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5 Tips to Consider When Moving a Pet

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.

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Planning a Long Distance Move

When making a long distance move, it’s important to realize that planning will quickly become your best friend. Well-laid plans will make sure that you leave nothing to chance when the sale of your home, all your life’s possessions and hundreds (or thousands) of miles are involved. Which is why following these few tips will make your life, and your move, a lot easier.

Store Documents in a Safe Place

The last thing you want is to lose an irreplaceable, vital document you need for the closing of your home. This is where making copies comes in. Obviously, keeping the originals is also important, but having an extra set, just in case, is a good way to go.

Allow Time

Don’t allow the new owners of your house to move in until the day of the closing. To have them move in before would only put unnecessary pressure on both parties, and you wouldn’t want them to be put out if the plans change. For the same reason, don’t plan on moving into your new home until the day of your closing either.

Review Your Documents

To ensure a smooth closing – or one as close to smooth as possible – review the needed loan documents beforehand. You may not be able to detect all mistakes present in the forms, but giving yourself more time will make you more likely to catch potential snafus before closing day.

Drive Your Own Car

After the closing is done, pack up the car and get ready to move into your new abode. And we do mean pack up your car. Although you can ship your car, that adds unnecessary expense (barring specific circumstances when it might be needed), so driving your car is a way to save money during your move out of state.

Get Your Bearings

A long distance move means changing cities, neighborhoods and possibly climates, so get ready for a shift in your mindset as well. Before you hop across state or country lines, make a list of the important contact information you’ll need in your new town – the pharmacy, doctor’s office, the best pizza place in town. Once you’re scrambling around unpacking and figuring out your new city, you won’t also want to be frantically looking for a doctor. It pays to do this research ahead of time and to keep it in a safe, memorable spot, so you can find it when you need it most. It might also be a good idea to email it to yourself and your family members and to input these new contacts into your phone, so they’ll be easily accessible.


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