Relocating with Pets

From dogs and cats to birds and fish, pets are part of the family and we love them.  Whether you’re moving across town or around the world, you want your pet’s move to go as smoothly as yours.

A few years ago, my daughter relocated from Maryland to Texas for a new job and I traveled in the car with her and her cocker spaniel to help with the move.  I had an opportunity to experience first hand the value of adequate preparation for moving with your pet.  Here are some of the things that Susan did to prepare for her pet’s move:

Girl and cat - istockphoto

1.  Take your pet to the vet for a check-up and all required shots.  Get a complete copy of your pet’s medical records and set it aside so it doesn’t get packed for the move by mistake.  Ask if your vet recommends a mild sedative for your pet and get refills for any prescriptions so you’ll have a good supply available until you find a new vet.  And ask your vet for a referral to a vet in your destination city.

2.  Have your pet bathed and groomed before moving, because it may be a few weeks or months before you find a new groomer.  Ask your groomer about a referral to someone in your destination city.

3.  If traveling by air, make reservations several weeks in advance for a direct flight.  Inquire about any restrictions or requirements and ask whether you can “carry-on” your pet rather than check him in the cargo hold – it will be a lot less traumatic for your pet, if you can.  How to Minimize Risk to Your Pet in the Cargo Area of an Airplane

4.  If traveling by car, plan your trip and make reservations in advance for any overnight stay(s) at a place that allows pets.  Allow time for a rest-stop every two hours, so your pet can stretch, have some water, and relieve itself.  Remember, you shouldn’t leave your pet in the car unattended (in the summer, your car can quickly reach 120 degrees), so plan on eating at a lot of drive-through restaurants, or bring snacks, sandwiches, fruit and beverages in a cooler.

5.  Maintain your routine as much as possible and be aware that your pet may be very confused by the change in his environment, as familiar surroundings are replaced by stacks of moving boxes.  A little extra love and attention would be a good thing to reassure your pet during all the upheaval as you prepare for your move.

6. Make plans in advance for moving day to keep your pet in a fenced yard, a closed room, or at someone else’s house.  The door will be open as movers go in and out, and you don’t want your pet running out amid the confusion.   You may even wish to board your pet for the last day or two before you hit the road to your destination city.

7. Make plans in advance for move-in day, as well, to keep your pet secure.

8.  Pack for your pet, using the following list to make sure you remember everything.

PET PACKING CHECKLIST:

  • Contact information for your veterinarian and a referral to a new vet in your destination community
  • Your pet’s up-to-date medical records
  • A bowl and plenty of bottled water
  • A collar and id tag (with your new address and contact info), leash, harness, and/or pet carrier.
  • Your pet’s usual food (several servings pre-measured in disposable plastic bags) and bowl.
  • Your pet’s vitamins and medication
  • Plastic bags for picking up pet waste
  • Paper towels for cleaning up accidents
  • The bed or blanket where your pet usually sleeps
  • Your pet’s favorite toys and treats
  • A sturdy comfortable pet transport carrier (required for air travel, and recommended for cats traveling by car)
  • Kitty litter for your cat(s)

Moving overseas?

boy and dog

That’s a whole new ballgame, and you probably want to consider a pet transport.  List of special considerations for moving overseas with your pet.

What about your fish, hamsters, and gerbils?

Movers and airlines are not pet-friendly when it comes to these.  Unless you’re traveling a short distance by car, finding a new home for these pets may be best for them and you.  If you do transport them by car, some vets recommend you cover the container until you arrive.

Moving your birds

I couldn’t say anything more or better than Barbara Bouchard in her article about Moving With Birds.  She covers everything from traveling to overnight hotel stays to food and adjustment to the changes.

New to Anne Arundel County?

This directory is provided to help you identify local veterinarians, but I can’t endorse or recommend any.

If you would like to add an Anne Arundel County veterinarian to this list or modify any of the above information, please contact me at (410) 451-6245.

Anne Arundel County Dog Parks:

Bell Branch Park (Gambrills)
Broadneck Park (Arnold)
Downs Park (Pasadena)
Maryland City Park (Laurel)
Quiet Waters Park (Annapolis/Eastport)

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, moving to or from Maryland, it would be a privilege to help make your relocation a smooth and pleasant one.