Kim Salerno is the President & Founder of TripsWithPets.com. She founded the pet travel site in 2003 and is an expert in the field of pet travel. Her popular web site features pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the US and Canada, along with other helpful pet travel resources. Her mission is to ensure that pets are welcome, happy, and safe in their travels.
If you're planning a move with your pet, it's important to do some homework and be prepared. Moving has the potential to create a lot of anxiety for pets...particularly for older pets, most cats, and skittish pets. Pre-move preparation is the key to helping ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible for your pet and you.
Here are the top 10 pre-moving day tips for pets:
1. Pet Laws and Regulations: Become familiar with the state/province leash laws, pet ordinances, and pet licensing requirements. For state/province laws, contact the State Department of Agriculture or State Veterinarian's office. For local ordinances, contact the City Clerks' office, local humane organization, or animal control facility in the area in which you'll be relocating. If you are planning to rent a house or apartment, be sure to carefully review the lease to ensure that pets are allowed before you move in.
2. A Trip to Your Pet's Vet: It's important to be sure that your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and has a thorough check-up before you move. Get a copy of all your pet's medical records (as their new vet will need them), as well as a health certificate. If your pet is on any medication, make sure you get it refilled. If your pet is not a good traveler, discuss this with your vet. If after trying behavior modification training to no avail, your vet may recommend some medications or natural calming supplements to helps ease your pet's travel anxiety.
3. Secure a New Vet: Be sure to have a new veterinarian lined up before you move. Ask your current vet for a referral or research online for new veterinarian.
4. New Identification Tag: Get a new pet ID tag that includes your pet's name, your name, new address and telephone number.
5. Routine, Routine Routine: Pets are creatures of habit and love routine. Do your best to not throw off their routine by gradually packing over a period of time. The less commotion and more normalcy, the better!
6. Secure Your Pet in Car: Have a plan for how you're going to properly secure your pet in your vehicle. This is a crucial element of pet travel that is not taken seriously enough. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are allowed free reign in cars, trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an "enthusiastic" animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident. Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats, and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle. It's important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks or months before traveling so that they are comfortable.
7. Secure Pet Friendly Accommodations in Advance: If your move is such that you'll need to make overnight stops along the way, be sure to secure these accommodations before you hit the road. Pet policies do change some times without notice and accommodations may be limited so it's recommended that you book pet friendly hotels in advance.
8. Plan Ahead for Air Travel: Check with your veterinarian and the airline if your pet will be flying. The airline will require a health certificate issued by your vet. You'll also want to purchase an appropriate airline approved pet carrier. Be sure you take the time to familiarize your pet with it at least one month prior to travel.
9. Calm Energy: Even though moving is typically a crazy and hectic time for you, it's important to keep yourself as calm and relaxed as possible. We all know that our pets sense our energy and when we're amped up, they get stress. So, whatever works for you to keep your sense of calm, do it!
10. Tell Your Pet: This may seem out there to some, BUT, have a talk with your pet letting them know about the move. Let them know what to expect on moving day, about the new house, the yard, etc... If nothing else, it will make you feel better, which in turn will help your pet.
Moving to a new home with your pet doesn't have to be stressful if you are prepared and plan ahead!