If you’re moving house, you’re probably really stressed out. But you’re not alone. Your pet will be too! Pets quickly pick up on our moods and emotions and if you’re anxious, they will be as well. One way to stay calm—so your furry friend does too — is to prepare well in advance so you feel in control of the process. To help you have a stress-free move with your pet, we’re sharing some things we learned when we moved with our precious furballs:
Put together a schedule
This will help make sure you don’t miss anything important! List all the things you need to do and as you gradually work through the list, add action items with deadlines.
Visit your vet
Early on, schedule a visit with your vet to make sure your pet is up-to-date with his vaccines, especially rabies. Also get copies of his vaccination certificates and health records. If he’s on any medications, get a prescription so you can stock up before you move.
If your new home is in another state, you may need a health certificate certified by a federally-credited veterinarian. If you’re going overseas, talk with your vet about the pet import regulations in the country you’re traveling to. Some rabies-free countries such as Australia have very strict quarantine laws, while countries in the EU require a pet passport.
If you’re flying
We’ve flown with our pets domestically and internationally and always do thorough research to find an airline with a good safety record for transporting animals. Once you find one, call the airline to ask about their pet policies. Can your pet travel in the cabin together with you – usually only small cats and dogs are permitted – or will she need to fly as checked baggage or cargo? What are their pet travel carrier or container regulations (they vary by airline)? What paperwork do they need? This useful website lets you check out over 160 airlines to find out more about their pet policies.
Also be aware that airlines usually allow a limited number of animals on any flight. If this means switching days so you can travel on the same flight with your pet, we highly recommend you do this. And try to book a flight with no stopovers.
In some cases, especially if you’re moving overseas, it may be easier to hire a pet transportation company to handle your pet’s move. They’ll handle a lot of the stressful stuff for you: book your pet’s flight, advise you on the shots and paperwork needed (and check to make sure it’s accurate), pick up and transport your pet to the airport, and pick up your pet at the other end and deliver her to her new home.
If you’re going by car or van
In many ways, traveling by car to your new home is much like taking your pet on vacation with you. If it’s a long drive and you’ll be stopping overnight on the way, find a pet-friendly hotel. The Best Western hotel chain, for instance, has pet-friendly hotels across the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. You can find out more here.
You’ll also need to assemble a doggie or kitty travel bag. You can download a useful packing list for dogs here. You’ll see we have dog treats on the list and a new one to try is Buffalo Range All Natural Buffalo Rawhide Treats, which are made with just four natural ingredients. These tasty, healthy, and long-lasting rawhide chews will keep your dog busy and entertained while you’re on the road.
Use the same checklist if you have a cat, but add litter and a small litter box. We recommend using an extra large, very sturdy carrier to transport your cat, one that has enough space to hold the litter box and your kitty.
In part two of this series about moving with your pets, we’ll talk about how to handle the big move day – and how to keep your pets safe once you arrive at your new home.