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10 Steps to Prepare Your Pet for a Move

Published on: February 22, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

How to 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 – are they losing their place in your life? Cats, especially, aren’t keen on change. Cats and dogs often respond to perceived loss of control by acting out. They can go into hiding, or become clingy, or take up unwanted behaviors such as “forgetting” their house-training.

This is a time that calls for maximum patience and understanding. Looking at the situation from your pet’s point of view will help you prepare him 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 a priceless peace of mind.


  1. Make it a priority to find out what health-related documentation your pet will need. Depending on where you’re headed, it may take several weeks to pull it all together. If you’re moving within the UK or from one US state to another, a copy of their current rabies certificate should suffice. However, if you’re moving out of the country, the documentation picture changes dramatically. From the UK, your pet will need an up-to-date Pet Scheme Passport. From the US, your pet will need USDA Form 7001 – an international health certificate.

    But that’s just the beginning. Every country has their own set of pet importation 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 your vet will have to sign the final paperwork.


  1. Request a full set of your pet’s medical records, to give their new vet.


  1. Does your pup or kitty take special medications? Make sure you have a supply that will last until you arrive at your new home.  


  1. 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. Identify a new vet, if possible.


  1. 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.


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


  1. As you’re packing up your pet’s belongings, hold back a favorite toy or two till the last minute. That way, he 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 dog is traveling as cargo. Either way, your pet will be reunited with his “fave” as soon as you arrive at your new home. Again, something familiar helps counter all the changes.


  1. Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to prepare your pet for a move is to help him adapt to his travel carrier. Your dog may already be crate-trained, but your kitty may associate his carrier with trips to the vet. Regardless, an airline-approved travel kennel is very different from an at-home crate. These kennels have to meet stringent guidelines for strength and safety. And you have to buy the right size crate for your pet.

    Purchase the kennel as soon as possible, so your pet has maximum time to make friends with it. The more comfortable he is, the calmer he will be on his 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 him to play or sleep in the carrier, lining it with a small blanket or pad your pet recognizes.  


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

Flying with your pet