience and know-how at Priority Moving to make moving stress-free. Our team of licensed, professional movers will pack up, transport and unpack your household with care, whether you’re relocating an apartment or a large home. Get a free moving quote and let us help you – and your pet – make a smooth and happy move.