Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
The Philadelphia Main Line Real Estate and Homes
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocation Specialist

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Subject: What You Need To Know Before Moving With Pets

Most people agree that moving is a high anxiety-producing time--with many details to handle as well coping with fear of the unknown. But we often forget that our pets get stressed out, too.

To ensure a smooth transition and the safe arrival of pets, it takes careful thought and planning. For instance, you will need to decide if your pet should make the move at all. Some ill or aged pets may not survive a stressful trip. If this is the case, see if a relative or friend will take your pet.

If you're considering getting a new pet, some humane societies recommend postponing adoption until you've settled into your new home. New pets require a stable, stress-free environment and lots of extra attention, something you can't provide during this busy time.

Now you're ready to start planning. Before the move, check with a vet in your new area to ensure your pet complies with county and municipal ordinances. You'll want to get a head start on the paperwork.

If you are planning to transport your pet via air, take note that many airlines require you to possess a valid veterinary health certificate that is current 10 days prior to the travel date. Pets should have complete physical exams and necessary vaccinations, especially rabies. While you're there, request a copy of your pet's records and ask for a referral. Talk with the doctor about feeding and, if necessary, tranquilizing your pet while traveling. Also, make sure you have a sufficient supply of your pet's medications.

If you'll be in transitional housing or hotels, check with management to ensure they are pet-friendly. In some instances, renters may be required to pay a pet deposit.

In the weeks leading up to the move, keep your pets on regular routines. Be consistent with their meal, exercise, and play time. It's best to condition them to eating their main meal at night. This will make it easier if you're traveling by car.

On moving day, check that your dog or cat is wearing identification and license tags. It's also wise to keep a recent photos of your pets in case they high-tail it during the move. Frequently, doors get left open and with all the foot traffic, four more little feet can go unnoticed. To keep pets safe, restrict them to one room. Provide them with food, water, special toys, and a litter box. Place their kennels, with the doors open, in the room so the animals can get used to them. Hang a "Do Not Open – Pets in Here" sign on the door. Even better, drop them off at a friend's house for the day.

To move your pets from Point A to Point B, you're limited to two choices—car or air. With the exception of seeing-eye dogs, most states prohibit pets from traveling on buses or trains.

If your pets will be requiring food and water on the trip, bring along bland food and water from home to fend off digestive disorders.

When traveling by air, book a direct flight at least four weeks in advance. Check to see if the airline offers counter-to-counter services, where airline representatives carry the animal on and off the aircraft. Try to book a midweek flight with few stopovers if direct flights are unavailable. Also, if traveling during the warm months, fly early morning or late evening to protect your pet from heat-related problems. Many airlines will not permit pets to travel as cargo during the hot summer months at all. Also, some airlines will allow up to two small pets per trip to be inside the cabin if they fit in a carrier similar in size to normal carry on luggage which fits underneath the seat.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also recommends that you inquire about the cargo that will be on your pet's flight. Fumes from chemicals such as dry ice can be lethal.

For pets to fly, they must be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least five days before flying. Check with your airline for additional information and restrictions.

You can obtain kennels from a pet shop or most airlines. The kennel should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn and lie down.

Get pets ready for traveling by car by taking them on short trips. Use whatever kennel or carrier you'll be using on the long trip. While en route, exercise your pets every two hours. Both dogs and cats should be on leashes or harnesses.

Although dogs enjoy riding with their ears blowing in the wind, dirt and bugs can cause injury or infections to the eyes, ears and nose. Also, keep a roll of paper towels and small plastic bags handy for pooper-scooper duties.

And remember, never leave pets in a hot car. Temperatures can reach over 100F quickly resulting in heatstroke, even death.

Keeping these tips in mind can help assure your pet's safety as well as give you piece of mind.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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