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Moving with Pets

The stress of moving with a pet affects both the humans and the pet (or pets).  This includes not only birds, but cats, dogs, etc.  they need to get ready for the big move. Moving is tough enough on humans, but animals don't have a clue why people are moving and removing the furniture. Fortunately, there are steps to take to make their move easier at both ends and on the road as well as making it easier on you and your family. 

Prepare for the Move

Stretch out the organizing, labeling and packing time over several weeks, avoiding panic in the last days, this allows for moving day as relaxed as possible for all of you. If your move involves air travel, contact airline carriers one month in advance. Ask about their pet regulations, some have different rules about pets. Try to choose a nonstop flight (with a pressurized cabin-if pets are to be transported via cargo), climate and air-pressure changes can affect them as well.  Remember to try not to move birds in the winter time if it's cold or in the dead heat of summer when it's hot.

A couple weeks before moving, get a copy of veterinary records, a rabies vaccination certificate, and a health certificate (birds and others). Depending on the state you're in some airlines require a health certificate for transporting birds from state to state. Be sure your pets are up to date with their shots (dogs, cats, etc.). If your pet is a senior or has health problems, get a mild sedative from the vet before travel. Also, see if your vet can recommend another/new vet in your new location. For out-of-state moves, contact the new veterinarian about entry regulation, almost all states have entry laws for most animals except tropical fish.

Keep your pets' daily routines as normal as possible in the week before moving. A few days before moving, choose a small room to be the "pet room." This way it's out of the way of the movers, open doors (so you don't lose your pets - especially birds flying out the door, if not clipped), friends and relatives coming and going. Move the food, treats and water bowls, as well as toys, pet carriers into this room. Provide dogs and cats with carriers equipped with litter box (for cats), chew toys, or favorite objects that have a familiar smell. Leave carrier doors open so pets can adapt to them before travel day. On moving day, keep animals in their carriers. As an alternative, consider boarding dogs and cats, or ask a friend to care take your pets during the last couple of days.  If you're moving birds -- some people have left them behind thinking it's too stressful for the bird - wrong - it'll be more stressful leaving it to another family, they don't understand why they're going to a new home.  If at all possible, bring the bird with you they can deal just as well as cats and dogs in a move.  Some folks have moved birds with the entire cage intact - this is probably the least stressful in a moving truck because they're in their familiar surroundings (but if it's a long trip, you may want to have easy access to be able to check on the bird (s) when making stops.  If the bird is moving in a carrier, or in the car with you, make sure the wings are clipped by a veterinarian (it's just a few bucks) but worth it so that it doesn't fly out the window or door.  If you have a dog/cat, get identification tags with your new contact information. Be sure your pets are wearing them during travel (continued on page Moving Part Deux).


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