Moving is stressful for everyone involved—especially your pet. Since your furry friend doesn’t understand your relocation and is a creature of habit, this sudden disruption to his or her routine will be unsettling. Making sure your beloved pet is properly prepared for the move is the first step to guarantee the transition is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Pack their belongings
While packing must be done in advance to stay organised and prevent rush-packing the last few days before your move, your pet’s items should be among the last you pack to keep disruptions to your pet’s routine to a minimum. Before packing your pet’s items, make sure they are thoroughly clean and dry. Wash food dishes, vacuum pet hair and dander from bedding, and wipe off chew toys. This will eliminate the growth of mold or mildew and reduce odours during travel.
When downsizing before a move, you may be tempted to throw away your pet’s belongings and start over fresh in your new home. However, unless his items are significantly worn out and dirty, right before a move is a bad time to make changes. Your pet will be surrounded by unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds in your new home—the familiar scent of his favourite blanket or toy will be comforting in a place that’s otherwise foreign and frightening.
Prepare the carrier
When choosing a carrier, it’s imperative that you select a container large enough to comfortably accommodate your pet. She will be confined to the carrier for potentially long periods and should be able to easily stand up, turn around, and lay down. The crate should also be strong and sturdy so your pet cannot get loose during the trip—especially if you are travelling by plane. Flimsy cardboard carriers may be chewed through or easily escaped, depending on the size and breed of your pet.
Make sure the carrier is well-ventilated on all sides to allow him to breathe easily during the trip—especially during air travel. When flying to your destination, clearly label the carrier with all pertinent information in the unfortunate event that she becomes misplaced. The label should contain your full name, address, phone number, and your pet’s name and breed.
To keep your pet cozy and secure, fill the carrier with familiar comforts. A favourite blanket, pillow, and toys will surround your pet with soothing scents. A water bottle is also a good idea for long trips. You may also want to line with crate with absorbent material in case your pet has an accident.
Make airline arrangements
If you are planning to fly with your pet, contact the airline in advance to ask about the regulations when travelling with an animal. Some airlines limit the breed or size of pet you may take on the plane. Others permit pets of certain sizes to travel in the cabin with you, while others must be checked as baggage and travel in the cargo area. Make sure you have all the necessary information and are well aware of all travel options so you can make the best decision for your pet’s needs.
When boarding a plane with an animal, you will often need certain documents to prove your pet is healthy and able to fly. You may need a health certificate from your veterinarian or proof your pet is up-to-date on all required inoculations. Call your airline in advance to find out what paperwork is necessary for your trip.
Visit the vet
No matter your mode of travel, A quick check-up at the vet will also confirm your pet is healthy and in good condition for the trip, as well as ensure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. If he gets loose during the move and is exposed to any illnesses, it’s important he is immunized. Your pet may also be prohibited from air travel without his required shots.
If your pet is suffering from any illnesses, you may have to delay the move until treatment can be completed. Additionally, some animals may be more susceptible to ailments when flying, particularly certain breeds with breathing difficulties—Persian cats, bulldogs, pugs and Shi Tzus included. If your pet is on any medications, make sure to have any necessary prescriptions filled so you have an adequate supply for your trip, plus extra in case of any emergency.
Make sure he or she has proper identification
Check your pet’s collar to make sure it is securely fastened on her neck. ID tags should contain all pertinent information, including your pet’s name, your full name, address and phone number. If you own a strictly-indoor cat that doesn’t wear a collar, consider purchasing one for the trip in case she gets loose. You may want to try and get your cat used to the collar several weeks in advance—however, if it proves too stressful, it’s better to leave it off and allow her to be comfortable during the move.
A more reliable method of identifying your pet, microchipping is affordable, easy and relatively painless. A chip the size of a grain of rice containing all your information is inserted into the flesh between your pet’s shoulder blades with a needle. If your pet becomes lost and recovered, he can be scanned to reveal your information, making his return easy. Plus, unlike a collar, a microchip cannot be removed. If you are moving to a new country, micro chipping is often required—make sure to contact your country’s consulate for more information.
Keep a recent photo of your pet on your person—either a physical photo in your wallet or a digital one on your phone—to show people in the area if she becomes lost. If you’re travelling by plane, tape a photo of your pet to her crate. This will help flight attendants locate your pet in case of escape.
Image courtesy of: Tuelekza (Freedigitalphotos.net)