‘Creature of habit’ is more than a catchphrase when it comes to moving. Most of us have experienced our pet’s anxious look and behavior that erupts with the first sign of a suitcase, so with careful planning, their stress levels can be reduced and their safety can be assured.

1. Before your move, schedule a veterinary examination to check your pet’s health, obtain copies of vaccination records, health certificates, update identification tags with your new address and discuss medications or modification tactics that might be needed for travel. A current rabies tag is especially important in case you’ll need to board your pet. Ask for a referral to identify a new vet to smooth the transition process and become familiar with your new location’s leash laws, pet ordinances and any recommended vaccines, such as one for Lyme disease if ticks are a problem. Try to pack over a period of time and try to maintain your pet’s normal routine.

2. If you’re traveling by car, secure pet friendly accommodations in advance and verify the number of animals permitted, weight restrictions and any additional costs involved. Have a plan for how you’re going to properly restrain your pet in the vehicle and familiarize them early with the pet harness, seat belt, carrier of barriers that will keep them safe during your road trip. Pack a container of fresh water, food, treats, medications, leashes, dog beds, bowls and their health records. Map out rest stops or dog parks along the way to keep your dog comfortable and the journey enjoyable.

3. If your pet will be flying, consider direct flights to minimize the amount of time your pet will be confined. Whether your dog will be traveling in the cabin or cargo, it’s important that you get it comfortable with its carrier well in advance of the travel day. If your dog will be traveling in the cargo hold, select a portable air-transport kennel that is large enough for your pet to stand and move around a bit. Mark the kennel with “Live Animal,” your pet’s name, your contact information and any special handling instructions.  Request the flight attendant to confirm your pet has been loaded on the plane to ease your mind before take-off.

4. On moving day, keep your pet in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom (with a “Do Not Enter’ sign) or a pet carrier so he or she cannot escape. Be sure to maintain their regular feeding, potty and exercise schedule, but outside of the home or yard, keep the pet leashed until it becomes comfortable with its new surroundings. Pets love familiarity, so from day one, try to surround them with their favorite things to ease their transition.

5. Now that you’re new to the neighborhood, have a recent photo of your pet on hand in the unfortunate case that it runs off during the moving confusion.

With careful planning and preparation, your new place will quickly be home, sweet home, for all family members, especially those with four legs. For more information on Avilla’s pet friendly rental programs, please contact us at www.avillahomes.com/contact.