Most U.S. communities have ordinances regulating pet control and licenses. Call the city clerk in your new city and ask about the local animal ordinances. If your move is interstate, you might want to contact the Department of Agriculture or the State Veterinarian’s Office in your new state and ask about animal entry laws. A few states (Arizona and California, for example) have border inspection stations, but most rely on your compliance with the law.
If you’re moving internationally, taking your pets may be out of the question. Check with the country’s embassy for more info. For example, you may have to leave Bowser in quarantine for six months or more in the new country (England, Australia, and New Zealand, to name a few). Is it worth it to Bowser? Depending upon your destination, you will need to carry health certificates, permits, rabies tags, and identification.
To enter many states, you’ll need an entry permit for your pet. Either you or your veterinarian can apply for this permit, which may require a fee. You also might need health certificate in order to apply for the entry permit. Most states require a health certificate for entering dogs and horses. About half the states require certificates for cats, birds, and other household pets.
If you have questions about your pet’s health, take him to the vet early so that any problems can be cleared up in time to issue a health certificate for the time of the move. Some states require that the health certificate be fewer than 10 days old.
Nearly all states require dogs and cats to wear valid rabies tags on their collars. These dated tags are issued when your pet is inoculated against rabies. Requirements such as length of time between vaccinations vary, however, so be sure to check with your new veterinarian. Some cities have even stricter requirements. Check with you veterinarian before moving.
When traveling, a cat or dog should have identification attached to its collar. Birds should have identification on leg bands. Include your animal’s name, your name, and your new address on this tag.
Ask your veterinarian about the computer chip system of identifying pets. The tiny chips are inserted with a syringe, causing no more pain to the animal than an inoculation. The information on the chip is registered with an identification service, offering a permanent record of ownership of your pet.
Many veterinarians will also tattoo information on your pet. This simple procedure can be performed easily when the pet is under anesthetic for another procedure, such as spaying or neutering. The owner’s social security number is often used as the identifier, but a telephone number or other information can also be used. Of course, if you move frequently, your pet’s going to get pretty sore!