Don’t Forget about Fido: A Guide to Pet Relocation

This is a guest post by Jenny Young!

Animals, like most things in our lives, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. From the classic gold fish to Border Collies and everything in between, the mix of pets that Americans take into their household is both varied and eclectic. These animals often make up a large part of who we are as people and inherently become an important part of our lives. For those with moving in their future, taking the proper steps to ensure your pet is taken care of along every step of the way is an important part of the pet moving process.

From the planning to the day of the move, pet relocation can be quite the chore if you haven’t put adequate thought into the logistics and sometimes even legality of the transportation process. Below you will find plenty of information to make sure your big move goes off without a hitch, for both you and your furry, scaly or feathery companions.


Planning a Pet Relocation

Laws and Ordinances Concerning Breeds

Pet laws and ordinances are a funny thing. Since there is no over-arching set of regulations set out by the federal government, each city, township or county has developed their own versions of what is and what is not allowed within their limits.

While most pets will fall into any city’s breed laws, it’s always a good idea to check up on your new locations municipal codes. A few parts of the US have banned specific breeds but they are few and far between. If you have a dog breed that is considered potentially dangerous, such as a Pit-bull or Rottweiler you may just need to fill out a simple permit. Check ahead of time to avoid any surprises at a later date. A great resource for this can be found here here.

Exotic Animals

If you are an owner of an exotic pet, such as a monkey, large cat breed or wolf, chance are you will be fully aware of the permit process for these animals. Obtaining a license in a new state can be done over the phone or in some cases even over the internet. Inquire with the appropriate government agency to get the ball rolling. As this is often an obscure request, don’t be surprised if the person you are speaking with is unsure. Depending on where you are moving to, the permit process might sit with the agricultural, fish and game, natural resource, wildlife or health department. Cover your bases and make sure you have received proper permits and clearance with all relevant agencies.

Leash and Zoning Restrictions

Leash and zoning laws can often be a big surprise for families or individuals who have moved from a rural location to an urban area. While five dogs might have been perfectly acceptable in your previous place of residence, the cap may be set at three in your new area. Perform a quick Google inquiry with your new town, city or county as the search term, followed by “pet codes”. The information you find this way will often be a good barometer of what is allowed.

In the same token, look up the area’s leash laws. Some cities allow for animals with a good temperament to accompany their owners off-leash while others have a strict on-leash policy that must be abided by at all times.

Pet Deposits and Refunds

If you are renting property make sure you understand the ins and outs of the owner’s stance on pet deposits and subsequently any money refunded. While most landlords will be upfront about how much is needed at the time of the move-in, they might be a more reticent to disclose how much is kept, no matter how pristine you keep the property. Inquire about this, even get it in writing. Ask about past tenants. How much of the pet deposit was taken in their case, how much was refunded? Also, don’t be afraid to hold them to what they say when the time comes to move.

Anticipate Neighbors

People tend to forget that owning a pet can not only impact you but those living around you as well. If your pet is known for the occasional bark or whine when you leave in the morning or come home at night, consider alerting your newfound neighbors to this. Not only is this a great tool to use when your pet’s bays and whimpers do make it over to your neighbors ears, it’s also a great way to establish neighborly camaraderie in those first few days at your new place

Just be careful with the way you go about your conversation. “This is my dog Bruno, he barks a lot, sorry if this bothers you”, is clearly not the best approach. Use tact and encourage them to alert you if it ever becomes a nuisance. A friendly chat is always better than an animal control officer paying your home a visit with a ticket that can be $100, $250 or $500.

Health Records

Before your big move make sure you have access to all of your pet’s health records. Most clinics now offer the option of simply faxing or sending your pet’s information over to your new veterinarian, but don’t just automatically assume. Take a few moments to call up their offices and find out what the best way to transfer records. If the person you speak to sounds at all unsure about best-practices, getting a physical copy is always a right move. If you plan to fly, this can also be a great time to get the records you need to the airline company in order to have your pet boarded.

Expect Nerves

It may sound grim, but having an up to date picture of your pet in the event that they runaway can be a priceless tool to use when trying to bring them back home.

Animals, even more so than humans, become deeply attached to their surroundings. Your house, its yard and surrounding area is their territory. Moving to a new place mixes this all up for them. Upon reaching their new home, animals can often become very confused and attempt to seek out their old territory. Keep your pet indoors for a good week or two (especially cats). Let them establish their new territory to decrease the chances that they will run away seeking their old stomping grounds.


The Moving

Pet Relocation By Car

Safely transporting your pet to your new home is at first dependent on the distance that is going to be traveled. Short distances that will be covered by car or moving van can utilize a crate or even a ride along in the vehicle. Depending on where you stand ethically with the matter, many pet stores sell mild sedatives for these exact situations that can calm your cat or dogs nerves during the traveling process.

By Plane

If flying is part of your moving agenda you essentially have three options that all require a bit of proactivity, so don’t save this step for the last moment.

1)     The first option is to see what your airline’s policy is on bringing animals onboard in the cabin area. Depending on the size, breed, temperament and number of other checked pets (all major airlines let no more than seven in the cabin of the plane during one flight) you may be allowed to bring it on board with you. This information is usually asked during the time of ticket purchase.

2)     Check with the airlines about the process of checking in your animal with your luggage. While the thought of your pet being treated as luggage may sit uncomfortably with you at first, all of the top airlines take the best care of your four-legged companions. Just make sure you supply the airlines with an up to date health certificate ten days before departure

3)     If none of these previous options are capable of being used, you will need to check with a professional pet moving company. There are plenty of companies around that offer these services. Make a list of several that stand out to you. Read customer reviews and see what other people have said about their experiences with them.

The Carrier

If you pet does not already have a crate or carrier and you need to purchase one, make sure it has adequate space.  A good rule of thumb to see if a pet crate is a good fit for your animal is to ensure that they have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down.

Your pet is just as much a part of your family as you are. Leave nothing to chance when a move is imminent. Have any other great tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your comment below.

This article is a contribution by: Jenn Young

Jenn Young is a freelance writer working with Uncle Bob’s, a storage facility. When not writing about storage or moving, Jenn can be found beautifying her home with organization projects and hanging out with her dog.

About Devie Lin

Read blogs written by Devie Lin and find information related to moving & relocation on the Moving Blog by Moving Guru.
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