Tips for Moving Pets

Moving is an exciting process for all members of the family. Inccluding your pet, who  knows that big changes are coming.

Plan ahead for your pet.  You’ll want to minimize stress on your pet by eliminating as many surprises during the move as possible. Determine how you are traveling, the length of the trip, and what the outside temperatures will be as soon as the move is a certainty. Will you go by car? Or use a reputable ground transport service just for animals? If you are flying with your pet, there are a number of considerations to take care of far in advance of your trip. Also, different states and countries have varying requirements for importing pets. Be sure to check with the USDA for details. No matter how your pet will make the move, make sure that they have an ID with your new address on it, that you have all of their health records handy, and that you keep a photo of your animal with you, in case they get lost during transit. Visit the vet Once you’ve determined what immunizations your pet requires, depending on your destination, it’s time for a visit to the vet. Your pet should get a full check up, in addition to whatever shots are needed. Now is also the time to consult with your vet about what travel modifications or medication might be needed to help make the trip easier on your furry companion. Traveling by air The Humane Society of the United States recommends not traveling by air with your pet unless absolutely necessary, as animals face uncertain temperatures, ventilation and handling practices when being treated as “cargo.” If you have a small dog or a cat, they may be able to travel inside the cabin with you for an additional fee. Call the airline far in advance to find out their policies. You will need to know what their immunization policies are, what kind of pet carriers they require and, if your animal must ride with the baggage, what their practices are. Certain breeds of dogs should never travel as air cargo, and winter travel should be avoided for all animals. Visit the Humane Society’s site for invaluable advice on traveling by plane with your pet. Traveling by car If you are traveling by car, there are a number of ways you can transport your pet safely. Dogs who enjoy the ride might tolerate a restraining harness, available at a pet supply store. Cats rarely like car trips, so the best bet is a secured and well-ventilated carrier. Don’t ever leave pets alone in the car, especially in warm weather when the rapid increase in temperature once the doors and windows are closed could cause death. Also allow for plenty of bathroom stops. (Your pets will need more of them than human passengers.) Be sure to check on accommodations ahead of time to be sure your nightly stop allows animals. offers a list of resources to help you find pet-friendly hotels. Be sure to help your pet be a good guest so that pets will continue to be welcome wherever you stay. For the duration of your trip, don’t let your pet out of the car without a collar, ID tag and leash. Getting the right carrier The type of travel you’ll do with your pet will determine the kind of carrier you’ll need. Pet supply stores will have plenty to choose from. Whichever kind you purchase, do it far enough in advance of your move so that your pet can get used to spending time in it. Pet travel kit Regardless of how you’re relocating, your pet needs a travel kit with the basics, just like you do. Include food, water, comb, brush, treats, plastic bags, scoop and some favorite toys or a blanket. The new home Don’t forget to have handy all the things that makes your pet feel comfortable, including its bed, toys and food and water bowls so that you can unpack them quickly and help your pet get used to her new surroundings. Once you’ve made it to your new place, the hard work of unpacking and getting settled can begin. A prepared move for your pet means that you will have a happy companion to help you make your new home feel like one.

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