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Many pets have an instinctive fear of new environments, even though they may adjust to it quickly. Careful pre-planning will minimize or avoid relocation problems. Consider the transfer of your pet as soon as you know you are going to move.
State laws and regulations
When moving to a new city or state you should contact the city clerk and state veterinarian of your destination to learn their laws, license fees and regulations for your pet.
Ask your vet for a health certificate listing all the inoculations your pet has and keep it with you when traveling. Your vet can also help you find a new vet at your destination, or visit healthypet.com for AAHA accredited animal hospitals.
Keep your pet's identity and rabies tags up to date. It is also a good idea to make an ID tag with an emergency contact in case you cannot be reached. A luggage-type tag with writing space on both sides is easy to use.
At your destination, use familiar items like food and water dishes, bed, and toys to help your pet settle in faster. Try to replicate the placement of his/her things in the new home with respect to your previous residence.
Moving your pet by airplane
If you plan to transport your pet by plane learn about the rules and regulations, transportation charges and pet insurance of the airline. You are responsible for providing a shipping container/carrier to transport your pet. To ensure availability make your reservations well in advance, pet approval is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Feed your pet no less than five or six hours before flight time and give him/her a drink of water about two hours before takeoff. If you'd like assistance, your moving consultant can help set you up with a pet moving company.
Moving your pet by auto
Plan ahead, make a list of items you'll need for a pet travel kit: carriers, supplies, first-aid kit, collapsible dishes, favorite toys, your pet's regular food and a few treats. If your pet is not used to car travel, consider taking him/her on a few short trips to get accustomed to car motion or ask your veterinarian about tranquilizers.
Do not give your pet food or water just before the trip. A few treats during the day will keep him/her satisfied. Plan regular stops to give your pet a drink or a short run. Take a container of fresh water with you to avoid a temporary upset stomach caused by a sudden change in drinking water.
Moving with a dog
As soon as you are able, walk your dog around the neighborhood so that he/she becomes familiar with the new area. Establish boundaries in your neighborhood or yard for your dog to roam. If possible, maintain the same feeding and walking schedule from your original residence.
Moving with a cat
Surround your cat with familiar items during the move to reduce emotional stress. Limit the number of rooms the cat is allowed in at first and slowly grant him/her access to new parts of the house to explore. Do not let your cat outside until he/she is familiar with the new living environment to reduce the risk of running away.