Moving with pets takes a bit of pre-planning. The following tips on relocating with pets will help make the transition as stress-free as possible for those loved ones that have no idea what is happening to them. Moving from familiar territory and smells that they are comfortable with to an alien landscape can be terrifying, even for wild animals let alone domesticated pets.
Whether your pets are cats, dogs, birds, reptiles or even spiders, they can all take badly to a change of scenery. They live in a different world to ours, and while some of the more domestic creatures, such as cats and dogs, will react positively to your presence and reassurance, others will not.
It is not unknown for cats to go back to their old home, because that is the territory they regard as theirs. Dogs are less affected in this way, and relate more to you as a family that cats will. Here are some tips on moving with pets that will help the transition to proceed as smoothly as possible.
Prior to Moving With Pets
Before you actually leave, keep to your pet’s regular routine. Make this day like any other – right up to the time they have to leave. Keep them to their regular diet. Animals don’t appreciate ‘going away treats’ in the same way as your children would. In fact, they are more likely to puke up en-route if you feed them with anything they are not used to eating.
Unlike your children, your animals do not know they are moving. Relocating with pets is a different problem to children. Sure, both may be leaving their friends behind, but an animal’s home environment is more important than its family. When you read of cats or dogs finding their way back to their home after being lost on vacation, they are not returning to you. they are returning to their ‘neighborhood.’ To the part of the world they know and feel safe in.
Tips on Relocating With Pets
That’s the background of the effect of a geographical move to animals. Here is how to prepare for the move properly:
Get a strong pet box, cage or carrier that is large enough for your pet to move around in. When moving with pets, a lot depends on the method of transport. It is easier to travel with a pet by car than by plane. If you are flying, you are advised to have the trip arranged by an animal carrier. It is less stressful to animals if you take them with you on the flight, rather than travel long distances by road using an animal courier service.
If you are driving, the animal must be kept in a box or cage. A cardboard box is cruel, but whatever you use make sure there is plenty air available for the animal to breathe. Pets can become extremely distressed and hyperventilate when traveling long distances. A plastic or wire mesh cage is best. Your pet can see you or the kids. It can be petted to calm it, but is not recommended with excitable dogs.
Restraint With Frequent Stops
Dogs can be restrained by a lead on the back seat. While many dogs travel well in cars, it only takes one unrestrained movement to lead to a driver losing concentration or control. Keep this in mind when you have pets in cars.
Make sure you stop frequently. Bowels tend to loosen when animals are frightened or stressed. If this happens don’t blame your pet – the animal did not choose to move! Keep plenty paper towels handy – and air freshener. Take your cat’s litter box with you and also a cat harness -even if it purchased only for the move. The harness will give it a welcome walk out of the vehicle.
Never let your cat run free, believing it will stay with you. Cats are less obedient than dogs, and that might be the last you see of an upset cat! In fact, dogs can also be unpredictable during long car journeys, so keep them on a lead when you open the door at service stations. Birds and spiders will simply disappear!
Flying and Moving Home Out of State
If you are flying, check with the airline before buying your tickets. Some will not accept animals and charges made are variable. Make sure you know your airline’s policy, or you might have non-refundable tickets from a budget airline that does not carry animals!
If you are moving out of state or even abroad, make sure you know the regulations that apply. Some countries such as the UK insist on quarantine for up to 6 months, unless the animal has been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before travel, and also meets certain other veterinary requirements. Check with your veterinary surgeon before making travel arrangements.
The airline might also require a similar form of ‘pet passport.’ Different states have their own regulations for moving pets across the state line. In short, when moving with pets first make sure that your pet meets any specific health or vaccination regulations between states, countries or even with respect to the airline.
Relocating with pets is not always easy, but at a minimum try to keep your pet as free of stress as possible. If your journey is only a few hours your vet can sedate the animal, or even give you the drugs to do so yourself just prior to departure. This makes moving with pets much easier – for you and for your pet.