By Eileen Alexander

We love our pets. Cats and dogs, along with birds, fish and hamsters become part of the family and enhance our lives in so many ways. So, of course, when you move to a new home you will want to bring your pets with you.

To make the move as stress-free as possible for both you and your pets consider the following:

• Make an appointment with your vet prior to the move to be sure Max or Betsy’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that collar tags and microchips have been updated with your new address. Obtain all of your pet’s medical records and refill any prescriptions. Research any state and local laws and neighborhood association rules that pertain to things like immunizations and leashing your pet. If feasible, ask your vet to recommend a vet in your new location.

• If your pet isn’t familiar with a crate or carrier, let them get used to it during the couple of weeks prior to the move. Put it in a spot where they can freely enter and exit and place their food inside so that it becomes comfortable and welcoming rather than intimidating.

• On moving day, place your pet in a bathroom or spare bedroom with their food and water and, for cats, a litter box. Plan to walk dogs on their regular schedule. Keeping them out of the way while boxes and furniture are being moved out will lessen their anxiety at all the commotion going on — and they won’t be able to escape when doors to the outside are left open.

• If you are moving a considerable distance away, map out a pet-friendly route. Pinpoint pet friendly rest areas as well as hotels or motels that welcome pets. During the trip, stop every couple of hours for water, potty breaks and treats.

• Pack a pet travel kit that includes water, meals and snacks, blankets and toys, harnesses and leashes, litter boxes and cleaning supplies to mop up any accidents.

• Once you reach your new home, place your pet in a quiet room while you begin unpacking and setting up the furniture. Once that’s done try to stick to your pet’s old routine as much as possible for feeding, exercise, playing and sleeping, so that they feel relaxed and comfortable in their new surroundings.

I’ve only had experience moving with cats and dogs and both times the moves were within New Hampshire and no more than two hours away from their old homes. The animals made the trips easily, and adapted to their new surroundings in a very short time.

During both moves, I kept the kitties indoors for about a week to acclimate them to their new house before letting them outdoors. The dogs explored the area around the new houses on their leashes with plenty of encouraging words from me, followed by treats.

“Moving is stressful and pets can sense your anxiety, so whatever steps you can take to remain calm will help them stay relaxed amidst the chaos of packing up and traveling to their new home,” said Badger Peabody & Smith Realty agent Rachael Brown.

A checklist of things you need to do for your pets to make the process go smoothly before, during and after the move means a happy pet and pet owner and ensures that you won’t forget important details like obtaining their medical records.

Eileen Alexander is a New Hampshire native, who made a short detour through North Carolina before returning to the Granite State. She has a yen for old homes with character, colorful flower gardens and expansive mountain views.

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