Please also visit my Author's blog at

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Moving with Your Dog - Part Three: Settling into the New Place

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.


Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Discard old ID tags and put on new ones.
2. Make sure familiar items are nearby
3. Locate a new veterinarian
4. What if you are not able to find a place that takes pets in your new location?

Settling into the New Place

Remember to discard all old and temporary ID tags and put on the new permanent ones. If you were not able to order the new tags, remember to do that as soon as possible. Some pet stores have tag making machines inside their stores, and you can make new tags on your next trip. You don’t have to wait for them to arrive in the mail. If that is not possible, order them as soon as possible. Contact your dog’s microchip and/or tattoo company to give them your new address and phone number.

Make sure the pet’s familiar objects like his toys, bed, food bowls and water are where he can find them. You may have to walk him around the new place to make sure he sees the water bowl, doors and toy box. Cats should be shown the new location of the litter box.

If the food you have been feeding is not available in your new location, I would start as soon as possible to change him over to a new food. To do that, get a new bag and have at least one week’s worth, if possible, of the old food. Mix the new food with the old food. They will be mixed together for several days, allowing your dog’s stomach to get accustomed to the new food. Gradually increase the amount of the new food. Don’t suddenly change your dog’s food. You can easily cause an upset stomach and diarrhea that can last for days.

Locate a new veterinarian, boarding or daycare facility or pet sitter in case the need suddenly arises. Have your former vet send over any necessary records to your new vet, including prescriptions or special diets. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if you must get a new license tag for your pet and, if so, where you must get it from. You may need to get your dog’s license at city hall, from the local dog shelter, or even from the vet’s office itself. More rural areas might not require any licensing at all. If you need to find a new dog park, you can get listings and references from your vet, co-workers, neighbors, online chats, recreation departments and animal shelters.

Even after you have reached your new home and have begun to settle in, be certain to maintain a regular schedule of food, treats, water and exercise for your pet. It will be very important for your dog’s sense of security if they feel they can predict some aspects of their lives, when there are a lot of changes occurring around them. Just like human, animals need a sense of routine and predictability to help them feel at ease.

What if you were not able to find a new home in your new location that takes pets?

One of your options may be boarding in the new location. This is preferable to boarding in the old location because you are closer to your pet, and you can take them out of boarding quickly when you find a new place without having to make a long trip back. You will be able to find a new place. It may just take a little longer than if you didn’t have a pet. Your pet might also be able to stay with friends or family, preferably in the new location. If this is not possible, and you have somebody your pet can stay with in the old location, your dog may be more comfortable there than in a boarding kennel.

Other options are short term rentals, long-term stay hotels and motels, or executive housing that allows pets. Such options are becoming more common as people move around more often, and many do allow pets. Many are also furnished, if you don’t have your furniture shipped out to you yet. And they are usually in convenient locations near other hotels, inns or business parks. A downfall to these housing options is that they can be expensive, usually much more expensive than renting an apartment.

Despite these disadvantages, however, if such an option is available in your new location, a short-term rental might actually be less expensive, and less stressful on your pet than boarding your dog or staying with family or friends. Your new employer might have a benefit they can offer where they will assist with your temporary housing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Moving with Your Dog - Part Two: Planning Your Trip

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. 

Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Planning the Car Route
2. Extra Note of Caution for Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes
3. Final Week's Checks
4. Moving Day!
5. During the Trip
6. Hot Weather Warning!

Planning Your Trip

Planning the car route

Use a map to plan your route in advance. Determine the roads and highways you will take and where you can stop to take breaks. If you belong to an auto club, you might be able to receive a trip planner that includes construction areas and detours, as well. Creating your plan will help you make reservations at campgrounds, motels, or hotels or to visit with friends and family members. You might even consider mapping out some dog park locations along the route to stop and let your dog exercise.

When estimating the time you need to travel, make certain your plan takes into account rest stops, meals, and bathroom and snack breaks. Most major highways in the United States have rest areas along their lengths. These rest areas are excellent places to stop with your pet. Most areas are spacious, with separate parking lots for commercial vehicles and automobiles. In addition, most rest areas have separate “dog walking” locations that are away from the main buildings so your dog can have some privacy and relax.

