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For many, pets are considered part of the family. Moving to a new home, however, can make it complicated to transport your furry (or scaly) friends to the new locations. Here are six tips for moving your pets:

1. Get a collar or ID tag. When moving longer distances, especially moves that require air travel, it’s important to tag your pets. Put a collar with your contact and destination information on your dog or cat and also have them microchipped for better tracking. For birds, attach an ID tag to their leg. Also, be sure you have appropriate rabies identifications.

2. Get a permit and health certificate. It’s important to have all the appropriate documentation for your pets before moving. Talk to a licensed veterinarian to obtain this paperwork. This is especially important for exotic pets that may not be allowed in all state or types of homes.

3. Invest in a pet carrier. It’s important for your pet to be safe and comfortable during his journey. A pet carrier is essential for dogs and cats, so make sure you buy one appropriate to the pet’s size. Also, make sure your pet has time to get acquainted with the carrier before the trip. Add his blanket or a cherished toy, so he is secure and comfortable.

4. Contact the airline in advance. When moving, preparation is key. Call the airline to discuss their animal policy when booking your flight. Small dogs or cats may be allowed in the cabin, but larger animals will have to fly in cargo. Talk to the airline about how to check your pet and how you will receive your companion at the destination. Always try to fly direct and talk to your vet about medications to help calm your pet during the trip if he’s prone to barking or acting up.

5. Prepare aquarium animals. Aquarium animals—fish, turtles or lizards—can be tricky to transport. Pack fish in plastic containers with battery-operated aerators. Turtles can even be shipped overnight; just be sure to pack the critter appropriately and clearly label the box: “Fragile. Live animal.”

6. Plan accordingly for car trips. Automobile travel is the most prevalent way for transporting pets during a move. When planned in advance, this transition can be smooth and easy. Get your pet acquainted with the car before the trip if he or she isn’t used to riding in the car. Take frequent bathroom and water breaks and don’t leave the pet in the car unattended for long periods, since pets are sensitive to extreme cold and heat.

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