Moving Tips: How to Keep Pets Happy and Safe During a Move

You get so wrapped up in your move that it’s easy to forget about your furry, four-legged family members. Here are some steps to take to make sure your pets are ready for the transition.

  1. Update your pet’s tag: As soon as you know your new address, be sure to update their tags with your new information. Include your new address, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately. Also, be sure to replace old tattered collars with sturdy new ones.
  2. See the vet: If you are making a long distance move and need to change vets, make an appointment to see your current vet before you take off. If your pet is anxious during travel, ask your vet for recommendations. Also check to see if your pet’s prescriptions and vaccinations are up to date, get copies of your pet’s medical history to take with you, and start to research vets at your new location (The American Veterinarian Association is a great resource when it comes to finding a new vet ). Depending on your destination—especially if you are moving to a new country—you may need additional vaccinations, medications and health certificates. Consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as your new country’s embassy to obtain specific information on special documentation, quarantine related information, or costs to bring an animal into the country. Add your new vet’s phone number to your cell phone so you have it on hand.
  3. Make reservations: Book plane and hotel reservations early, if necessary. Check with both your airline and hotel to make sure that they are pet friendly. If your pet will be flying in the cargo area, take precautions to make sure it is safe:
  4. Don’t wait on the crate: Check your pet’s crate to make sure it’s ready for travel. If you’re purchasing a new travel crate, give your pet time to get used to it before moving day. Make sure the crate is sturdy and well ventilated.
  5. Keep food and meds on hand during travel: You’ll need at least one week’s worth of food and medication. For example, if your pet has a finicky stomach and requires special food, you may not be able to find it right away in your new area. Additionally, your new vet will not be able to write a prescription without having a prior, established doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medications right away.
  6. Take time out to spend time with your pet: You’re stressed: no one feels that more than your pet. Take time out to play, and take walks while you’re packing. The fresh air and breaks will be just as good for you as it will be for your pet.
  7. Keep your pet away from chaos: It’s hard when your entire space is in limbo, but try to have your pet sleep in the room that will be packed last. Your pet is SO aware of change – be mindful of its feelings. On moving day, keep your pet in a bathroom or in a room that’s away from the ruckus. Attach a sign to the door that lets movers know a pet is inside.
  8. Prepare a first aid kit: If you have a first aid kit in your car, make sure you include first aid items for your pet. It’s no substitute for veterinary care, but it could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Include rolls of gauze to wrap around wounds or muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide.
  9. Play it safe, and stick to a schedule: If you’re traveling by car, it’s best to travel with your dogs and cats in crates. Make sure the crates are well ventilated and able to be secured with a seat belt. Keep familiar toys and blankets in the crate. When packing the car, think about your pet’s space by leaving some breathing room around its crate. Keep the temperature in the car just right to make certain your pet isn’t too hot or cold. Additionally, DO NOT leave your pet in the car in extreme hot or cold temperatures. And NEVER travel with your pet in the open bed of a truck. In terms of eating, sleeping and walks, try to stick as close to your pet’s schedule as possible. You may even want to research good pet rest stops ahead of time.
  10. Prep your new home for pets: Welcome your pets to their new home by immediately setting out all of its familiar things, including food, water, toys, bed, and litter box. Give your pet a tour of your new place. Point out new rooms and the surrounding yard in a soft, loving voice. If your old home is nearby, your pet may try to find its way back. Give your phone number to the new owners, and ask them to call if they see your pet nearby.

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