Tips for Moving to South Florida with cats and dogs
Moving to south Florida with pets takes planning and preparation. You’ve bought your new pet-friendly home in Boca Raton FL or another nearby city. Now, it’s time to make the big move. And moving can be stressful on our pets. To alleviate some of the stress, here are some tips for a successful move.
PREPARE AN OVERNIGHT KIT FOR YOUR PET
This kit should contain food, water, medication, toys, pee pads (if used), brushes, combs, potty bags, food and water bowls, trash bags, small flashlight, anything special your pets may use, and their bedding. If they have dog beds or a blanket, bring it along. It’s something familiar to them in a new world.
If you have a cat that uses a litter box, be sure to put the litter box, scooper, mat and kitty litter aside so that you can set it up right away upon arrival.
Pack for several days as you may not find everything upon arrival. It make take going through some boxes before you find your pet’s things.
GET THEIR MEDICAL RECORDS
Contact your veterinarian and get their medical records. This is very important especially if you are moving out of state. Records can be stored on a disk ,paper, or emailed – doesn’t matter – but make sure you have them. Ask your vet if they have a recommendation for a vet in the area you’re moving to. If not, ask your friends or your pet-friendly REALTOR® for a recommendation to a great vet.
This is vitally important depending where you are coming from. For example, rabies vaccine is mandatory in Florida, but it may not be where you currently live. Another recent development in Florida is that we now need to vaccinate our dogs for canine influenza. Last year we didn’t, but this year there was an outbreak up north, and many of those dogs and their families spend the winter in south Florida. Make sure your dog is protected!
Make sure your dogs and cats have collar and tags with your phone number on them. This is very important in case of emergency. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have a microchip.
After a move, pets occasionally get confused and try to find their old home. Play it safe.
KEEP DOGS AND CATS AWAY FROM THE MOVERS
If possible, have one person stay with your pets in one room while the movers are there. The less stress on them, the better. Talk to your pets in a calm voice. Explain what is happening. I don’t know if they’ll understand, but they understand your tone of voice and they trust you. I talk to my dogs and they listen. Your pets will hear you and that will help to calm them.
“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”– Orhan Pamuk
Keep some food, treats and water nearby, along with some of their toys. If you are going to be using a carrier, have something familiar of theirs inside the carrier. It’s also a good idea to put something of yours in there too, like a tee shirt you’ve worn a few times. It will have your scent and help to calm your animals.
TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU
If you are driving to your new house, take your pets with you. Put their crates in the back seat. If you have larger dogs, a large crate or familiar blanket will work. Your dogs and cats will feel more secure if they are with you.
Keep leashes nearby in the car (not packed away). Be careful about letting your pets out without leashes in a strange place. They could get frightened and run. Make sure leashes are on for all potty breaks.
If you are driving to your new home in south Florida, plan your trip and look for pet-friendly hotels or motels. They do exist! I recently stayed in one, and they were as nice as can be with regards to my dogs. The room had a refrigerator, microwave and sink, so feeding them was easy. And they had a designated walking area with potty stations. It was perfect.
If you’re traveling by air and have small pets, they may be allowed in a carrier under the seat. Larger pets usually travel with baggage. This is a personal decision you have to make. Call the airlines as your pet will likely need a ticket, as well as you.
ARRIVAL AT YOUR NEW HOME IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Make sure your pets are on a leash when you bring them into their new home. Let them sniff around and check the place out. Everything is new to them. I’m most familiar with dogs and cats so that’s from where I speak. Place their beds or blanket in a convenient spot and show it to them. Explain it to them. If you have a cat, place the litter box where you want it. Show it to your cat several times. Place water bowls in a convenient location. Show it to your dogs and cats. If your dog uses pee pads, place them in a convenient location and show it to your pet. They will learn quickly.
Take them in the yard on a leash and let them sniff around. In south Florida, we have Bufo toads that are more prevalent certain times of the year. Do not leave your animals unattended in the yard. These toads and frogs are not cute or friendly and can be deadly to your dogs. Do not let your dogs chase them, lick them or nudge them. They secrete a poisonous toxin which is deadly to dogs and cats. If your dog comes into contact with one, rinse his/her mouth immediately and seek emergency veterinary care ASAP. These toads are mostly out in summer at night. Carry a small high-powered flashlight with you if you go out after dark.
Keep an eye on your pets the first few days or even longer. Your new home in south Florida is a whole new world to your pets, just as it is to you, and they may become frightened. When we first moved here, I couldn’t find one of my dogs. We looked all over and finally found her curled up in the corner of a walk-in closet.
If you have a cat, it is frequent for them to mew the first night. They are simply calling for you. Let them know everything is okay. Usually, it’s just the first night, but occasionally, it will happen the 2nd night with lower intensity. This is common and normal.
Our pets are our family. No question about it. We want to minimize their stress and keep them happy. Once they’re settled in their new environment, things should be fine. It takes time to make the transition. Some dogs adapt faster than others, same as people. Others take more time. Be patient with them.
UPDATE THEIR INFORMATION ONCE YOU’VE MOVED
Once you’ve settled into your new South Florida home, make sure to update your pet’s information. Your phone number may stay the same, if it’s a cell number on their tags, that’s okay. But if they have a microchip, your contact information will change, veterinary information will change. Make sure to update their records.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE NEW VETERINARIAN
Make an appointment with the new vet you have selected. Make sure they have your cat or dog’s records and your pet gets whatever local shots are needed. Also make sure to locate and get phone numbers and addresses for emergency 24/7 veterinary hospitals. Your vet can recommend one or ask your pet-friendly buyer’s agent for a recommendation.
FINAL THOUGHTS FOR WHEN YOU MOVE TO SOUTH FLORIDA WITH PETS
Although moving itself can be stressful to us and our furry friends, once settled you’ll find much to do in Boca Raton and Delray Beach with your pets. Boca Raton has two dogs parks and a dog beach. Delray Beach has a dog park. There are many pet-friendly restaurants, where you can dine outside with your dogs. Some restaurants even have special menus for your furry friends! And many stores have water bowls as you walk by, even Town Center Mall (though they are only pet-friendly to small pets.) They gladly welcome your pets.
With some planning and preparation, you’ll get through it and so will your pets. Things will settle down and life will get back to normal in south Florida.
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