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Fast forward:

The last box is unpacked. Your new city really does seem to have a lot to offer. Just as you seem to be settling in and everything is going smoothly, you realize Prince, your four-year old Great Dane, isn’t acting right. Now what? Is he really sick? Homesick? At this pivotal moment you realize that you don’t have a veterinarian and what’s worse is that you don’t know where the closest veterinarian is located. Of course, he or she can’t be as good as Dr. Morris, and Prince just loved Dr. Morris.

Farfetched? Not really. Pets are probably the most overlooked member of the family when it comes to relocating. Most people expect their pets to just wake up completely adapted to their new surroundings as if nothing changed. Although this is true in some cases, just as many or more find relocating to be traumatic. Furthermore, most people wait until their pet is ill before finding a new veterinarian.

What should you do when faced with the challenge of relocating your pet? Actually the place to begin is in your hometown before you move. Speak to your own veterinarian and tell him where you are moving and ask his advice. In most cases, this alone will be sufficient to find out what is necessary to prepare your pet for transition. You may be surprised to find out that your veterinarian can recommend someone in the area where they are moving. Whether or not this person will actually become your new veterinarian is not as important as the peace of mind that the recommendation is from someone you trust.

Don’t wait until your pet is ill before looking for a veterinarian. A pet emergency is an extremely emotional time and nothing can be more traumatic than having to find a veterinarian in the midst of a crisis. It is obvious, then, that you should find a new veterinarian before that first crisis occurs so that when the need arises, you will be prepared.

How do you go about finding a new veterinarian in a new city? The best place to begin is simply the New Market Services Information Guide or online at

After making a list of local veterinary clinics, take the time to go visit them. Talk to the staff. Ask about office hours, fees, whether appointments are required, and what services are available. Also, ask if it is possible to talk to the doctor so that you can introduce yourself and at least have a first impression to help you make your choice. Remember, Location is an important factor, as many pets don’t travel well and, in the case of emergency, distance may be a factor in receiving timely treatment.

Finally, ask your neighbors which veterinarians they take their pets to and why. Then, of course, it’s your decision, but at least you have gathered some information on which to base your decision.

Check with your new veterinarian about licensing of pets, is it mandatory and is the license required to be annually renewed. Normally, new residents must vaccinate and license their dogs within 30 days of moving to the area. Another important piece of information to gather is what the leash and dog waste cleanup laws are in your new city.

Another way to help your with relocating is to let them get to know the area and, believe it or not, let them socialize. There are places where dogs can meet and socialize. They are referred to as “Bark Parks” or “Dog Parks” and they are quickly proliferating around the country. Dog Parks are designated fenced areas where people can bring their pets, regardless of make or model, and allow them to romp unleashed with other dogs. Most of the Dog Parks have water available for the pets as well as pooper-scoopers or plastic bags. Some have trees and benches and double-gated entrances. Some common sense is the responsibility of the human involved when visiting an off leash facility. It is also a great way to meet new people in your new neighborhood and who knows, you may meet your new BFF while exercising your pet!


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