Moves are stressful for everyone — including the family pet. Pets can sense stress and a change in routine can be difficult for them. If possible, keep your pets in a quiet, secure area while movers pack up or unload your belongings. Movers will have your door open while they move boxes and furniture, and a pet may slip out the door undetected. Make sure you keep a collar with an ID tag on your pet at all times. Ensure the tag has your current phone number on it. It is also a good idea to microchip your pets. Remember to keep the microchip’s contact information up-to-date. If your pet escapes during any part of your move, you want the animal shelter that scans the chip to be able to contact you.
In Florida your pet faces many new outside dangers, among them the Bufo toad, one of the state’s largest amphibians, which can grow up to 9 inches long and weigh up to 2 pounds. When threatened they secrete a milky toxin that can kill cats and dogs if they ingest the poison. Talk to your vet about parasites, such as heartworms, that may be unfamiliar. Four species of venomous snakes — rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, coral snakes and copperheads — pose another danger, so keep your dog on a short leash in wooded areas, especially if it starts sniffing or pawing the ground. Alligators pose the biggest threat. They live wherever there is water, so avoid allowing your dog to walk around or swim in unknown waters.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Wild animal issues 888-404-3922
Alligator nuisance 866-392-4286
The FWC manages and ensures the long-term well-being of fish and wildlife, particularly since humans continue to encroach on wildlife habitats. The website offers tips about living with many of the 575 species across the state.
Hillsborough County Animal Services
440 N. Falkenburg Road
Tampa, FL 33619 813-744-5660
Hillsborough County Animal Services provides a variety of services, including low-cost spay and neuter vouchers; investigation of animal neglect and cruelty; enforcement of county and state animal ordinances and laws; removal of animal remains; and issuance of rabies registration tags. For more information on the county’s animal shelter and pet adoption, visit the Hillsborough County Animal Services’ website.
Pinellas County Animal Services
12450 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774 727-582-2600
Pinellas County Animal Services provides care for pets at its adoption facility. Other services include animal control, spay and neuter programs, and enforcement of animal ordinances and laws.
Veterinary services in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater are plentiful; see the Military Buyer’s Guide to connect with local providers. Or in Hillsborough County, a place to start looking is the Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society at www.hcvms.org. Another source for connecting with a veterinarian is the Florida Veterinary Medical Association website www.fvma.org.
Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots’ vision is to end animal homelessness in the United States while giving our military veterans and their families the greatest “thank you” of all: the extraordinary love of a companion pet. It makes this happen through its nationwide shelter and veterinary networks, military and veteran organizations, and a public that values the lives of both the vulnerable and heroic among us.
To learn more about adopting a pet, visit https://www.petsforpatriots.org/adopt-a-pet/how-it-works/.