These simple steps can make the move smoother for your favorite feline or canine companion.

moving with pets

A five year old Golden Retriever unpacking her dog toys and bones from a moving box, with other boxes stacked against the wall. “Dutchess”

General Tips

Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet’s medical history, and be sure all shots are current.
When you move, take along a health certificate and a rabies vaccination certificate. The health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, says your pet is in good condition. The rabies certificate states when and where your pet was vaccinated. If you move across state lines, call or write the state veterinarian or State Department of Animal Husbandry for laws on the entry of animals. Some states require up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Hawaii requires a 120-day quarantine for dogs and cats. Shortly before the move, your pets may become nervous because of all the unusual activity. Keep a close eye on them; stress may cause them to misbehave or run off. Consider having them boarded during the most hectic days. Make certain your pet is wearing proper identification and any required license tags. After the move, give them time to adjust to the new neighborhood. Don’t let them roam freely until they learn where “home” is now. If you pet has an ID implant, remember to update your contact information.

Just for Dogs
If possible, try to ease your dog into the new environment. If your move is not a great distance, take your dog with you for visits to the new home prior to your move. Let your dog sniff and explore. After the move, take your dog for walks to get acquainted with its new surroundings. Introduce neighbors as well as the mail carrier and other service people who will come to the home regularly. Moving from the city to the suburbs, or the reverse, may mean a transition in housebreaking procedure. The suburban dog will find that city living means learning to relieve itself on the pavement rather than grass. (Don’t forget the pooper scooper.) A city-bred dog must become accustomed to using a designated area in the suburban yard. Put your dog on a fairly rigid schedule just as you would a puppy.

Just for Cats. 
Introduce the cat to its new home one room at a time. For the first few days, restrict it to one room. Surround it with familiar objects: feeding and water bowls, toys, bed or blanket, and litter box (placed away from feeding bowls). Gradually introduce it to other rooms.  As your cat acclimates itself, gradually move the feeding dishes and litter box to their permanent locations. If your cat has been an outdoor cat in the country and moves to the city, keeping it a strictly indoor cat is recommended. Traffic and elevators (if you’re in a high-rise) are among the hazards that can be life-threatening. Another danger is the “high-rise” syndrome. Be certain that all windows have secure screens to prevent your cat from falling. Conversely, if yours is a city cat used to being indoors, proceed with caution if you allow the cat to go outside in a suburban setting. An indoor cat is not used to traffic or to other animals. And she may run away – some cats have been known to travel incredible lengths to reach their former home.