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Bringing your pet along on a moving trip without the right preparation can be a harrowing experience for everyone. Whether your animal friend is furry, feathered, scaly, or shelled, there are lots of precautions you should take before moving to a new apartment.  Here is a step-by-step guide to moving with your pet.

Check the Rules at Your Prospective Apartment

Before you even consider moving with your pet, check with your potential apartment-to-be and find out what rules it has about keeping pets.  Some apartments allow only certain kinds of pets, others require a pet deposit, and still others require renters to pay an additional monthly fee as “pet rent”.  If any of these are deal-breakers for you, find another apartment.  Don’t be tempted to move into an apartment that forbids pets, but keep your pet and not tell anyone.  If caught, you could face serious fines, or even eviction.

Talk to Your Vet

If you have concerns about how your pet will handle the move, talk to your veterinarian about the best way to deal with the situation.  Your vet may have tips that are specific to your pet; for example, if you have a cat prone to anxiety, your vet might consider prescribing anti-anxiety medication.

Start Crate Training Ahead of Time

Just like “sit”, “stay”, and “fetch”, crate training is a learned behavior that will take some time to teach.  If you will be transporting your animal via crate or carrier, let him or her spend some time in the space in the weeks leading up to the move.  Offer rewards like treats or playtime for good behavior in the crate.  Never use the crate as punishment, or your pet will associate the crate with fear negativity.  For more crate training advice, visit the Humane Society’s Crate Training Tips page.

Can’t Crate? Consider Boarding

If you are moving locally and your animal is too big to crate, or doesn’t do well in a crate, consider boarding him or her at a kennel until the move is complete.

Transporting Your Pet

Traveling by Car

If you are transporting your pet via car, it’s probably best to keep him or her in a carrier or crate.  An agitated pet in the front or back seat can be a distraction or even a danger to the driver.  Take frequent rest stops while driving with your pet.  Never ever leave your pet alone in the car, regardless of how cool the weather is.

Traveling by Plane

Unless you absolutely must travel via airplane, stick to driving when you move with your pet.  Flying your pet to a new location can be dangerous for a number of reasons.  If you must move your pet by plane, fly with an animal-friendly airline, find out exactly what your transportation options are, and learn from the airline exactly what their pet shipping procedures are.

If you are flying to a new home in another country, you’ll need to take extra precautions before the move.  For international pet relocation guidelines, start with resources like PetRelocation’s International Pet Import Requirements and IATA’s Country Information Guide, and contact the appropriate authorities in your destination country to make sure you have all the right permits, vaccinations, exams, etc.

Traveling by Train

Unfortunately, Amtrak does not permit animals on its trains (with the exception of assistance dogs).  If you need to take your pet on a train, try and travel via a smaller railroad company with more lenient rules about allowing animals on board.

Your Pet in Your New Apartment

Once you arrive in your new home, help your animal acclimate as quickly as possible by returning to your normal schedule once you move in. For example, if you feed or play with your pet at certain times of the day, resume that routine once in your new home so your pet will feel more at ease.  There will also be lots of boxes and loose items to chew, so keep an eye on your pet as you unpack.  With a little care and a lot of planning, you and your pet will be happy and stress-free in your new home.


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