Moving to L.A. With a Pet: 13 Helpful Tips

Moving to a big city like L.A. can be a stressful experience, but you and your furry companion can survive the move if you work together to keep everyone around you happy and satisfied. There are lots of things to keep in mind when you move to a new city.

1. Understand the Laws for Unique/Exotic Pets

In California, there are several exotic pets that have limitations when it comes to keeping them. Some of the penalties for getting caught with these exotic animals include fines of up to $10,000. A ferret, for example, cannot be kept without a license. This license could include training for special movies and productions or scientific research. A hedgehog is also illegal due to the danger it is to native wildlife if it were it to escape. Finally, some animals you should not be bringing to California are monkeys, squirrels, and gerbils.

The term “exotic animals” refers specifically to the animals listed above. Other “exotic” animals such as parrots, house pigs, or tarantulas, are perfectly fine to keep in California. Make sure you’ve done the research before you get your ferret ready for the big move!

2. Reduce Stress for Pet Whenever Possible

Moving is stressful for your pet, just like it is for you. Make sure you are speaking kindly to your pet and giving them lots of scratches and snuggles (if that’s what your pet likes) to let them know that everything is okay. If your pet would rather be left alone, leave them with comforting things like blankets and toys.

The most stressful part of moving for your pet (besides all of the towering boxes surrounding them), is the drive across states or even just across cities. Unless your pet wants to sit on your lap or put their head out the window, the best thing to do is to let them sit quietly in a cage with a blanket over it so they can just sleep until the stressful move is over.

3. Make Sure You Have Adequate Pet Supplies

Make sure you have everything you need before you leave. This might include things like a cat tree, toys, a dog bed, hamster ball, or anything else. Don’t leave behind your pet’s favorite things! They will need the familiarity when adjusting to a brand new home. These things will also keep them busy while you are distracted moving and may not be able to give them all of the attention they are used to.

Some great things to have are toys that take your animal’s concentration away. Some good options to consider might be dog toys with treats trapped inside them or an automated mouse toy for your cat.

4. Be Sure Your Space is Contained

Just like you must baby-proof a house before a new baby comes in, you must animal-proof your new home for the animal. You may not have realized how naturally your home was dog-proofed before, now you have to be extra aware there isn’t anything your animal can destroy. In addition to this, make sure your backyard is fenced. If you have a dog or cat that will be out in the yard, make sure that the fence is high enough that no animal can jump in or out. If you have a pool, make sure it is netted or fenced off if your animal is not a strong swimmer.

5. Think About the Weather Change

L.A. is hot. It can reach temperatures of up to 110 degrees in the summer and it once hit a record-breaking 121 degrees in September 2020. If your animal is going to be outside, you need to keep this climate in mind. Make sure they have plenty of water, shade, cool grass, maybe even an ice pack when it gets especially hot.

Rabbits especially are prone to overheating. They need to be kept in well-ventilated cages and avoid direct sunlight. Indoor birds need their cages to be kept away from windows as the sun may beat down on them at certain times of the day and cause them to overheat very quickly. Keep dogs’ coats short so they are not wearing a winter coat in the blazing hot summers of California.

6. Assess the Needs of Housemates

If you are moving in with roommates, kids, or a partner, assess their allergies and other concerns they might have about living with animals. If you want to have a peaceful experience joining homes with someone, you need to make sure that all their needs are met.

Try asking questions like, “Does it bother you when the dog jumps up on the couch?” or “Where would you prefer that the cat litter box be so that it is out of the way?” If there are going to be small children around, be sure that your large dog isn’t going to topple them over or whack them with their tail.

7. L.A. is Pet Friendly

When moving to L.A., bring a leash and be prepared to socialize. Many people in Los Angeles are excited to meet your pup and talk to them (maybe even more than you)! You won’t have much trouble bringing your pet with you when you go out, as L.A. stores and restaurants are generally very tolerant of new furry friends as long as they are well behaved. If your pet is friendly, calm, and social, they will thrive in Los Angeles.

8. Animals Like to Mark Their Territory in New Places

Cats, in particular, feel the need to make their territory known when they venture into a new place. Be prepared to ease your animal into their new home by starting them off in a small closed-off room and then slowly increasing the space they are free to roam around in until eventually, they have access to the entire home.

If this method doesn’t go as planned, be prepared with cleaning supplies to clean up after them. It is important to watch your pet carefully during the first weeks in your new home because there may be accidents in hard-to-find places. You don’t want to be living in your new home always wondering where that smell is coming from.

9. You Never Know the Neighborhood Animals

Have your pet prepared with all of their rabies shots and other vaccinations as well as being spayed and neutered. There are probably local feral cats or dogs wandering around that aren’t used to your pet being around. You are not going to want a litter of kittens or puppies to handle right when you’re in the process of moving and unpacking! As was said above, make sure your fence is high and that your pet is safe from dangerous local animals.

10. California Has Wild Animals that May Attack at Night

Speaking of local domestic animals, there are also dangers of wild bobcats and coyotes in California. No matter if you are in the city or the woods, don’t leave your pet outside overnight. If your animal gets loose and is lost outside, find them as quickly as you can, rather than waiting for someone to call the number on their tag. By the time someone would have found them, it may be too late. Bobcats are stronger than you might think and will break through any loose wire or cages that aren’t entirely secure.

11. Account for New Neighbors

Your new neighborhood may not be an animal-loving one. Take this into account when bringing your pet to a new place. If you have a loud parrot or a smelly chicken coop, you may want to work extra hard to stay on good terms with your neighbors.

It’s no fun to have a neighbor that’s always getting after you about something, and threatening to get your pet taken away from you. Try to let down your pride and keep them happy in any way that you can. You’ll be better off this way.

12. Give Your Pet Enough Attention During the Move

It’s easy to get distracted with all the busyness of moving. But your animal deserves the best from you. Keep them safe, well-fed, and let them out often to go potty and stretch their legs during this hectic time. Your animal’s needs might be at the bottom of your priority list, but remember that their needs are always at the top of theirs, and they need comfort and affection during stressful times just like you do. They’ve come this far with you, so make sure you do all. you can to care for them.

13. Stay Safe When Dog Walking in New Areas

L.A. has a higher crime rate than many other cities. Get to know the area and speak with locals before venturing somewhere unfamiliar, especially at night. Be sure to bring pepper spray, a taser, or anything else to protect yourself and your pet. Dog walkers can be easy, vulnerable targets for someone looking to harm people on the streets. Don’t wear headphones with loud music blasting, look both ways before crossing the street, and try to get to know your community better by walking with friends!

With all of the tips you’ve just read, you should be feeling safe, prepared, and ready to start a smooth transfer to your new home. Good luck moving to L.A. with your pet!

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Paige Ramone

Hi, my name is Paige. An interesting fact about me is I am on a Women's field hockey team. I also love writing, but I do most of my writing after the kids are in bed.

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