57 percent of American households own a pet. With numbers that high, it stands to reason that at least some will be relocating with a pet in tow this year. If you are one of those families, it’s important to understand that moving can be just as stressful for your pet as it can be for you. Here are 10 tips for making the move less anxiety-ridden for you and your best friend.

Sampson's ready to move

1.Visit the Vet

Visit the vet with your animal at least one month before you move. Get your pet updated on vaccines, get refills of any medication that your pet needs and, if you are moving to a new city, ask your veterinarian to recommend a new doctor for your pet.

2.Identification

If your pets aren’t microchipped, make sure that it happens. Microchips are a permanent way to identify your pets should they become lost during your move. Each pet should also have an identification tag affixed to its collar.

3.Get a Sedative

You’ve had your pet long enough to know if it gets sick during long car rides. If this is the case, ask your vet for a sedative for your pet. Never try to dose your pet with an OTC medication without speaking to your veterinarian.

4.Call the Hotel

If you are moving cross country, you will spend at least one night in a hotel. Make reservations ahead of time. You don’t want to spend a long day of traveling with your pet only to have to spend hours searching for a pet-friendly hotel.

5.Boarding

It’s easy for pets to slip out of a door when no one is looking. Schedule pet boarding for your furry friend on the first couple of days of your move. When you get to your new location, your first stop should be to drop your pet off at a safe facility.

6.Know Your Route

Traveling with pets is like traveling with small children: They need frequent breaks. Map out your route well ahead of time so that you know where the rest stops are. Aim for stopping with your pet no less than every three hours. This will give both you and your pet a chance to stretch your legs, grab a drink and hit the restroom.

7.Buy a Carrier

Xena is ready to go back home

It is never safe for a pet to ride unrestrained in the car. Be sure to purchase one carrier per pet. Measure the back seat or cargo area to be sure that your pets will fit. Never plan on having your pet ride in the back of a moving truck.

8.Food and Water

Pack food and bottled water for your pet as well as travel bowls. Your pet may not want to eat a full meal due to stress; don’t let this concern you. Remember that a full belly and a moving car make for an intense urge to potty. Stop within an hour of feeding your pet to give it a chance to go to the bathroom.

9.Unwashed Towels

Let your pet sleep with a towel or two for a week before your move. Pack these towels away without washing them. When you move into your new house, your pet will have something that smells familiar.

10.Settle In

You may be tempted to take your pet around town, introducing it to other animals in the neighborhood, but don’t. Give your pet a chance to settle in to its new home before you start exploring. Your pet will relax and settle in faster if you give it time to do so.

Moving with pets is an experience, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Even a cross-country move can be a pleasant journey if you are well prepared. Follow these tips to move your pets to your new home safely and without stress.