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August 2, 2013

Moving? How to make it easier on your pet

Moving to a new area can be a stressful ordeal for all involved, especially your pets. However, with a little advance planning, patience, and affection, you can help your pets quickly adjust to their new neighborhood.

Before you move, make sure that your pet is current on their immunizations and that you have any health statements or documentation, like your pet’s rabies certificate, that may be required in your new area, said Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Also, it's important to start preparing early since interstate moving requires an interstate health certificate, which is issued within ten days of travel, and moving abroad means your pet will need an international health certificate, which takes around 30 days to facilitate.

When it comes time to actually start the move, making sure your pet is safe and comfortable is essential. Pets will often get nervous when the packing starts, so it is vital to try and alleviate this anxiety by sticking to a normal routine with your pet by having regular play times, walks and meals.

"While you're traveling, it's crucial that your pet be in a carrier if at all possible, to ensure the safety of the pet as well as the car's occupants," said Eckman. "You should also make sure to factor in rest stops for the pet that include snack and water breaks."

For these rest stops, make sure to have a reliable collar or harness to keep the pet safe and from running away, Eckman said.

When traveling by plane, it is important to remember that many pets do well once they are actually on the plane and settled. The Federal Aviation Administration prefers that pets not be heavily sedated during flights, especially those that are flying cargo, due to safety concerns. If you are concerned about your pet, your veterinarian can help you develop strategies to aid your pet's anxiety of flying. Often these will need to be tested at home before traveling, in case the pet has adverse reactions.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. 

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