Relax! Reducing Stress when Moving with Pets


by Julie Stoklosa

The boxes are packed. The new address is secured. It’s time to move–something experts say the average American does more than 11 times in his or her lifetime. And for 65% of American homes, this act of serial relocation involves the transport of at least one pet.

It’s no secret that moving, regardless of the reason, is considered one of life’s top stressors right after the death of a loved one and divorce. Now add in the complexity of ensuring the comfort and safety of a beloved pet or two into the mix. The result is a level of anxiety that is simply off the charts for both the pet owner and the furry members of the family.

A Moving Experience

Moving with pets can be daunting at best; heartbreaking at worst. Challenges stemming from logistical roadblocks, prohibitive costs or other difficulties may result in the devastating decision by owners to leave their treasured pet behind.

For owners who are able to arrange passage for their pets, other concerns surface. Commercial flights are an obvious option but one that The Humane Society of the United States says should be considered only after pet owners become “aware of the dangers of flying your pet in a cargo hold.” This is especially noteworthy because recent airline industry regulations now curtail the ability for many pets to travel in plane cabins.

Pet parents choosing to drive their fur baby to a new home deal with lodging dilemmas, tranquilizing angst, and nerve-wracking unknowns. It’s hard to focus on the road when consumed with a pet’s care.

Opting for Less Stress

The demand for a new way to reduce relocation stress for both owners and pets collided with the creation of CitizenShipper, the online auction-based peer-to-peer shipping marketplace founded by Richard Obousy. Today, CitizenShipper and companies like it, provide an affordable, trustworthy method to get pets from Point A to Point B while ensuring quality care for the animals and peace-of-mind for the owners.

The idea behind pet transport sites is simple, utilizing a model similar to other entrepreneurial enterprises such as Uber and Lyft. The online marketplace connects individuals who have something to ship with drivers who bid on a variety of posted transport jobs. Pet owners select a driver’s bid to complete the shipment.

According to Obousy, pet relocation has become a top transport service sought on CitizenShipper in the last three years. “It was obvious there was a tremendous need and opportunity to take pet transport in a direction that was considerably more owner-and pet-friendly,” said Obousy. “Minimizing stress for both the pet and the pet owner is critical to the process and must be the driver’s top priority–it’s what separates great pet moving services from the pack.”

How does a pet owner know if a transport provider is committed to reducing stress for the owner and the pet? Obousy says to look for a transporter who understands the pivotal role communication plays in defusing stress and has a platform in place for this discussion to take place. For example, Obousy says the CitizenShipper’s success as a pet transport service can be directly related to the forum for conversations it provides on its site.

Unlocking Peace of Mind

For most individuals, a pet is among the most precious cargo involved in the move. Trustworthy transporters know the first step to reducing stress starts with a detailed conversation addressing the pet owner’s concerns. This discussion alleviates the “unknowns” that causes the owner the most anxiety. How is my pet doing? Is she or he comfortable? What will the driver do to ensure my pet is safe? How will the driver comfort my pet? Where will my fur baby sleep? And the list goes on.


“This is so much more than putting an animal in a cage and driving it to a destination,” said Obousy. “Our pet transport drivers go the extra mile to ensure pet owners are comfortable with how often and by what means updates are provided throughout the journey.”

Obousy says it’s common for owners to request regular text updates, emails or photos from the driver or to ask for FaceTime check-in with pets while on the road. “If a pet moving service and its drivers don’t enthusiastically embrace communication touchpoints in the transport plan, consider looking at a different company and/or driver,” said Obousy.

Other hallmarks of reliable pet transport sources include driver background checks, a large selection of specialized pet drivers to choose from and access to owner feedback rating the performance of individual drivers.

Ensuring Creature Comforts

Established lines of communication also are instrumental in reducing stress for the pets being transported. Animals, like people, feed off the energy of others. Relaxed owners are more likely to present calmer pets come moving day. But the benefits of a transport partnership don’t end there.

Pets are creatures of habit. They have preferences and routines that provide comfort in addition to supporting health and well-being. Communication and discussion also provide the ideal forum for an owner to provide and explain food, play, medication, affection and environmental insights to the transportation provider. Sharing this information allows transporters to integrate as much normality as possible into the pet’s life during the move, which ultimately results in a less stressful experience.

Time to Get Moving

While no transport arrangement fully eliminates the stress caused by moving, personal transporters can substantially reduce the anxiety caused by separating owners from their furry family members. Knowing there is a devoted individual taking care of a pet’s needs frees the owner from worry and distraction.

To make sure pet owners and pets reap the maximum benefits of utilizing a personalized pet transports service, Obousy advises early action. It is important that owners have adequate time to weigh options, compare costs, and engage with quality shippers to determine the best transport “fit” for a pet. “You want the luxury of selecting a pet transport service instead of settling for one,” said Obousy.