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How to Move with Your Pets

Note: This post is adapted from The Guidebook for Sellers, a collection of how-tos, checklists, and worksheets to help sellers understand what to expect during the real estate sale experience. This helpful resource is available to view and/or download from our EMTAR website here.

Clearly, Americans—and Tennesseans—are in love with our pets. Partly driven by COVID-19 and the proliferation of remote workers, more of us than ever are adding four-legged (or otherwise) friends to our family Christmas photos and spending lots of dough on their upkeep.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), “Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up from $123.6 billion in 2021. The APPA expects pet spending to keep its year-over-year increase, projected to hit $143.6 billion in 2023.”

While all generations are spending more on their pets, Generation Z appears to be the most smitten, During the holiday season, for example, “Gen Z pet owners plan to spend an average of $146 on their pets, which is 35% of their overall holiday gift budget,” according to this MarketWatch article

Other findings of note in the same article include:

  • Over a recent eight-year period, average pet spending in the U.S. increased 67%, from $460 per year in 2013 to $770 per year in 2021.
  • Baby boomers spent nearly 20% more on their pets annually than they do personal care products and services ($842 vs. $703), while millennials spent more on themselves, shelling out an average of $777 on personal care and $679 on pets each year.
  • Women spend significantly more on pets compared to men ($575 vs. $367 annually).
  • People in the Western U.S. spend more than 1.5 times more on their pets on average than residents in EMTAR’s region of the nation, the South ($1,046 vs. $636 annually).
  • Data and expert commentary suggest that inflation hurts the younger generation’s pet spending habits the most.

In light of that, here are some tips for home sellers when preparing to move out of their home and relocate.

1. Update your pet’s tag with your new address. Make sure your pet’s collar is sturdy and correctly sized. The tag should also include your mobile number and e-mail address so that you can be reached during the move.

2. Request veterinary records. Ask your current vet to send your pet’s medical history directly to the new vet. Have their contact information handy in case of emergency or if the new vet has questions.

3. Keep a week’s worth of food and medication with you. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. Take the same precaution with special therapeutic foods.

4. Seclude them from chaos. Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room on moving day with a clear sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates available, but ensure it is well ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers. Also, introduce your pet to the crate before the trip. 

5. Prepare a pet first aid kit. Include your vet’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

6. Play it safe in the car. Use a crate or carrier in the car, securing it with a seat belt. Never leave your pet in the bed of a truck, the storage area of a moving van, or alone in a parked vehicle. If you’re staying overnight, find pet-friendly lodging beforehand and have kitty litter or plastic bags on hand. 

7. Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air, check with the airline about pet requirements or restrictions and whether you must purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. 

8. Prep your new home. Set up one room with everything your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, scratch post, and toys. Keep windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and beware of small spaces where nervous pets may hide. If your old home is nearby, give the new home owners or neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return.

9. Learn about local health concerns and laws in your new area. If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs related to bringing your pet into the country.

10. Spend extra time with them in the new locale. Some pets may become extra stressed while adapting to a new environment, so be patient and make sure they know they’re in a safe spot to play and relax. Longer walks and extra treats wouldn’t hurt during the transition.

We hope you find these ten tips helpful to you and to your clients—and their pets—as you help them navigate the largest transaction many of them will ever make.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

home sellers, moving with pets