As we have discussed in previous weeks, moving can be a stressful time. This stress is not only limited to humans, but extends to pets as well. Here are some ways that you can help your pet to have a smooth transition into his or her new home.

Routines– Although your daily routines are likely going to be interrupted as you plan for and carry out your move, try to minimize the disruption to your pet’s daily schedule as much as you can. Try to stick with your pet’s normal feeding, exercise, and playtime schedule.
Strangers- If you are selling your home prior to your move, there are inevitably going to be a lot of new faces (realtors, potential buyers, inspectors, movers, etc) coming into your home in the months before your move date.  If you have a sensitive animal that is bothered by newcomers, make plans for he or she while these individuals visit your home. Confining your pet to a room or familiar crate is one way that you can take measures to make sure that your pet feels safe during this time.
State laws and regulations- Most states have laws and enforce regulations regarding pets. To acquaint yourself with these laws, it is a good idea to contact the vet in the area to which you are moving, or even the city clerk in your new town, to learn about license fees, leash laws, fences, and other regulations regarding pet ownership.
Vaccinations– Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get all of your pets vaccinations up to date. Many states require a shot record or health certificate to verify that your animal is free of any diseases. Additionally, if you plan to kennel your pet during any point of your move or if you will be putting them on an airplane, this paperwork will be necessary.
Pet identification– Make sure that your pet has identification with your name and contact information on it. In addition to your animal’s permanent ID and rabies tag, it is also a good idea to make a temporary ID tag with your cell phone number and the number of a close friend or relative who would be easy to contact while you are in route to your new home. Finally, this might be a good time to think about getting your pet a microchip since your new surroundings will be unfamiliar to your pet and he/she may be more likely to get lost.
Flying-If you will be moving your pet via airplane, make sure to call the airline for rules and regulations regarding your pet’s transport. Make your reservations as far in advance as possible since pet approval is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Driving-If you will be transporting your pet by car, make a list of items that your pet will need during the trip. This list will probably include a carrier, dishes, favorite toys, water, food, and treats. If your pet doesn’t usually ride in the car, start practicing with short trips around town when possible. If your pet is anxious in the car, ask your vet about tranquilizers to help relax the animal. Additionally, when traveling with a pet, it is a good idea to bring cleaning supplies in the event that your animal gets motion sickness or has an accident. Finally, make sure to take a few breaks along the way to allow your pet to potty, stretch, and get water.
Tips for dogs– Upon arrival at your new residence, take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood so that he or she can become familiar with it. Also, establish boundaries in the yard for the dog to roam so that he or she can become acclimated to the new environment.
Tips for cats- Don’t expose your cat to your new living arrangements all at one time. Instead, limit the number of rooms the cat is allowed to go in, and gradually let him/ her explore. Surround the cat with items that are familiar during the move to reduce any stress, and once you are in your new home, don’t let them outside until he or she is familiar with your new home. This reduces the chances of the cat running away.
Familiarize it– Since you are in a new home, often with new décor and furniture, you may be tempted to get your pet new things as well. Try to refrain from doing this, as it is better to use your pet’s familiar food and water dishes, bed, blanket, and toys to make him/ her feel more at home. It is also a good idea to keep things in the same locations as they were in your old home for this same reason.
Taking these steps will definitely help to ensure that both you and your pet will have a smooth move!