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. Talk To Your Pet's Vet
Check with your veterinarian's office to make sure your pet is up-to-date on his vaccines. Depending on your new address, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. In addition, if you don't have access to your pet's medical records online, be sure to get a copy of them for your pet's new vet.
3. Secure a New Vet
Do some research online or ask your current vet for a recommendation for a vet in your new city. Have a few good candidates ready to go. Then, once you get to your new hometown, stop in to the vet offices on your list for a meet and greet. This way you can "vet" the vet!
4. Updated Identification: Get a new pet ID tag that includes your pet's name, your name, new address and phone number. Very importantly, be sure to login to your pet's microchip portal to update your address and other contact information.
5. Maintain Normal 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. Many overlook this and it's critically important. Carving out a spot in the cargo area amongst your moving boxes just isn't safe or comfortable for your pet. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are not properly secured in vehicles. Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an "enthusiastic" animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident. Pet seat belts, barriers, pet car seats, and pet travel crates can be utilized to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle.
7. Book Pet-Friendly Hotels in Advance
If your move is such that you'll need to make overnight stops along the way, it's best to book these accommodations before you hit the road -- just to ensure you have a pet-friendly place to stay that will allow your four-legged family member(s). Pet policies differ greatly by hotel. So if you have more than one pet, or larger pets, it's best to do your research and book ahead of time. Further, if your closing date is delayed and you're unable to move into your new home at the time you expected, you may need to find pet-friendly extended stay options.
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. Visit our Airline Pet Policies page to review the rules specific to the airline you are flying. For more on safe air travel, see Pet Travel Tips for Flying.
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 stressed. 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!
Related: Top 5 Moving Day Tips for Pets
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