Depending on your route and the amount of time you have for the trip, you may have more time for sightseeing trips, if your dog would be welcome to participate or if he or she will be comfortable in your vehicle. These stops could provide additional opportunities for breaks. If you have taken the time to acclimate your dog to sleeping in or traveling in his or her crate, you should know how long your pet can go between bathroom breaks.

Extra Note of Caution for Owners of Pit Bulls or Pit Bull Mixes

Be aware that if you are traveling with an American Pit Bull Terrier, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or one of the breeds classified as a “pit bull,” that certain municipalities ban or restrict their movements in or through the area. Other breeds like Rottweilers, Akita and Chows and mixes of these breeds might also be banned or restricted. Make certain you are fully aware of these areas all along your route. Each city has their own individual restrictions ranging from allowing dogs visiting temporarily like showing or traveling to automatic, on-the-spot confiscation.

Final week’s final checks

In the final weeks before your move, watch your pet for signs of increased stress in response to your moving plans and your increased move related distractedness. Talk to your pet openly and honestly about what is happening, and spend extra time with your pet during the preparation. Although he or she might not understand what is being said, your calm tone and your willingness to pay attention to your pet will be reassuring.

Confirm your reservations for your travel plans whether that would include hotel, camping, or plane rides. If you are driving, be sure to check your car’s condition. Take it to a trusted mechanic and tell them that you are planning a long trip. Have them check the oil if it needs changing. Have the mechanic check the tires and fill all of the fluids, as needed.

Do not buy any new beds or toys prior to your move. Animals feel more comfortable with their own belongings, which smell like them. If you wash your pet’s bedding before your move, do so a few days before so that the bed has time to pick up the smells of the pet and its current home. After your move, wait a few weeks before buying new beds and toys for your pet. That will give your pet time to settle into his or her new home and get used to the new surroundings with familiar items.

Moving Day!

On moving day, be certain you know where your pet is at all times. He or she will be very anxious about all of the changes and of the increased activity. A helpful tip is to keep your pet confined in a separate room that has already been cleared of possessions with his or her carrier open, a bowl of water and one or two toys. Not only is this environment quieter and less stressful, but there is also less of a chance they could escape. If you are being assisted by friends or have employed movers, make sure you put a sign on the door saying something like “Animals Inside: DO NOT OPEN.” Remember to give your dog a bowl of fresh water if it will take some time to clear your possessions from your home. This area is also a good one in which to keep personal items like your purse, computers, as well as maps, vaccination records, and other paperwork, that you should keep with you on your trip.

Before you remove your dog from your home for the last time, be certain he or she is wearing his sturdy collar with this temporary ID tags, and make sure that all leashes are nearby to take outside for short walks when necessary.

If you are moving a short distance and if you can afford to do so, another option would be to board your dogs in a secure kennel for a couple of days until you are in your new place.

Before pulling out of the driveway or parking lot, be certain that you have all their supplies ready in a large, secure bag with a lot of pockets. Remember to bring enough food to feed your pet for at least a month, just in the event your brand of food is not available in your new location. This will give your pet enough of his old food to mix with the new, and the change won’t bother his tummy. Food for the trip itself can be packed in pre-measured bags. Also, bring your pet’s favorite treats for snacks along the way. Bring leashes (more than one in case the other is broken or lost), first aid kit (human and animal) water, grooming supplies, pooper scooper bags (lots!), beds, vaccination records and health certificates. In addition, be certain that you are carrying a current photo, just in case the worst happens and your pet becomes lost. Be prepared to handle any such emergency by carrying your cell phone, as well as its charger. Don’t rely on people stopping by in an emergency.
During the Trip

Have fun! Your pet will feel less anxious if you remain calm and relaxed. Remember that animals are very sensitive to our emotions, and if you’re stressed out, your pet will also be stressed out.

