Moving With Pets
Nervous about moving your dog(s) and/or other pets? Don’t be! With a bit of research, it’s possible to safely transport animals across the country or even internationally. In fact, several animal-based organizations, pet moving companies and pet relocation services have done much of your homework for you.
Here are a few of the tips on moving pets culled from The American Humane Organization, The ASPCA and Trips with Pets, among other sources:
Before You Go
Tour the Town. When selecting your new home, be mindful of your animal’s needs. For example, if you are moving with dogs and have an older animal(s), consider whether/not a home with stairs makes sense. For more active pets, look for dog parks, trails or open space near your potential new home or apartment. And don’t forget to walk about the block, solo at first. Identify any dogs that might seem unfriendly and avoid them when taking your pet on its first stroll around the new neighborhood.
Check ID. Once you’ve selected a new residence, update your pet’s ID tags or microchip with your new address and phone number in advance of the move.
Read the Fine Print. ASPCA has a list of every state’s rules and agencies involved with moving animals. Check out the rules for your new home state before you go!
Visit the Vet. Secure a copy of your pet’s medical records, including a certificate of good health (required by many airlines to transport pets) from your vet. He/She may also have ideas on how to make the trip less stressful, including whether/not your animal friend should be sedated for travel. Your vet may even be able to recommend reputable pet moving services beyond the “we move pet” operations found online, or even a new vet in your new hometown.
Travel By Air? Read the Rules. The U.S. Department of Transportation has many restrictions about transporting dogs and other animals via airlines, and each airline has their own set of rules. For example, as noted above, many airlines require a certificate of good health from a vet before allowing animal transport. This can take time to obtain from your vet, so it’s a good idea to review all air travel rules weeks ahead of time. And for added security while separated from your pet, attach a recent picture of your pet, along with your name/address and contact information on the exterior of the animal carrier. Keep a copy of this information with you as well.
How to Move a Cat: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! Many animals – especially cats – aren’t fond of change. So it’s best to make the upcoming move part of their routine in advance of moving day. This is pretty easy to do. For starters, put some moving boxes around your home so your cat can becomes accustomed to them weeks before the move. As the date approaches, get your cat acclimated to their carrier crate (required by airlines and essential for car travel). Start by feeding the animal in the crate or giving it treats after crate time. The goal is for your feline friend to develop positive associations with the crate. Another tip for moving cats is to carry your pet in the crate around the house or in the car for a short trip to help them feel more comfortable in the confined space.
Pet Movers International. If you’re moving internationally or have an exotic animal, you may want to consider hiring a pet moving service. The pet relocation cost will vary based on the distance moved and type of animal transported, but sometimes it just pays to have the professionals take over. If you still want to remain in the know, The U.S. Department of Agriculture has guidelines on animal transport outside the U.S. Also, be sure to review animal/quarantine requirements of new home country prior to your journey.
When the moving vans arrive, secure your pet in one room or take them elsewhere for the day. Be sure to alert the movers as to the animal’s location so they don’t inadvertently let the pet escape while your furnishings and other items are packed and put on the truck.
New Pet In Town? Take It Slow. Once in your new residence, keep your cat or dog confined to a small area or single room, if possible. Gradually give it access to more rooms or areas of your new home. This will help minimize their insecurities with the new environment.