Seaborne Freight and Logistics

10 Steps to Prepare Your Pet for a Move


Moving can be exciting, especially if you’re moving far away, perhaps even to a foreign land. But preparing to move is a big chore. All that list-making, and packing. The chaos. You have to psych yourself up for it.

Pets are affected psychologically by the moving process, too. They see changes and feel your stress. They may become anxious and wonder if they’re losing their place in your life. Cats, especially, aren’t keen on change. Cats and dogs often respond to the perceived loss of control by acting out. They can go into hiding, become clingy, or take up unwanted behaviors such as “forgetting” their house training.

This is a time that calls for a lot of patience and understanding. Looking at the situation from your pet’s point of view will help you prepare them to move. These 10 steps will help, too.

1 – Flight arrangements

While making plane reservations for yourself may not be difficult, a lot more factors come into play when pets are traveling. The easiest and most fail-safe solution is to have a professional pet transport company handle your pet’s travel arrangements. With everything else you have to juggle during a move, knowing your dog or cat is in the best possible hands will give you priceless peace of mind.

2 – Paperwork

Make it a priority to find out what documents and health requirements your pet will need. Depending on where you’re headed, it may take several weeks or months to pull it all together. Every country has its own set of pet import requirements. You will have to comply exactly or risk your pet being denied entry. So once you know what you need, schedule a trip to your veterinarian to get the process started. Your pet may need additional tests, vaccinations, etc., and an accredited vet will have to sign the final paperwork.

3 – Medical history

Request a full set of your pet’s medical records so you can provide a history to your new vet in your new destination.

4 – Medications & special food 

Does your dog or cat take medications or require a special diet? Make sure you have a supply that will last until you arrive at your new home. Be sure to contact a local vet so you can find the same or similar products in your new location.  

5 – Know the local rules

Research pet ownership laws and etiquette in your new location, so you’ll be prepared to blend right in and make new human and four-legged friends right away.

6 – Maintain a routine

Despite the fact that you’re busy with moving preparations, do everything you can to maintain your pet’s regular daily routine. That includes feeding and walk times as well as the location of his food and water bowls and sleeping spot.

7 – Make a safe space

Separate your pet from the biggest chaos of all – the arrival of the movers. Clear out a room they can have to themselves, or take your dog to daycare. Your pet can skip the stress, and they won’t be underfoot where they might get hurt or escape.

8 – Familiar items

As you’re packing up your pet’s belongings, hold back a favorite toy or two till the last minute. That way, they will have the consistent reassurance of something familiar. Consider packing those favorite toys in your carry-on bag, if your pet will be flying on board with you to your new destination. Or pack the toys in your luggage if your pet is traveling as cargo. Either way, your pet will be reunited with something familiar to them as soon as you arrive at your new home. 

9 – Travel kennel acclimation

Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to prepare your pet for a move is to acclimate them to the travel carrier. Your dog may already be crate-trained, but your cat may associate the kennel with trips to the vet. Regardless, an IATA-compliant travel kennel is very different from an at-home crate. These kennels have to meet strict requirements for pet safety. And you have to buy the proper size crate for your pet. Purchase the kennel as soon as possible, so your pet has plenty of time to get familiar with it. The more comfortable your pet is is, the calmer they will be on their journey to your new home. Leave the carrier out in the open, with the door open. Put toys and treats in it, so your pet will associate going inside with good things. Encourage them to play or sleep in the carrier, lining it with a small blanket or pad that smells like home.  

10 – Quality time

Finally, spend as much time with your pet as possible – playing or hanging out on the couch ­­– so they know you still love them. With more “together time,” you’ll both be better prepared for your move.

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