by Dr. Anna Ligman
Moving to a new home can be a very stressful time for our four-legged family members. Here are some tips to minimize stress before the move, during the transition, and when arriving at your new home.
Get the 411: If moving to a foreign country (or even Hawaii), be aware of quarantine or travel requirements that may take additional planning. If moving within the US, familiarize yourself with local pet regulations, ordinances, and zoning laws. Many cities have specific laws regarding leashes, pet licensing, breed restrictions, and allowable number of pets per household. If you will be residing within an apartment community or condo, you should double check to ensure your pets
are permitted. This should also be plainly stipulated within your rental agreement or within the homeowner’s association rules
Good to go: Prior to moving, plan a visit with your pet’s veterinarian to ensure your pet is up-to-date on important vaccinations and is healthy enough for travel. Remember
to obtain sufficient medication and prescription diet to last at least two weeks (until you are able to establish a relationship with a veterinarian in your new area). If you are traveling across state lines or internationally, you will need a corresponding certificate of veterinary inspection to be filled out by an accredited veterinarian. Request a copy of your pet’s medical records to share with your new veterinarian. Consider having your pet micro-chipped as a quick and minimally invasive way to locate your pet if he or she should ever become lost. If your pet is already micro-chipped, remember to update your new information with the microchip company.
Carry me home: Leave yourself enough time to find a suitable pet carrier with sufficient ventilation. Your pet should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Get your pet accustomed to the carrier before you travel by using the carrier as a pet bed for several days to weeks. Try to increase comfort and security by placing your pet’s favorite blanket, toy, and/or treat within the carrier. If your pet is prone to motion sickness, consider trying to slowly acclimate him or her by taking short car trips well in advance of your move. Progressively increase the duration of the car trips and monitor for improvement. Also, ask your veterinarian about prescription medications that work well to alleviate motion sickness in pets.
Pack it up: Shortly before your move, your pet may become anxious while witnessing the packing and moving of household items. Consider a doggy day care, boarding facility, or
have your pet visit a well-known friend during times of increased activity. Alternatively, assign a well-ventilated room of your home as the “pet room” to provide a sanctuary away from the chaos. Place a “do not disturb” sign on the door to avoid people unnecessarily entering the room. Extra walks/ increased exercise are great outlets for excess nervous energy. Also, keep in mind that cats may show a tendency to run away or hide in boxes when stressed, so a “pet room” will help to keep tabs on your tiny tiger.
Leave it out: Remember to leave out the following pet related items that are needed for travel:
Food and water (supply for
duration of trip, plus four days)
Travel carrier or crate
Pet bed with favorite blanket
Several favorite toys
Collar with leash or harness
Updated tag with new address and phone number
Photo of your pet
Litter pan/cat litter
Plastic poop bags
Roll of paper towels
Current Veterinarian’s phone #
The Veterinary Center at Hunter’s Crossing
5200 NW 43rd Street, #501
Gainesville, FL 32606