One in six Americans move each year. Whether you are moving across town or across the country, moving with pets requires additional preplanning and prep work before you move.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to moving with a pet in order to get your pet safely to his or her new home without too much trauma for the pet or cost to you, the pet owner. The time and cost spent will largely depend on where you are moving and what type of pets you own, as some states have different laws regarding pet ownership.

Therefore, the first step is to research the local laws for your relocation. For example, some states regulate how many pets you can have in your household. There are also regulations regarding exotic pets, such as ferrets, pocket pets, hedgehogs, reptiles and spiders. A quick phone call to the local animal control in the city/county where you will be moving will provide you with any regulations about type of animals as well as vaccination and licensing requirements.

You also want to make sure the housing location you are moving to is pet friendly, and to look into what sort of regulations and deposits they require before allowing your pet onto the premises. There are an increasing number of communities with animal and breed-specific bans or that require the pet owner carry additional insurance. Be sure you understand the rules and ask any questions prior to leaving a deposit. It’s important to take these steps before your departure date to ease the transition for your pet.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a health exam. Discuss your planned move with your vet to determine any required shots, medications or tests needed prior to the trip. Obtain a “Certificate of Good Health” or veterinary certificate. This along with a copy of all your pet’s vaccines is accepted by most transportation industries and immigration. If you are moving to a different country, you may also require certification by the USDA as well as approval from that country’s consulate. Be aware that many nations have mandatory quarantine periods for all domestic animals entering the country.

Finally, decide whether it is best to take your pet with you or hire a pet transportation service. Airlines have much stricter requirements than if you drive. You should call your particular airlines for their specifications and fees. They can also assist you with any crate requirements for both in cabin and in cargo transport. If you are driving, you will also need to consider the length of travel required and if any overnight stops are necessary. Arrangements should be made prior to the trip to ensure finding pet friendly hotels or establishments. Many independent organizations assist with pet transportation; these should be researched to find the one you feel is the most trustworthy and responsible to take care of your pet.

Also, set aside all of the pet’s medical records as well as create a travel kit with any items you think are necessary to take care of your pet and make him or her feel calm and secure; include items like his or her favorite toy and favorite special treat. Be sure to include all the necessary items for travel, as well as update your pet’s microchip/id tag information in the event he gets lost. Keep a current photo of your pet along with information on color, size and weight to give to emergency personnel or show around as you engage in your search.

Moving is both stressful and exciting. As time draws near, make sure you have all the necessary information and travel kit ready ahead of time and ready to go. The sooner you get all of this done the better. The less you have to do on the actual day of travel the less stress for you and your pet. For more information on pet friendly hotels, traveling with your pet as well as restrictions and breed-specific laws, visit www.dogfriendly.com.

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