furry friendsA move often means leaving some friends behind. For nearly 80 million Americans, however, it also entails taking their best friend(s) — their pet(s) – with them. This can add to the chore list when changing location but is, of course, totally worth it when a beloved buddy’s security and happiness is at stake.

If you’re in the latter category, and your pet is a cat or dog, here are few steps to guide the process of resettling your animal companions.

You’ve likely seen the commercial where the homeowner has gone “nose blind” to familiar, though unpleasant, odors in his/her house. People can go “pet blind,” as well, getting so used to having their animals around that they forget their quirks and behaviors that could be unwelcome or even dangerous to others, such as the professionals moving their belongings.

Whether your animal reacts poorly to strangers or wants to play with every new person it sees, it could present a potential hazard to movers (and the pet) and definitely slow your move. So if you want to keep everyone safe and on track, keep them out of the way, ideally at a different location, whether a neighbor’s or a kennel.

Vet the Move with your Vet

Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian to discuss your particular animal companion and seek advice on making the move as easy as possible on him or her. You’ll also want to get your pet’s medical and vaccination records, as well as prescriptions for any needed medications (i.e. for motion sickness). While you’re there, see if you can get a recommendation for another vet in your new area.

Allowing for Differences

Some pets, such as dogs, like to explore new environments; others, such as cats, tend to dislike change. We encourage owners to take into account the differences in their animals’ species, personalities and preferences and like to refer them to petfinders.com for some excellent tips on getting their pets ready for, and transporting them during, the relocation.

Packing for a Pet

Don’t let your pets’ essentials get lost in the moving boxes, especially on a multi-day relocation. For instance, you want to have their favorite food and toys during the journey and all their accoutrements easily at hand in the new location. Thus, their “old” crate, bed, blanket and bowl should be among the first things put in place to create the sense of home. Though buying them new things may seem like a good idea for a fresh start, they’ll likely find more comfort in the familiar.

When In for the Long Haul

As advised by petfinder.com, you’ll want to keep the pet’s current health certificate handy during interstate travel, as many states require one. Should you be pulled over for any reason, highway patrol officers have the right to inspect the document and you can be fined for not having one.

And, no matter how far you move, don’t forget to update pet identification tags and microchips to your new address.

Know the Terrain

Inspect your home from the animal’s point of view, both inside and out of doors, ferreting (sorry) out any potential hazards and structural risks. AARP also urges pet owners to make an effort to learn about any aggressive animals in the neighborhood.

Stay Calm and Carry On

Adjustment to a new location can take time for both humans and pets. Try not to overreact if your animals act out in unusual ways, and keep your cool to keep them calm. If acclimation takes longer than you think it should, talk with your new vet. And – here’s an easy one for most pet owners – continue to give your animal companions the love and attention they want and need.

In a future blog, we’ll talk about relocation of less traditional animals. But for now, we offer these few ways to help keep your extended family safe, secure and comfortable during the transition.

Have some tips to share or lessons learned? We’d be happy to hear them.

And whenever you’re planning a move – with pets or without – we encourage you to contact Bayfront Relocations!

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