Have your motel/hotel guides available along with your road maps. Don’t wander around in your car in strange locations, especially with a dog unless you intentionally are looking for unexpected adventures. Stop frequently to allow for bathroom, water, exercise or stretching periods and food breaks. Always keep your pet on a sturdy leash, collar or harness during these breaks outside your car.


When traveling in hot weather, temperatures can soar quickly, even if you have parked in shade. If you are alone and you must stop, make sure you are parked in a large shady area and open the windows at least a couple of inches all around. Be certain to stay away only for a couple of minutes and make sure your pets have access to water while you are gone. Do not leave your car running unattended with the air conditioner on because that could be an invitation to thieves to steal your car. Even locked and running your car could roll forward or backwards. If you are traveling with another person take turns going in, keep the air conditioner on and don’t leave the car unattended.

If you are flying, check with your airline to see if you can visit with your crated dog during layovers, if the trip makes connections or will last more than several hours. Your large dog must endure a long trip in a crate in the luggage compartment of an airplane. In addition to this stress, your dog is in a strange location with many strange noises and may easily become frightened by the airport and all its commotion, so do not remove your dog from its crate unless you are in a secure and private room. Your dog should only leave its carrier if they are wearing its leash and collar or harness. Many horror stories can be told of dogs becoming frightened at airports, bolting out of doors and running loose at airports, even if the dog has always been well behaved.

If at all possible, stick to your same routine such as meals at a specific time and going to bed at the usual time. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and if we can maintain a schedule even while traveling, it makes it easier on the pet.

Moving with Your Dog - Part One: Preparing a Move with Your Dog

The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."

Jackie Phillips
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.  


Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Preparing a Move with Your Dog
2. Planning a Move
3. Finding a New Place to Live
4. Deciding What Type of Transportation
5. Deciding What Type of Carrier
6. Acclimating Your Pet to the Carrier
7. Using a Harness in the Car
8. Talking to Your Dog's Veterinarian
9. Ordering New ID tags

Preparing a Move with Your Dog

So you have just accepted a great new job with your dream company. However, it is across the country and your starting date is in one month. Or maybe you are simply moving over to the next town with your dog and need to find a new place to live. This chapter covers the basics of making any move easier for you and your pet.

Planning Your Move

Finding a New Place to Live
Your first step in planning your move should be to decide what part of your new town is close to where you will be working, or in which part of town you wish to live. You might want to talk with your new boss to see if he or she has any suggestions for rentals in good locations that accept pets. These decisions will set you on your way toward finding a new place to live in your new location.

Deciding What Type of Transportation
Another important consideration is the kind of transportation that you will use to move. There are many options to think about including using a car, plane, ship or train. You might even choose to drive your own moving van. Of course, the transportation you choose depends on how far you will be moving. Even if you are moving across the country, you may still be thinking about using a car to do so.

Deciding What Type of Carrier to Use

No matter what type of transportation you have chosen for your move, your pet will need to be confined in some type of carrier. If you are shipping your pet in the cargo area of a plane, their regulations are very specific as to what kind of carrier can be used. Make sure you have that information before you go to the pet store. In general, the airline-approved carrier must be just big enough to allow the pet to stand up, turn around and lay back down. The carrier should also have a dish on the inside that clips to the metal door for water. Airline-approved crates for pets traveling in the hold are generally made of heavy high-impact plastic and must be marked with “Live Animal” labels. Each airline has its own regulations, so be certain to check the requirements for your chosen carrier.

All airlines require that animals brought onto planes be inside carriers, even if the pet is small enough to go inside the cabin. If you have a service animal, your pet is able to fly in the cabin without being in a carrier.
A wide variety of underseat carriers are available, from rigid plastic to semi-rigid to soft-sided cloth carriers. The carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, not on the seat next to you. Because the required dimensions of these carriers once again may differ from airline to airline, it is important to check with your carrier prior to attempting to bring your pet on board.

You can go to any pet store in your area before the move and ask the clerk to help you with fitting your pet with a proper carrier. Remember to bring your pet with you so you can try out the different sizes with your dog.

