Thursday, February 08, 2007

How to Make Moving Less Stressful on Pets

Moving to a new home can be stressful on pets, but there are many things your clients can do to make the process as painless as possible.
Experts at The Pet Realty Network in Naples, Fla., offer these helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping pets safe during the move. Share these tips with buyers and sellers, and they'll thank you for looking out for their furry friends.
  • Update your pet’s tag. The most important rule is to make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag, with your current contact information, and a sturdy collar. Your pet’s tag should include your destination location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move.
  • Ask for veterinary records. If you’re moving far enough away that you’ll need a new vet, you should ask your current vet for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations. Your also can ask for copy of your pet’s medical history to give to your new vet, although that can normally be faxed directly to the new vet upon request.
  • Keep medications and food on hand. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you in case of emergency. Vets can’t write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medication right away.
  • Seclude your pet from chaos. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep your pet in a safe, quiet, well ventilated place, such as the bathroom on moving day with a “Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!” sign posted on the door to keep off-limits to friends and movers.
  • Prepare a first aid kit. A few recommended supplies for a basic first aid kit include: Your vet's phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). You can use a door, board, blanket or floor mat as an emergency Stretcher and a soft cloth, rope, necktie, leash or nylon stocking for an emergency muzzle.
  • Play it safe in the car. It’s best to travel with your dog in a crate, second-best is to use a restraining harness. When it comes to cats, it’s always best for their safety and yours to use a well-ventilated carrier in the car. Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft.
  • Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air, check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you’ve prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal’s size, but you’ll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you.
  • Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before you move, ask your veterinarian to recommend a doctor in your new locale. Talk to other pet owners when visiting the new community, and call the state veterinary medical association for vets in your city. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, make a visit and ask yourself: Are the receptionists, doctors, technicians, assistants friendly, professional and knowledgeable? Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services? If the hospital doesn’t meet your criteria, keep looking.
  • Prep your new home for pets. Pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. To reduce the chance of escaping due to fear, or pure excitement of exploring a new territory, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, etc. If your new home is nearby, your pet may be confused and find a way back to your old home. To be safe, give the new home owners your phone number and a photo of your pet, and ask them to contact you if your pet is found nearby.
  • Learn more about your new area. Once you find a new veterinarian, ask if there are any local health concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease, or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities. Home owner associations also may have restrictions – perhaps requiring that all dogs are kept on leashes.

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