Moving across states is always hectic, and it’s even more so when you have a pet moving with you. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that your pet also has a hassle-free move across the states.
Moving is one of the most stressful experiences that you can go through. You must pack up everything, find a new place to live, and then unpack again. All that stress can take its toll on you, but what about your dog? Moving with your pet can be even more stressful for your furry friend than it is for you. We'll look at how moving states with your pup can make both of your lives easier and more enjoyable.
Plan a Week or Two in Advance
If you're the type who likes to plan, you can save yourself some stress by planning for your move with your dog. If possible, give yourself one or two weeks to prepare for the move.
This way, you can take care of any last-minute details before your scheduled departure date and avoid feeling rushed. Planning will also help minimize the potential for last-minute changes in plans (or, even worse—last-minute emergencies). It's always better to be prepared than caught off guard.
Have Your Dog Microchipped
Microchipping your dog is a simple procedure that can save you a ton of trouble if your dog ever gets lost. The chip will be placed beneath your pet's skin between its shoulders, containing a unique number that can be traced back to you. Your veterinarian will administer the procedure, which involves inserting the chip into your pup's body just as they would an injection.
Once it's in place, there are two things you need to do. Always keep your contact information up-to-date with whichever organization manages the registry (in most states, this is either local animal control or county public health). Never forget to update any other records containing your dog's name and address. Like their vaccination records from the vet or registration paperwork from their breeder.
Get a Collar Tag With Your Current Details
The dog collar with a name tag should have your current, new, and emergency contact information. Since dog collars may be the only thing that identifies them, it is essential to make sure that the tag lists every possible way to reach you. It includes:
Current address, phone number, email address, and website address (if applicable). If you are moving to a new city or state, update these fields with the correct information. You can also include your pet's microchip number on this tag if they have one implanted in them. That way, anyone who finds them knows how they can get in touch with you immediately if needed.
New address, phone number, and email address (if applicable). Be sure that this information is updated before you move so that anyone looking for a way to reach out will always find an active route for contacting someone at home.
Make a Travel Kit For Your Dog
Before you hit the road, you'll want to ensure your dog has everything he needs to stay comfortable. While it's easy to pack lots of treats and toys in a suitcase, certain things are essential for a long car ride.
Include food and water. If you're bringing along collapsible dog bowls, have enough room in the crate or carrier, so your dog isn't forced into an uncomfortable position while eating (and drinking). Pack a first aid kit with bandages and pet medications specifically made for dogs. Be aware that some over-the-counter pet meds may cause reactions when applied directly to your pet's skin.
If using a crate, carrier, or retractable dog leash, always keep these items handy in case of emergency; you never know when something might happen unexpectedly. Make sure everything is easily accessible so there won't be any confusion at an inconvenient time later down the road.
If possible, try putting them all together side by side inside one bag so no matter what happens during transport, they'll remain close at hand instead of being scattered across multiple bags throughout various compartments like some scavenger hunt gone wrong.
Have Your Dog Examined by the Vet
Before you move, have your dog examined by the vet. Your dog should be up-to-date on vaccines and heartworm prevention, as well as microchipping and testing for heartworm and medicated with the likes of Heartgard for dogs. Even if your dog has been treated annually with flea and tick medicine—and even if they seem perfectly healthy—it's still important to have him checked out by a veterinarian before moving.
Make Sure Your Dog is Up To Date With Medications and Vaccines
Vaccinations are essential for your dog's health and required by law in most states, so make sure your vaccinations are kept up to date before moving across state lines or traveling abroad. Many localities require rabies vaccination, but some states have more specific regulations regarding other types of vaccinations. For example, California requires bordetella (kennel cough) vaccination for dogs visiting out-of-state shelters or animal control facilities.
Depending on where you're moving from and to, there could be additional requirements for travel with your pet. For example, all New York City dogs must be vaccinated against panleukopenia (distemper), leptospirosis, and parvovirus before entering the city limits. These vaccines must also be administered at least 30 days before arrival, so there's enough time for them to take effect before crossing state lines.
Ensure Your Dog is Healthy
Before deciding to move with your dog, ensuring that she's in good health is essential. Not only does this provide a comfortable, stress-free trip for both of you, but it also makes it more likely that your dog will be accepted by the state where you're moving and can live there comfortably.
Your veterinarian can help by performing an exam on your pet and giving advice about what medical care they should receive before traveling. They'll also be able to advise you on whether or not your pet is healthy enough for the journey.
If at all possible, keep your dog on familiar food during their trip so that they don't get sick from eating something new while away from home. Some good dog food brands include Beneful Dog Food, Blue Buffalo Dog Food, Blue Diamond Dog Food, and others.
Keep Your Dog's Medical Records Handy
Having a copy of your pet's medical history on hand is crucial for moving states with your dog. It's essential to have a current medical record showing what vaccinations your dog has had, along with any medications or other treatments they have received.
The best time to get these records is immediately before you move. You can ask your veterinarian if they will email them or mail them directly to you, as long as it's within their guidelines. If you no longer see this veterinarian, find out if there are any clinics near where you'll be moving and ask there instead. Most local veterinary clinics keep copies of their patients' records on file, so they should be able to help out when needed.
If you aren't able to get copies mailed or emailed before moving, don't worry too much. You may still be able to retrieve them from another clinic in the new state after moving there (though this may take some time).
Make Sure Your Dog is Not Overweight
You can tell if your dog is overweight by feeling their ribs and spine. These areas should be easily felt, with just enough space between them for you to insert a finger. If it's difficult or impossible to feel the ribcage or spine, this is a good sign that your dog may be overweight.
Another way of determining if your dog is overweight is to look at them from above (from standing up). They might be carrying some extra pounds around if you can see most of their stomach when they lie down on the floor.
The best way to determine whether or not they're obese is by having an expert examine them and assess how much muscle mass they have versus body fat.
Don't Change Your Dog's Diet on Trip
If you're going to be traveling with your dog and changing diets, it's a good idea to do this gradually. It can be done by mixing the new food with your old diet while slowly decreasing the amount of old food and increasing the amount of new food over time.
Once you have chosen a new diet for your dog, ensure you know what ingredients are included. For example, if fish oil is in their diet (which is common), ensure that it does not contain mercury or lead. Also, check out how much energy is in each serving so that you don't underfeed or overfeed them.
Prepare for Motion Sickness
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, taking frequent driving breaks is a good idea. Your pup might be able to hold it together for an hour or two, but if they get carsick for more than that—or worse, throws up in the car—you'll have a mess on your hands and no way of cleaning it up until you reach your destination.
If you think this could be an issue, try putting them in a crate in the back seat while you drive. If they still can't handle the ride after that, consider renting a car with seats that fold flat, so they can be comfortable lying flat during the trip.
There is a lot to think about when moving states with your pet. There are expenses, logistics, and the general uncertainty that comes with any significant life change.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all this information, especially if you have never moved out of state. But there are steps you can take to ensure your move goes smoothly for you and your dog.