By Beverly D. Roman
When I wrote about moving pets in our newsletter, Relocation Today a few years ago, I was amazed at the amount of individuals and organizations requesting article reprints. Therefore, it is safe to assume that pets are a significant concern to families when they move. Experience tells us that there are many issues to evaluate, the most important being whether or not to bring the pet along. You must consider the pet's age/health, the destination's climate and possible quarantine regulations and how they would affect the overall comfort of your pet. Additional points to consider are outlined below.
Having to deal with a sick pet in an auto is the last challenge relocatees need. Pets who have not been exposed to car travel should be taken on a few trial trips, beginning with short jaunts and graduating to lengthier rides. If your pet continues to get sick, ask your vet for appropriate medication or consider airline transportation.
Look for pet-friendly lodging if you will require an overnight stop en route (see resources). Every time you stop along the way, be sure to offer your pet small amounts of food and water and allow it to walk around outside on a leash. Be cautious of leaving your pet unattended in the vehicle; moderate to extreme temperatures can seriously injure a pet.
Pets should have a complete health examination, up-to-date vaccinations and shots and a new identification tag before moving. Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet's medical history, inquire about vaccination requirements for your destination and learn if your pet is fit for quarantine (mandatory in some countries and the cost of which is usually assumed by the owner). Also obtain health and rabies certificates.
Identification is a must! Your pet should have a securely attached identification tag with the pet's name, owner's name and a destination address and telephone number. Pets should also have an up-to-date rabies tag attached to their collars.
We highly recommend creating a file with a picture of your pet, the pet's license number, name, species, body size, weight and color/markings. Include the following in this file:
Unfortunately, we lost a few pets during our various moves, which is how we learned what to do and what not to do when moving these family treasures. If your pet should become lost during transport, immediately contact the airline so that a description and air travel particulars can be put into their computer tracking system. If this is not productive, or if you are traveling by car, check the local animal control agencies and the Humane Society. In addition, APHIS (Activities of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) maintains a missing pet network. Contact them at 800.545.USDA or visit their web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ and input "missing pet" in the search section on the Home Page.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
Reprinted with permission from BR Anchor Publishing, Wilmington, NC. First appeared in Relocation Today, Vol. 4, No. 5. 2004. Written by Beverly D. Roman, publisher. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or + 910.256.9598.
Copyright 2002, BR Anchor Publishing.