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A LEASH IS A MUST WHEN YOU'RE ON THE MOVE

Moving day. It's generally a day of mixed emotions. Of course, it's fun and exciting to be moving to a new home, but it can also be a day of incredible inconvenience and frustration. If you are aware of this going into the move, you can be prepared to make it considerably less stressful for you, your family and your cat or dog.

One of the most frequently encountered problems involves pets, reports John J. Palisano of Lincoln Moving and Storage of Buffalo, an agent for Atlas Van Lines, Inc. For a long distance move of over 150 miles, special arrangements must be made for pets. If you're planning to fly, you'll have to plan ahead.

Small dogs and cats are frequently permitted to fly in the passenger compartment of a commercial airliner, provided they ride in a specially approved FAA pet carrier. However, you'll be responsible for providing the carrier, or at least arranging for it. When you are buying your airline ticket, notify the ticket agent of your pet and ask for advice.

Larger dogs must, by law, fly in the cargo hold of the airplane. This will require making special arrangements for your pet's loading and unloading. Many airlines have regulations concerning the amount of time they will hold a pet before you pick it up. It's wise to check well in advance of your travel dates.

Also, the airlines can refuse to take your pet if the ground temperature is too hot or too cold, cautions Palisano.

The air carriers are concerned about the comfort and safety of your pet so they have strict rules governing its transport. It's a good idea to have a contingency plan worked out with a friend or relative when your pet must be traveling in the middle of winter or during the heat of summer.

Palisano says that all animals must also have health certification documents from your veterinarian. Unhealthy pets, or those without the proper inoculations, will be refused entry on the aircraft. Be sure you understand these regulations in advance of moving day so you'll have the papers needed when you arrive at the airport.

If you are going to carry your pet by car, and your trip requires an overnight stay, be sure to check in advance that your stop-over motel permits pets. Moving is as stressful for a pet as it is for people, says Palisano.

Whenever your pet is in strange surroundings, keep it on a leash. Dogs and cats will look for something familiar when they are stressed, which leads to a lot of pets running away during a move, acknowledges the Atlas agent.

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