1. Moving Your Pet

    Moving to a new home can be both exciting and challenging for most people. However, a pet, whether a dog or cat, may feel only fear when moving to a different place. You can help minimize the stress on your pet by following some guidelines and precautions. Your 4-legged friend will be most grateful to you for easing their transition.
    Before You Go
    1. A visit to the vet is a good idea before you head out by car and a must if you’re traveling by plane. Airlines require certain health information. Check with the airline regarding restrictions. If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.
    2. If you’re moving far enough away that you need a new vet, ask for a copy of your pet’s medical history and vaccination records.  Depending on your destination, new vaccinations or health certificates may be required. Keep your current vet’s phone number handy in case of emergency or if your new vet requires more information.
    3. Before you move, ask your vet to recommend a doctor in your new locale or talk to other pet owners in your new community. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, ask for an impromptu tour. If the hospital doesn’t meet your criteria, keep looking until you’re assured your pet will receive the best possible care.
    4. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact info, including your destination locale, telephone number and cell phone number.
    Getting Your Pet Ready
    1. Try to get your pet comfortable with the container it will be traveling in. Make the container available for your pet to relax in. Add a favorite toy so it’s a place your pet will want to spend time in.
    2. Your pet may be a car riding veteran, but some animals don’t like the car very much or associate it with a trip to the vet. Get your pet excited about the upcoming road trip by first traveling to some fun destinations like parks. Build up the mileage a little bit at a time so your pet will be ready for a long-distance journey.
    3. It’s best to travel with your dog in a crate; second-best is to use a restraining harness. For cats, it’s always best to use a well-ventilated carrier. Never leave your pet unattended or in the bed of a truck or storage area of a moving van. And, make sure you have a pet-friendly hotel if you’ll require lodging and try to keep your pet on its regular diet and eating schedule.
    4. Keep necessary items in a separate bag for your pet, such as water, medications, toys, treats, plastic bags and at least 1 week’s worth of food. It might take some time to find your pets food in your new area or to get a prescription refill, so make sure you have extra on hand.
    Packing Up & Moving Out
    1. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as a bathroom. Or, consider keeping your pet with a friend who can keep it entertained while the move is underway. Plan ahead for your pet’s temperament and start preparing as early as possible. When moving day arrives, the two of you will be better able to enjoy the experience.
    2. Transport your pet last-minute. Try to keep your pet in the place you are moving from as long as possible. Familiarity will make the process easier and less frightful. Also, make sure your pet’s hiding places are blocked off in advance.
    3. If you’re moving over a long distance, take extra consideration to accommodate your pets travel needs. If possible, take a trial run to see how they react.
    Arriving at Your New Home
    1. Prep your home for new pets. Immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet needs. Pack them in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away. Be sure to keep doors and windows closed and be cautious of places nervous pets might hide. Again, be sure your pet has identification on their collar just in case.
    2. Pets may remain nervous or agitated as they adjust to their new surroundings. Be sure you have familiar items around to help imprint the idea that the new home is there to stay.
    3. Learn about your new area. Ask your new vet about local health concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease or any new vaccines your pet may require. Also be aware of unique laws such as breed restrictions or leash laws.  If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or the country’s embassy to get specific information regarding special documents, quarantine or costs to bring your pet to the new country.

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