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FROM: Steiners Complete How To Move Handbook 

Moving often involves so many lifestyle changes that what to do with a pet becomes a big issue, particularly if you’re going from a rural situation to a city. Except for Manhattan high-rise managers, very few apartment people commonly allow dogs, and, nationwide, apartment associations report more than 50 percent refuse to accept any pets at all.

If you’re going to be giving away your pet, the sooner you start asking friends and relatives to help find a new home and put an ad in the paper, the better. Other possibilities are to put notices up at the local Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, veterinarian offices, pet stores, and the library.

Tip: Every year the SPCA finds thousands of pets that have either gotten lost or have purposely been left to fend for themselves by owners who have moved away. By the time they’re found, these pets are often victims of accidents, have been attacked by wild animals, or are starving and diseased. If you can’t find a home for your pet, don’t think she can fend for herself, even if she’s an independent cat. Take her to a shelter and enlist its help in giving her the best hope for finding a new home.

No moving company will transport a pet because the storage area is neither insulated nor air-conditioned, and a car trip of longer than a day, particularly during freezing weather or a hot summer, is not good for any animal.

Two months before you leave, take your pet to your veterinar­ian to have a physical, get an interstate health certificate includ­ing an up-to-date rabies inoculation verification, pick up all records, and discuss the moving trip. If you’re likely to be in an area where mosquitoes carry heartworm, you’ll need to start a preventive program.

Talk with your vet about any medicines, prevention precau­tions that need to be mounted ahead of time, or items that

Moving often involves so many lifestyle changes that what to do with a pet becomes a big issue, particularly if you’re should be taken with you. Get input on the best ways for your animal to be transported. Megan Walker, one of our survey re­spondents, emphasizes that pets should be vaccinated against Lyme disease.

Tip: If you’re moving to one of several states, your pet will have to be quarantined upon your arrival. Hawaii, for example, requires 120-day quarantine.

Overseas quarantine requirements can be even longer, and you may need different inoculations. Check with your state veterinarian, State Office of Animal Husbandry, or write the ASPCA, Education Department, 441 East 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128. Its $4 booklet, “Traveling with Your Pet,” gives animal travel regulations on a state-by-state and a country-by-country basis.

Your veterinarian may recommend a light sedative, although pet’s reactions are erratic. It’s a good idea to have your pet tattooed or microchipped with an ID name and a contact tele­phone number. Use the number of a relative who doesn’t move very often or a pet identification service your veterinarian recommends. Be sure the pet also has a collar with name and con­tact telephone number.

If you’re taking a pet on an overnight trip, make sure to re­serve ahead, particularly during vacation months. Besides the national ASPCA, you can ask the local SPCA branch or your veterinarian for a list of hotels/motels that will take animals.

If you’re taking your pet in your car, have her accompany you on short trips in advance, so that her carrier and the vehicle become “home territory.” Always keep her in a carrier in the car. If she hangs her head out the window, a flying stone can blind and a closely passing vehicle can do worse. Letting her loose inside the car can result in her tangling up the driver or being very badly hurt in an accident.

Tip: Never transport pets (even hibernating snakes in a vivarium) in the car trunk or with the furniture. Loads shift. Uninsulated compart­ments quickly become freezers or ovens. The potential for disaster is infinite. We’ve had a very sad ending to moving a hamster in our own car, because small animals are much more likely to collapse from heatstroke than humans. Our frequent-mover respondents report cats and dogs fare better.

If you’re moving long distance, investigate shipping through your veterinarian or with a pet shipper. Air Animal, (800) 635-3448, ships both nationally and internationally. Make sure your pet’s plane comes in at least 24 hours after your arrival.

Often it’s economical for a member of the family who is flying to take the pet along. Some airlines even will allow a pet in a carrying kennel under the seat, provided you have certification of her rabies or other shots—always ask what documentation you need. We have had good experiences with air trips for larger pets.

Air shipping costs for an unaccompanied pet will run approxi­mately $80 for anything parakeet size up to 100 pounds. Large animals weighing more than that (kennel included) are $100 per 100 pounds. You need to buy a fiberglass or plastic carrier ken­nel separately. It must be air cargo recommended and large enough for the animal to move around in. It should have a built-in water dish. Check with your veterinarian or one of the dis­count pet supply stores such as Petco.

Charges for Air Animal and other such services, which take care of getting the best cargo service for your pet and can do everything—including pickup and delivery—start around $250 for small pets to $550 for larger ones.

If you’re driving with your pet, remember that animals need as many (or more) rest stops as children. Schedule one for every two to three hours. If there’s an accident, just clean it up without comment. The animal is too distracted during this time to learn from any discipline measures.

Even if your pet is accustomed to traveling with you, it’s not a good idea to let her off the leash. In strange surroundings she might bolt into traffic, or the sudden appearance of a rabbit or a squirrel could lead to a disoriented, lost pet.

A friend of ours lost her cat temporarily because he was able to wriggle out of his leash. Not too scary, except that it was at the Grand Canyon! Don’t put yourself through that extra worry. It’s better to leave smaller pets in their carrier cages and in a secure, protected spot by the car, if you’re going to make a side trip. Make sure she’s in deep shade that won’t disappear half an hour after you leave and be sure there’s a big bowl of water.

Tip: If your pet does get lost, contact the local SPCA immediately. Provide complete data on your pet, including name, identifying mark­ers, a photograph, and where you can be reached at your new loca­tion. You also should run an ad in the local paper describing your pet, offering a reward, and giving your telephone number. Ads produce amazing results. An SPCA office recalls getting a call from Tokyo, where a vacationing local reading the paper en route had noticed an ad about a pet she’d taken to the shelter. The SPCA was able to reunite the pet with her owner.

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