Moving is a stressful process—even for your pets. The key to making a move less stressful is proper planning. If you’re moving locally with a cat or dog, there aren’t too many factors you need to take into consideration. However, if you’re moving out of state, internationally or with exotic pets, you need to ensure that they are moved safely and legally.
Know the Laws Before You Go
Depending on where you’re moving to, there may be certain regulatory guidelines you’re required to follow. Usually, you’re required to show proof that the animal has received the proper checkups and vaccines.
- Know the state rules. Each state has its own laws and regulations for pet owners. Connect with your state's Veterinary Office or Department of Agriculture for more information.
- Know the local guidelines. Some areas have specific rules regarding the number of pets per household, leash laws, licensing rules and zoning laws that may prohibit specific breeds or assign weight limits. Check with the City Clerk's office in your new town to find out what regulations apply.
- Know your apartment or condo rules. Make sure you know the rules in your new community regarding the number, types and weight limits of pets.
- Know what documents you need. Find out if you need a health certificate for your pet/s. Some states require rabies tags for dogs, cats and certain exotic animals. If you have an exotic pet, you may need to purchase a permit before they can enter a new state. Your veterinarian should be able to help you with acquiring this.
Whether you’re traveling by air or car, there are a few items you should have to ensure your pet’s safety. These include ID tags, microchips, recent photos of your pet, collars, cages, leashes and pet carriers. You should also make sure to keep your pet’s health records handy so your new vet will be able to provide them with the best care.
Tips for Exotic Animals
Traveling with dogs and cats isn’t too complicated. On the other hand, if your pets are exotic animals, you might have to take a few extra precautions. Here are some vital tips for moving with your exotic pets.
1. Reptiles and Amphibians
Cold-blooded animals like lizards, chameleons, iguanas and snakes cannot regulate their body temperature. If they won't be traveling in their original enclosures, make sure that they have carriers with enough space to move around. If they need a damp, warm environment to stay comfortable, line their carriers with wet sponges or damp towels to provide moisture.
If your fish usually swim around in an aquarium, you will need to relocate them to a more transport-friendly environment. Always empty an aquarium of water, rocks, plants or other decorative pieces before moving them. For drives less than two hours, you can put fish into plastic bags. Anything longer than that, they'll need a larger space, like a bucket, to move around in. Atlas Van Lines has some great tips for moving with fish.
Birds are pretty easy to move if you just keep them in their cages. For longer drives, it’s good to bring along a blanket to cover the cage. It helps the birds sleep and prevents them from throwing food or other items through the carrier cage. If your birds aren’t typically caged, (like peacocks and other larger birds) or if you can’t move the bird in its cage, you’ll want to find a container with plenty of ventilation and that’s big enough to transport them.
4. Small Animals
Rabbits, ferrets, hamsters and other small animals simply need a cage big enough to allow movement but solid enough that they can’t gnaw through it. Be sure to transport them in a well-vented cage and provide water so they don’t get dehydrated.
5. Large Animals
Large animals such as horses, llamas or larger breeds of exotic animals, require a trailer to accommodate them. If you don’t have one, make sure to arrange for one with your moving company ahead of time. The trailer should have proper ventilation, adequate cover from the outdoor elements and enough room for moving around comfortably.
A safe pet is a happy pet. As a member of your family, your pet deserves to have a secure and comfortable moving experience, too. Finding the right moving company, one that will take proper care of your pet, is key. If you have questions about moving with pets, contact us at (866) 304-1471.
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