Moving with pets can be extra stressful not only for you but for your pets as well. Some simple pre-planning is the key to an easier transfer, regardless of the mode of transportation chosen.
Karen Arbutine is a pet friendly real estate agent that can help plan and prepare a stress-free move. Here are some simple steps you can take to alleviate the stress on your four-footed friends.
1. Be sure you pet has the proper identification. When moving with your pet, be sure you pet has proper identification. Make sure the identification on the tag is up-to-date and that it includes information on how to reach you – cell phone, home phone, and new address.
2. Heath Records. Notify your Veterinarian that you will be moving and ask for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations and full medical history. Keep your pet’s medical history in a convenient location during your move and not packed away in the moving truck. Depending on your destination, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. Keep your current veterinarian’s phone number handy in case of an emergency or if your new veterinarian needs more information.
3. Medications and Food. Discuss your pet’s medical needs with your current Veterinarian prior to your move and they can provide you with any prescriptions your pet may need. Veterinarians cannot write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship. This may be inconvenient if you need medication right away. Keep at least one week worth of food and medication in case of emergency. This includes special therapeutic foods - purchase an extra supply in case you cannot find the food right away in your new area.
4. On Move Day - When packing up the house, try to keep at least one item the pet loves out until the last minute to lend a sense of security. Keep you pet in a safe place on moving day.
5. For Travel - There are many different types of travel crates and many are lightweight and collapsible just for traveling purposes. Be sure that your pet is familiar with the crate that you will be using for the move. To prepare your pet for the move gradually introduce him to the crate before the trip.
6. When traveling by car - It is best to travel with your dog in a crate, but if your dog enjoys car travel, you may want to accustom him to a restraining harness. For your safety as well as theirs, it is ALWAYS best to transport cats in a well-ventilated carrier. Secure the crate with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck, or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to being injured, harmed or stolen. Plan your trip ahead by searching for pet friendly hotels to find overnight lodging during your move, and have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand for Doggy Duty. Try to keep your pet on his regular diet and eating schedule and bring along bottled water to avoid upset stomach or diarrhea. If traveling is stressful for your pet, always consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.
7. When traveling by air - First check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you have prepared your pet to be safe and secure during the trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the size of the pet, but you will need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. - (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/pettravel.html) If traveling is stressful for your pet, always consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.
8. Get a recommendation from your current vet. Before you move, ask your veterinarian to recommend another doctor in your new area. Talk to other pet owners in your new area. Call the state veterinary medical association (VMA) for Veterinarians in your location. Once you have selected a new Vet, ask for a tour, as kennels should be kept clean at all times, not just when a client is ‘expected’. You may also want to schedule an appointment to meet the doctors. Now go through the following checklist: Are the receptionists, doctors, technicians and assistants - friendly, professional and knowledgeable? Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services or boarding? If the Veterinary Hospital that you have selected does not meet these criteria, you may want to keep looking so you can be assured that your pet is receiving the best possible care.
9. On the road and when you have arrived - Never let your dog or cat loose in a strange place. Exercise your pet on leash. Always attach the leash before opening the car door and detach it after the pet is back inside and the door closed. Take care when stopping at filling stations and restaurants. Do not give an excited pet a chance to bolt and become lost it may be gone forever in spite of identification tags.
10. Preparing your new home. Keep in mind that your pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. To reduce the chance of escaping due to fear, or pure excitement to explore the new territory, prepare all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one including food, water, medications, bed, litter box, food and water bowls. Pack these items last, so they can be immediately unpacked and available for your pet in a secure room when you arrive at your new home. Remember to keep all external windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised. Be cautious of unsupervised areas in the kitchen or utility areas as nervous pets can seek refuge in narrow gaps behind or between appliances. If your new home is nearby, your pet may be confused and find a way back to your old home. Notify the new homeowners of your new address and ask them to contact you if your pet is found in the neighborhood.
10. Learn more about your new area. Once you find a new Veterinarian, ask if there are any local disease concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease as well as vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities. Contact the city or travel information bureau for more information; these laws may affect your pet. If you will be traveling internationally, always remember to have your pet examined by a Veterinarian and carry an updated rabies vaccination and health certificate. It is very important to contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to where you are traveling to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs to bring the animal into the country.
Remember that your pet can feel your anxiety and may show unusual personality traits at this time. Pets, just like us, are very sensitive to changes.
Special Note from Karen Arbutine:
As a Volunteer for Labrador Rescue of Florida, I ask that you please consider donating to support Labs that have been abandoned, or in medical need, that without our help would be euthanized. We saved over 400 dogs last year. It costs an average $350 dollars to save each dog. You can donate by clicking here http://www.labradorrescue.net/donation.html
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