You’ve purchased more boxes and moving supplies than you can imagine, found a reputable mover and have taken all the necessary steps to make sure you, your family and your belongings make a smooth move to your new home. But how will you make sure your pet’s transition is as successful as possible? Here are five ways to ease the process of moving a pet.
1. Learn the Laws of the Land
Before you move, it’s important to learn about all of the necessary and relevant laws regarding domesticated animals in your new town and state. For dogs and cats, you shouldn’t run into too much trouble outside of leash laws and limits on how many animals can be kept in one house.
However, the process gets a little trickier for exotic pets and farm animals, which can be restricted from living in certain areas by zoning laws and other restrictions.
There are certain places that require pet registration and certificates of health, regardless of how exotic or conventional the animal may be, so be sure to acquire all necessary paperwork to get your pet across state lines without stress.
2. Get a Check Up
If Sparky hasn’t been to the vet recently, the last few weeks before the move are a good time to get him checked up and treated before you hit the road. Besides making sure your pet is healthy, this last trip to your current vet is the perfect time to ask for any of the aforementioned health-related paperwork and ask for your pets’ medical records to be sent to your new vet, if you have one.
This is also a good opportunity to make sure you pet will have enough medicine for the move and to ask for any prescriptions that may need to be refilled during the moving process. Moving is enough of an undertaking, and a sick cat is something that no one wants to deal with in a stressful situation.
3. Find the Perfect Carrier
Whether you plan to move your pet by car or plane, it’s essential to find a carrier that will comfortably and safely hold your pet during travel. The ideal carrier should big enough for your pet to stand up, lie down and turn around relatively easily. The sides, while sturdy, should allow enough cross-ventilation for your pet to breathe and stay cool, and the leak-proof bottom should be lined with absorbent material to contain any accidents.
If you are moving a fish, you should visit your local pet store to pick up a travel-safe container for Jaws, especially if you’re flying to your new home. Airlines require that fish be professionally packed prior to travel to prevent any accidents from occurring during transportation.
4. Prepare for a Long Trip
If you are moving a fairly large distance from your current home, be prepared for anything that may happen during the process. When you transport a pet by plane, each airline has specific requirements involving drop-off, pick-up and necessary paperwork to be completed prior to takeoff.
If you plan to drive your pet, equip yourself to handle accidents, carsickness and handling an upset pet. Even the most even-keeled animals can find car travel unsettling, so comforting your pet according to what they like can make the travel easier. Also, outlining a few animal-friendly rest stops along your route ahead of time will help keep your pet in good spirits while potentially preventing accidents.
5. Manage Food and Water Right Before Departure
Avoid giving your pets food or water within the last two hours before you depart, whether by car or by plane. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that you feed pets one light meal 3-4 hours before you hit the road. If you’re traveling by car, give them water only while stopped, since feeding them in a moving vehicle can cause an upset tummy. The ASPCA also recommends bringing your own container of water from home for them to drink, since you can’t be sure what the quality of water that you encounter on the road will be. Also, if you are driving with your pet, be sure to keep the car cool enough to prevent motion sickness from setting in.