I have to admit it. I overlooked the matter the first time I moved. Trigger is my wife’s collie and preferred to stay out the way while we packed our boxes and wrapped our crystal wine glasses. Then, on the eve of moving day, the question reared its head for the first time: “How are we moving the dog?”
As you can imagine, moving with pets can add a wrinkle to your moving plans. But while we all become consumed with the usual chores of wrapping and packing our possessions, and organizing a workable moving schedule, a similar level of preparation is needed to transfer a pet from its familiar surrounds to a new home. And this is not as simple as it sounds.
To be fair, it’s easy to understand why you might overlook your pet during the planning process. After all, you probably consider your pet a member of the family rather than another item to pack away, so we tend to assume the dog, or cat, or rabbit or hamster is coming with every other member. But there are specific considerations to be made when moving with pets.
The Core Issues When Moving With Pets
Pets don’t like change. In fact, almost every kind of animal has a fear of new surroundings, causing them anxiety. For this reason alone, taking a proactive approach and properly preparing your pet for the move is important. Here are some of the core issues that you should address.
- You Need Paperwork – This is particularly important when your residential move takes you to a new state or to a new country. Of course, you should always have your pet’s license, medical records and any other documents in proper order anyway. But check them and be sure to update them before the move. If your dog is due for a rabies shot, get it done. And don’t forget to check the specific legal issues for the state, territory or country you are moving to. Overseas moves will require a Pet Passport for the animal, and there are set immigration laws when bringing animals into the US.
- Purchase a Suitable Carrier – It makes sense when traveling long distances by public transport (train or plane) to put your dog, cat or other small animal into a pet carrier. But there is sometimes a temptation to ignore such things when traveling in your family car. That could be a big mistake, with animals often getting restless and distressed during long journeys. The distraction they might cause if free to move around your vehicle could be dangerous. So I recommend always placing your pet in a suitably sized carrier.Pet carriers must be large enough for the animal to comfortably lie down, turn around and stand in its natural position. Of course, our collie Trigger was a bit big for a carrier in our car. But because my wife sat in the back seat with him, holding him closely by the leash and paying plenty of attention, he was always at ease – which was nice.
- Prepare Your Pet – When moving with pets, it’s a good idea to prepare them for the ordeal by giving them a bit of practice. Generally speaking, if an animal is not used to travelling in an automobile, then they are likely to get very distressed. So, in the run up to your move, put your cat, puppy or hamster in its carrier and drive them around. You can pair it with family days to the local park, or to the mountains or local forests, but the important thing is that you show your pet that everything is okay.If your pet is to travel by plane or train, then consider that they will be stuck in their carrier for several hours from departure to arrival, with the carrier picked up and moved around by strangers. So, try to make their carrier homey, with their favourite toys and matted with their favourite blanket or pillow to keep them as comfortable as possible.
- Show Them Love – Sometimes making a long journey in good time is the priority. In such cases, we can keep our stops to a minimum – but spare a thought for the animal you are bringing with you. Bring some food and water especially for them, and make regular stops where they can get out and stretch their legs. The recommended frequency is once every 2 hours or so.If you are sending your pet via train or an airline, chances are they will be traveling as cargo (though small animals may be permitted to travel with you). Make sure your pet is properly fed and watered before departure and attach a small, accessible water-bottle so your pet can drink when necessary.
- Hire Professional Pet Movers – Finally, you may want to take the hassle out of the whole situation and hire professionals to move your pet for you. This can cost a bit but the investment is worth it if for nothing more than the peace of mind that you’ll have. Check out Worldwide Animal Travel for more details on their services.
Happily, our move across Toronto (Wexford to Swansea) was short enough to ensure Trigger could live with the car ride. But longer distances and other pets can be considerably stressed by the event, so take care to plan and prepare for their sake. That way, the whole family will really enjoy the move.
For more information, we found PetTravel.com to have some of the best resources for traveling with pets, including:
About Viktoria Professional Movers Toronto
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