Moving, whether across the street or across the world, can be an exciting experience, especially when it means a new job, a chance to be closer to family, or a new environment. But moving is also a trying experience that can cause both human and animal family members to become stressed and anxious.
Following is a list of suggestions to make the move less nerve-racking for all.
- When choosing your new place, be sure to ask about pet policies and check the zoning and any restrictive ordinances in your new locale. If you’re renting be sure the rental unit allows pets of the species, breed and size of yours. Some apartment complexes allow cats but no dogs. Others allow dogs, but only if they’re under 40 pounds. Find out if there’s a deposit for pets, how much it is and whether it’s per pet or per unit. Although small animals should be no problem if you own your new residence, some housing developments have homeowners’ associations (HOAs) that have restrictions on the type and number of pets you can keep. Even equestrian communities generally limit the number of horses you can have based on lot size. If you’re moving from a farm or ranch to an equestrian community and you own animals in addition to horses, such as goats, sheep, chickens or other livestock, but sure that they will be welcome as well. If you think you’ve found an ideal place but it means rehoming animals you don’t want to part with, keep looking until you find the ideal place or, at least, temporary boarding for the animals you can’t keep on your property.
- If your move is local, be sure you have secure crates, kennels, etc. for moving your pets. Atlas Moving Co. provides an outstanding guide for selecting moving containers for pets. If you have larger animals, be sure your horse or livestock trailer is in good condition, that the lights are working and the tires and brakes are good. Especially with horses, practice loading and unloading them into the trailer several days before the move. If you own fish, you’ll probably need to transport them in smaller containers unless your aquarium is a five-gallon or smaller size. A good guide to moving your fish can be found online at the Pets Welcome website. With all pets, your objective is to make them as comfortable as possible in transit.
- Never sedate an animal with human or veterinary tranquilizers and sedatives without first consulting your veterinarian. Cats, in particular, have very sensitive central nervous systems and are easily overmedicated. If you try the do-it-yourself method of calming your pet, you may end up accidentally euthanizing it rather than relaxing it for the move.If your move is a long-distance one and you have small pets that don’t tolerate car rides well, you might want to consider sending them by air. Check with your veterinarian or local breeders who ship animals to distant places for advice on making them comfortable for the flight. Check with airlines to see what their policies and prices are, and ask people who have shipped animals by air for recommendations. Air freighting large animals can be prohibitively expensive, so you may want to opt for a nationwide transport service instead. Be sure to check references and choose a service that is licensed, bonded, and insured. Inspect the truck and trailer that will be used for safety, modern conveniences, and signs of poor maintenance. Get a cell phone number and itinerary so you can check in with the driver periodically to monitor your animals.
- Before moving day, prepare your pets’ new quarters and decorate them with familiar toys, food dishes, etc. from their old place. That will help ease the transition and get them to accept their new surroundings. Take a current photo of each pet and keep it with the pet’s health certificate, vaccination records, permits (for exotic pets), etc. Be sure your pet has an ID tag attached to its collar, harness, carrier, etc. In the event your pet becomes lost in transit, it will be easier to identify the animal and guarantee that it reaches its new home.
- If your move includes hotel stays or camping along the way, be sure that the hotel, motel or campground allows you to have pets on the premises. Any problems can be avoided with a little advance research.
Did You Know?
Fish are the only pets that require no certificates or permits of any sort when they are relocated from one state to another. The more exotic the pet, the more complex the regulations are surrounding its entry into a new state of residence.