They’re our loved ones. Soft, cuddly, scaly or hairy, from dogs and fish to spiders and lizards, they all need a smooth move. Whether you’re moving across the country or just to the other side of town, you’ll want to ensure that when moving with pets, your pets are able to make as comfortable a transition as possible. We’ve outlined some helpful hints to get both you and Rover to your new abode, safe and sound.
Before You Hit the Roadways or Airways…
Make a point to maintain your pet’s regular routine right up until the moment you leave. If they’re accustomed to a morning walk, make sure you take it. If it’s a bowl of their favorite food, make sure to serve it. And whether your travels are just a few hours or even several days, make sure to pack their regular food. A common mistake made by pet owners is to bring “special snacks” and treats as comfort food, but this often causes a disruption in diet and can lead to your pet’s nausea or diarrhea. The bottom line: go with what’s familiar and customary.
Additional Pre-Move Considerations
- Make sure that your pet’s medical records are up-to-date.
- Bring copies of the records with you.
- Purchase a sturdy, comfortable transport carrier if needed.
- If transporting by plane, try to book a direct flight.
Planes, Trains or Automobiles?
In planning to relocate your pet, you’ll first need to pick a means of transportation. Whenever possible, the form of transportation that’s least likely to upset your loved one(s) is a car (or truck). In many cases it’s just not possible, especially if it involves an overnight stay (although today, many hotels accept pets as their guests). But for cross-country, overseas or extremely long driving distances, you may want to consider bringing your pet with you on your flight, or using an animal transport service.
If You Drive
Cats should always be kept in a carrier during auto travel. With dogs, you have the option of using a restraining harness, available in most pet supply stores. Make sure to stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise and relieve itself (a good rule of thumb is to pull over every two hours). Cats can benefit from the use of a harness and a litter box on long trips. As always, never leave your pet unattended in a parked car and never travel with a pet in the cargo area of a moving truck or van. This is especially true during the hot summer months, when the temperature in your car can rise to 120 degrees.
If You Fly
Make your flight arrangements far in advance. Many airlines have restrictions on the total number of pets allowed onboard for any one flight. You may also be surprised to find that some airlines don’t allow pets at all. Expect to pay a $75 fee for your pets travel accommodations.
When you call the airline’s reservations number, find out any restrictions that may apply. Ask if you’ll be able to bring your pet onboard as a carry-on. This is highly preferable when compared against the alternative of checking your pet in the planes cargo hold.
Plan to visit your veterinarian within 30 days prior to your flight. Most airlines require an up-to-date health certificate. Different countries and states may also have their own requirements, so make sure to check in with the proper authorities before your trip.
Animal Transport Services
If all else fails, you may want to consider an animal transport service. The expense may be justified by the peace of mind that your pet will be with people who make their living transporting animals. But no matter how you’re traveling, these considerations will undoubtedly help to ensure that your pet will travel in as comfortable a fashion as he or she deserves.