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October 27, 2020

Best Tips for Moving with Pets

You’re ready to move into your new dream home…but are Fido and Fluffy ready too? Sometimes we overlook the mechanics of successfully moving our pets during this exciting time – and the results can be messy, to say the least. To minimize stress (and distress!) when you’re bringing your fur babies to their new home, the team at Ernest Homes has a simple to-do list that will help smooth their transition.

Know the Rules Before You Arrive

When you move, you need to bring documentation showing your pet has had the proper health clearances and vaccines. Make sure you have the required paperwork ready to go, especially if you’re moving to a new state.

State rules - Each state has their own laws and regulations for pet owners. Find your state's Veterinary Office or Department of Agriculture here.

Local ordinances - Check with the City Clerk's office for local ordinances. Review leash laws, licensing rules, limits on the number of pets per household, and zoning laws that may prohibit specific animals as house pets.

Rabies tag - Most states require a rabies vaccine for cats, dogs, and some exotic animals. Most local regulations require revaccination every 1 to 3 years, so check their rules.

Permits - You might need to purchase a permit for an exotic pet. If the permitting process is unclear, ask your current veterinarian for help.

Prep a “Travel Bag” in Advance

Fill a suitcase with enough food, treats, toys, litter, etc. to last your pet a few days. Make sure you include food dishes, waste disposal bags, a fresh or disposable litter pan, cleaning wipes (both for your pet and “endangered” surfaces) and favorite blankets or other soothing personal items. Always keep the suitcase accessible and you’ll be set for the first few days in your new home without having to root through boxes looking for the essentials.

Make Sure to Touch Base with Your Vet

Let your local healthcare provider know that you’re moving ahead of time, so you can get enough of any medications they’ll need to get them through the first few weeks. You’ll be busy for at least a month or so and scheduling an appointment may be difficult. Your vet may also give you suggestions for easing the transition for anxious pets, up to and including mild sedatives for travel. If you’re moving out of the area, get copies of your pet’s records and prescriptions you can have filled near your new home. Make sure you “vet” a new veterinarian using ratings sites such as Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

Keep Your Pets Safe on Moving Day

If you can’t leave them safely at a kennel or with a trusted friend, make sure to keep them out of the line of moving people carrying heavy or awkward objects. Use an empty room with a closed door or place their carrier in a safe place such as outdoors, a garage or other climate-friendly area. Make sure food and water are provided and walks are given regularly.

Load Your Pets into Your Vehicle

Most moving trucks don’t have air-conditioned cargo holds, so the only way to safely transport your pets is with you. Place the carrier on a floor, back seat, or drop the seats in the back to open a larger cargo area. Some pets are calmer in the car when a light blanket or towel is draped over the carrier. If it’s impossible to have your pet ride with you in your vehicle, consider transporting your pet via established pet shippers like the ones found here.

Wait for a Safe Place to Release Your Pet

Just like packing up, make sure you only let your pet out of the carrier once there’s a safe place for him or her to stay during the unloading process. Even if your pet is normally well-behaved, the added stress can cause behavior issues or accidents. It’s also a good idea to keep them in a secluded area for the first few days they’re in your new home. Even though you’re busy, take some quality time to play with your pet and reinforce your bond. 

Update Your Pet’s Tracking Information

Make sure you get new tags for your pet with his or her new address and/or phone number. If your pet has a microchip, make sure you call the company to provide the new information.

Moving Unusual Pets

Some pets such as fish, guinea pigs and birds are highly susceptible to stress and require extra care. Most fish cannot be transported long distances. If you’re moving across town, carefully transfer your fish to plastic bags filled with their existing tank water and move them carefully in your car. If you’re traveling long distances, your fish should be rehomed with a loving new family instead of moved with you. A small, warm, comfortable carrier is need for nervous guinea pigs to keep them safe during transit, as they’re known to experience cardiac issues when under stress. Birds should be safely caged before you open their current quarters to take them with you, even if they have free rein to flap through your house as they please. Even larger parrots used to perches and shoulders should only be transported in secured cages. Reptiles and amphibians such as lizards, snakes and turtles cannot regulate their body temperature themselves and are extremely sensitive to heat or cold. Make sure they are kept in a climate-friendly area and damp towels or sponges are added to the enclosure if they require a moist environment.

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