Moving is stressful for everyone in the family, including the pets. Animals are very intuitive when it comes to changes so pets often will need extra attention to reassure them during a move.
Regardless of how your pets will make the move – usually by car or airline – you will need to take time to prepare, just as you did when considering professional movers.
The first stop should be to your veterinarian, especially if your pet will be flying because airlines and most country’s require a signed health certificate. If you are moving to another country, check its requirements for the import of animals.
Even if your pet is travelling with you by car, it’s best to have them checked by your veterinarian. One reason is that your moving destination may have regional health risks that will require vaccination, such as heart worm in areas that have mosquitoes. It’s also recommended that you have a veterinarian implant an identification chip in your pet. If the pet is flying, many airlines require they have a chip.
If you decide it’s best to have your pets travel with you, here are some tips to help make the trip smoother:
- Get a copy of the pet’s health record from your veterinarian.
- Do not consider sedatives, especially if your pet will be flying.
- Apply for entry permit if required. If you’re moving internationally, you will need to check the individual country’s regulations.
- Get a travel identification tag. This is important even if your pet will travel with you. Remember, pets on the move will be confused and even scared and will not act normally and may bolt, especially cats. Information on the tag should include: Pet’s name, your name and full address/phone and full destination address and phone. Most states also require dogs and cats to have a rabies tag on their collars.
- Make sure to pack your pet’s necessities separately, just as you should for your people family. Pack water, food bowls, grooming equipment, litter, medication and a good supply of your pet’s regular food. Bring extra food in case you can’t easily find it at your new location. Changing a pet’s food suddenly can cause digestive problems.
If you are moving to your new home by car and taking your pets, you’ll need to be prepared and organised, especially if you’re experiencing a relocation or cross-country move.
Moving companies are not allowed to transport pets. When considering professional movers, you can ask if they work with or can recommend a pet transportation company. Pet movers handle everything from picking up your pet at home to delivering it to your new home or to a kennel. Most offer travel by airline or vehicle options.
When seeing your vet, make sure to get a copy of your pet’s health records.
Your vet will be able to tell you if your pet needs additional vaccinations depending on the area of the country to which you’re moving. If your pet does not travel well, you can also discuss a plan to make the trip more relaxing for your animal, which may include sedatives. Never use sedatives when moving your pet by air.
If you decide that your pets will travel with you by car, make sure to be well organised. Before the professional movers arrive, make sure to pack a pet travel kit. This should include:
- Your pet’s normal food. Changing a pet’s food can temporarily cause digestive problems and your pet may already experience stomach issues due to the stress of the move. Bring extra food in case the trip takes longer than expected.
- Food and water bowls.
- Litter and box for cats and scoop and elimination bags for dogs.
- Medications. Make sure to bring extra in case the trip takes longer than expected.
- Bring pet’s health certificate, proof of current rabies vaccination and any other vaccinations required in the area to which you are moving.
- Toys and pet’s favourite blanket to make them feel more secure.
- Grooming supplies.
- ID tags with your new address and phone and at least one other number, such as a cell phone.
- Bring a jug for drinking water.
- Carry a current photo of your pet in case it gets lost. It will make it much easier to find with a photo.
What are the specific age and kennel requirements?
Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been weaned before travelling by air. Kennels must meet minimum standards for size, strength, sanitation and ventilation.
Size and Strength
Kennels must be enclosed and allow room for the animal to stand, sit and lie in a natural position. They must be easy to open, strong enough to withstand the normal rigours of transportation and free of objects that could injure the animal.
Kennels must have a solid, leak proof floor that is covered with litter or absorbent lining. Wire or other ventilated sub-floors are generally allowed; pegboard flooring is prohibited. These requirements provide the maximum cleanliness for the animal to travel.
Kennels must be well ventilated with openings that make up at least 14 percent of the total wall space. At least one third of the openings must be located in the top half of the kennel. Kennels also must have rims to prevent ventilation openings from being blocked by other cargo. These rims—usually placed on the sides of the kennel—must provide at least three quarters of an inch clearance.
Grips and Markings
Kennels must have grips or handles for lifting to prevent cargo personnel from having to place their fingers inside the kennel and risk being bitten. Kennels also must be marked “live animals” or “wild animals” on the top and one side with directional arrows indicating proper position of the kennel. Lettering must be at least 1 inch high.
Animals per kennel
Each species must have its own kennel, with the exception of compatible cats and dogs of similar size. Maximum numbers include 2 puppies or kittens under 6 months old—20 pounds each and of similar size, 15 guinea pigs or rabbits and 50 hamsters. Airlines may have more restrictive requirements, such as allowing only one adult animal per kennel. Be sure to check with the airline you’re using.