Make your move hassle-free for your pets - and you - with these handy tips.

Description: Description: Pets

An estimated 13% of Americans relocate each year, yet many forget to make plans to help their pet through the transition. "Animals are often an afterthought during a move," says Katharine Miller, Ph.D., director of applied science and research for the ASPCA. "There's risk of him getting forgotten, frightened, lost or injured." Whether your new address is a few blocks away or across the country, our information will keep your furry friend protected and happy.

·         Time Out

During the move, keep your pet out of harm's way. "Set apart a 'Zen room' where movers won't be and include a bed, food, water and a litter box," says Miller, "Place a sign on the door and lock it if you can." If that's not possible, put your cat or dog in a crate or carrier away from the action, take him to a friend's home or have him boarded.

·         Identity Crisis

It's important to keep current contact information on tags or microchips since pets can slip away unnoticed during the chaos of moving day or in a new area. Over 60% of stray animals with a microchip are unable to be returned to their owners due to old materials. "Microchips are only as good as the registration. If it isn't updated, then it's as good as not having it," says Kimberly May D.V.M., assistant director of professional and public affairs at the American Veterinary Medical Association. Also, both old and new identification labels should remain on collars until you're in your new place.

·         Poison Control

Dogs can easily chew through cardboard boxes and access cleaning products, so put all dangerous items out of reach. Inspect your new home prior to arrival for poisons or pesticides - check under stoves and radiators, and block off small spaces where cats may hide and get stuck. Also walk through the yard to see if there is any harmful vegetation. The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center at aspca.org/pet-care/ poison-control/plants has pictures that can help you identify toxic plants.

·         Settling In

Make gradual transitions to keep your pet's stress level low. One way is to get him used to his carrier by setting it out a few days prior to give him a positive association with moving. When arriving at your new home, introduce your animal to his surroundings by creating a base room where he can spend the first few days until he's adjusted, then slowly give him access to the rest of the house. Before getting him acclimated to the front yard or backyard, make sure all outdoor space is secured. Strange noises, smells and sights can easily make him run off, so have pets on a leash when exploring.

Rules Of The Road

If moving means a long drive, plan accordingly.

° Take short practice trips to get your pet used to the car.

° Keep the car cool and well-ventilated to avoid sickness.

° Some pets need to eat prior to traveling while others should limit food intake to decrease nausea. Experiment with both methods before moving.

° Stop every two to three hours for bathroom and exercise breaks. Cats and dogs should stay on a leash at all times, especially at rest stations.

° Store your animal's health certificate, proof of vaccinations and vet contact info in an easy-to-access place.

° Always keep in the car: food, cool water, bowls, a favorite toy or blanket, a collar and leash, disposable litter boxes, prescription medications and a crate or carrier.


Paper Trail ª Many states require documentation for newly relocated dogs and cats, including a health certificate from your vet verifying that your pet has his required vaccinations and doesn't have a contagious illness. Contact the state veterinarian or department of agriculture listed at usaha.org/portals/6/stateanimalhealthofficials.pdf to find out state regulations.

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