Even if you are driving, it is best to have your pet, especially cats, confined in secure carriers. Never allow any animal to ride loose in a vehicle. Too many cats become lost when they jump outside a car either through an open window or door. Cats and small dogs can wedge themselves behind the gas or brake pedal, while larger dogs can be a distraction if they bark or wish to play. In addition, all animals will be anxious and nervous due to the move and new location, so it is best to keep them in a carrier when inside the car, and on a secure leash when outside, even if your pet has always proved to not take off or wander when off leash. If your pet is not microchipped or tattooed, please be certain to have a sturdy collar with identification securely attached to it on your dog at all times.

When driving your own car, you can choose from the wide variety of carriers available. Some are soft sided, while many are hard material like either high-impact plastic or metal wire. These crates vary in the amount of weight that each can carry. If you think you pet will become anxious and chew on the soft sided crates, then choose either a metal crate or heavy plastic airline-style carrier. Obviously, the soft sided crates weigh less if that is an issue for you.

Acclimating Your Pet to the Carrier

Begin to acclimate your pet to a crate or carrier by feeding him or her inside it. Make the dog’s crate a den, by keeping a favorite toy and soft, clean bedding inside. The crate should be a happy place to be and never used as a punishment. Eventually, your dog will see the crate or carrier as a comfortable safe place, like their own room. By the time you move, the pet will be completely familiar with it, which will help them to make the move easier.

If you will be using your car to move and you have already acclimated your pet to the crate or carrier inside your home, acclimate the dog to the car in the same way. Start by having the dog ride in the carrier for a short drive, perhaps driving around the block to begin. Be certain that you spend enough time on both, since your pet will see the locations of your home and your car as two different things. Gradually increase the time and distance that your dog travels in the car, until you feel comfortable that he or she can make the trip without discomfort.

Using a Harness in a Car

If your dog is still uncomfortable in the crate or it is impossible to use a crate for another reason due to the size of your vehicle, then you might consider using a harness as an alternative method of securing your pet. A harness attaches directly to the seatbelt and physically keeps your dog in a stable spot, preventing him or her from jumping around the car or outside of the vehicle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use of this restraint.

Talking to your dog’s veterinarian

If you are moving far enough away to need a new veterinarian for your pet, then ask your current vet if they have a referral for a new doctor in your new location. Before you move, have a discussion with your vet about your pet’s needs, particularly if your pet requires prescription medicines, special diets, has allergies or diabetes or is receiving cancer treatment. Your vet will need to transfer your pet’s records to your new vet. Be sure to refill your pet’s prescription prior to leaving so you’ve got an ample supply of medications when you get to your new home, in case the transfer of records takes longer than expected or if the new vet wants to examine your pet before renewing any prescriptions.

If you are moving out of the state or out of the country, then your current vet should provide copies of vaccination records for you to carry with you on your trip. In case you need one, ask your vet to provide you with a health certificate, which states that your pet is free of communicable diseases. You may need to provide a health certificate for each pet to the airlines or to customs or to the border patrol, depending on where you are traveling. A health certificate is only good for a short time, so be certain to schedule your appointment to get it less than a week before you have to travel. Double check with your vet on what they feel your pet may need for their trip.

Order new ID tags

Even if your dog is microchipped or tattooed, you will want your dog to wear a sturdy collar, to which an identification tag has your cell phone or pager number engraved on this tag, in case your dog gets loose during your trip. If you don’t have a cell phone or pager, you might consider engraving the tag with the phone number of a friend or a family member who you know will be at home during your trip. If there is somebody you can count on still at your old address, you can keep your pet’s old tags for the trip. At the same time you order the temporary tags, you can order the permanent tags for the new address, if you know your new street address and phone number. If you do not have a new permanent address or if forwarding your mail will take too much time, you might consider getting a post office box, if one can be set up at a distance to which you can direct your new mail, including your dog’s new tags. Contact the United States Postal Service for information about setting up a post office box at a distance. I know you can put in change of addresses and other similar things on their website.