For many of us our pets are simply considered to be one of the family members. All
pets require special attention when moving. Whether by air, car, or a special carrier;
this article will provide a checklist of things to do making the relocation less
stressful for your pets.
This is the key to an easier move, regardless of the type of transportation chosen.
Travel arrangements should be completed as far in advance as possible.
Keep your pets' routine as regular as possible during the pre moving stages and
on the move out day. If you normally feed, exercise, or play with your pet at certain
times, continue to do so. During the final stages of moving, you may find it better
(for you and your pet) if your pet stayed at a friend's home or kennel. This may
help reduce the chances of it getting upset, running away or hiding in one of the
moving boxes, as cats especially are prone to do.
- State Regulation - Contact the State Veterinarian's Office
or State Department of Agriculture requesting the pet laws and regulations of your
destination state. For more information, check with the State Regulatory Agency
located in your new state.
- Local Regulations - Check with the City's Clerk office in
your new community for local pet ordinances (The number of pets per household may
- Condo Regulations - Check with your new condo association
to make sure pets are allowed in the apartment or condo complex.
- Health Certificate - Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
You will need a Health Certificate that is less than 10 days old. The certificate
must be issued by a licensed veterinarian; you must also have the current inoculation
(Rabies' Tag) records. This information will help your new veterinarian provide
better care for your pet. If the pet is excitable, or prone to motion sickness when
traveling, ask your vet to prescribe medication for it. You may also want to inquire
about sedation if necessary. (Your veterinarian may be able to recommend colleague
located in your new area).
- A Permit - You may need to purchase a permit allowing your
exotic pet to enter the destination state. Your veterinarian may assist you in applying
- Identification - Whether you are moving by air or car, any
pet that can wear a collar should have an identification tag. The tag should include
the pet's name, your name and address, and the name and address of an alternate
person to contact in case you cannot be located (your veterinarian is recommended).
- Take a photo - Before you depart, make sure to have a recent
photograph of your pet in case the animal is lost.
Pet Carriers: It is important to use a comfortable and sturdy carrier,
we cannot stress this enough. A carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand
up, turn around and lie down. It must have enough cross-ventilation and a leak-proof
bottom with layers of absorbent lining. It should have a secure closing mechanism
on the door, but do not lock the kennel door. Federal regulations require that your
pet be accessible in the event of an emergency. It is recommended that you get your
pet accustomed to the carrier several days before by using it as a bed. Placing
a favorite toy or blanket inside will make your pet feel more secure.
Now you are ready to relocate your pet, the question is how?! Pets cannot be moved
on the moving van, nor are they permitted on buses or trains (except for Seeing
Depending on the temperament and size of your pet, you may want to consider using
a professional pet carrier. Pet Carriers can organize every aspect of the relocation
of your pet. Services may include:
- Sensible advice on preparing your pet for the trip
- Specific details about requirements or restrictions for state and local regulations
in your new locality.
- Collecting your pet at the airport
- Boarding your pet until you arrive
- Delivery of your pet to your new home
Airlines that accept pets for transportation have specific regulations whether they
are accompanied or not. Some airlines allow pets inside the passenger cabin (first
come, first serve basis); keep in mind that your pet will have to be placed in a
pet carrier no longer than 21"x18"x8", small enough to fit under the seat. Be sure
to ask about transportation charges and pet insurance.
Please see our Moving with Cats or
Moving with Dogs articles for more information.
*Caution* The Animal Welfare Act prohibits air transportation of
puppies & kittens less than 8 weeks old and prior to weaning, whether accompanied
Pets not accompanied by the owner, must travel air freight (small pets such as birds,
tropical fish, hamsters, snakes, etc. must be shipped by Air Express, a division
of air freight). Minimize your pet's stress by avoiding through-checking and changing
Car travel is one of the most common ways of pet transportation. It provides a feeling
of security for you and your pets, and it tends to be less expensive. If your pet
is not used to car travel, it is recommended to take it on short rides before the
trip to help your pet get accustomed to the motion of the car.
Be sure not to feed your pet for a few hours before you leave. After you are on
the road, feed your pet only once daily.
While riding in the car, do not let your pet hand out the window. Dirt and insects
can fly into its eyes and can cause irritation and/or infection. Remember to keep
your power windows locked to prevent your pet from lowering the window and jumping
out. If you car does not have air conditioning, leave the windows cracked 1-1 1/2
inches; pets need plenty of air.
Hotel Stay: If you anticipate stopping overnight with your pet,
be sure to contact several motels/hotels in advance to confirm your pet will be
admitted. No pet should be left in the car overnight. (Please see our
Moving with Cats or Moving with Dogs
articles for more information).
Arriving to your New Home
Just like people, pets also need time to adjust to new homes and new faces! To speed
up that "at home" feeling, use you pet's favorite bowl, bedding and toys. Try to
put them in the same sort of location as they were in the old home. Once accustomed
to the changes, your pet will settle down.
It is a good idea to keep your pet confined until it realizes that this is a new
home. It may wander off and try to return to the old home. This is especially true
for cats, and they should be confined for several weeks.
A New Veterinarian
If your veterinarian was not able to recommend a vet, you may want to contact you
local Humane Society or the American Animal Hospital Association (800)
252-2242 for the names of veterinarians in your area. When you have chosen one,
give the veterinarian office your pet's veterinary record. Having this information
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