Pets, just like human family members, feel the stress of relocating. Moving can be traumatic if you’re Selling, Buying or doing a For Sale By Owner [FSBO] move. This is especially traumatic for household pets since most, or all of their lives are limited to the indoor setting of our homes.
Regulations prevent moving vans from transporting live animals, and none of the major bus lines accept pets. So your pet will have to be moved by train, plane or the family car. There are some companies that specialize in transporting pets.
Moving pets from one province to another in Canada is generally not governed by any known regulations. However, moving abroad is a different matter. Quarantine, requests for shot records and other restrictions can arise, so check the rules of your destination country carefully before planning your move.
If you and your pet are getting ready to move, here are some tips to keep your companion safe.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
If you plan on moving by train, check with the rail line to determine what regulations apply and what arrangements you may need to make prior to booking your tickets.
Airlines accept most species of pets for transportation. In most cases, smaller pets can board with you; however, larger pets may be required to fly as Cargo. Proper pet carriers are required for both scenarios. Contact your airline for details and restrictions.
Most moves are reachable by car. If your pet is not used to car rides, you may consider taking your pet on several short trips prior to the move. Some animals will be best transported in a carrier, while others will find their own spot to curl up for the trip. Keep in mind that your pet should be away from the driver at all times… safety first!
Pet Moving Tips
1. Plan Ahead.
By planning ahead, most For Sale by Owners [FSBOs] can eliminate a great deal of stress for you and your pet. Try to maintain your pet’s normal routine and only pre-pack what you need to. Keep a variety of your pets belongings unpacked until the day of the move; this will help with your pet’s sense of security in a quickly changing atmosphere.
2. Purchase A New ID Tag.
Make certain that your household pet is wearing proper identification and any required license.
As soon as you know your new address, get your pet an ID tag stating the new address and telephone number, even if it’s a close move. If you have an outdoor pet, you want to minimize the risk that they’ll get lost (or not be found!) in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
If you have not had time to acquire new tags, consider attaching a note or identification band to your pet’s collar. Remember, accurate information is your best bet for the safe return of a lost pet.
3. Ask Your Veterinarian.
…for a copy of your pet’s history, and be sure all shots are up to date. Obtain a rabies vaccination certificate signed by your vet (some provinces require this).
Consult your vet if your pet has never traveled before, or does not travel well. He or she may be able to offer advice or medications to lessen the pet’s stress or motion sickness.
4. Invest In A Pet Carrier.
A high-quality pet carrier for your dog or cat can keep them safely confined on moving day, which will be nice for the owners. As mentioned, carriers are always required for train or plane travel. If you can, acquire the pet carrier prior to moving, and allow your pet to get used to it by feeding it treats in there and letting them spend some time sleeping in it.
5. Moving Day Escapes.
Prevent your nervous pet from running off on moving day by securing them in the pet carrier. Doors opening and closing, people moving in and out, and total confusion can increase the stress level in your pet causing them to act out, misbehave, or even run away! Save yourself and your pet the unnecessary stress of an escape… and use the carrier.
6. Pet-Friendly Hotels.
Research hotels that accept pets in advance. Having a list of animal-friendly hotels along the way, will help you find overnight lodging during the long haul to your new home.
7. Travel Safely.
Dogs – If you’re travelling by car, a dog carrier may not be an option; you may want to have your dog be accustomed to a restraining harness. This prevents him from unexpected moves like jumping out, as well as ensuring that he is not obstructing the driver at any time.
Cats – Most cats are not comfortable travelers. It’s best for all involved to contain the cat in a carrier or well-ventilated box.
Smaller Animals – Hamsters, birds, mice and guinea pigs are best transported in their own cages. Make sure they have their food and water.
Fish– There is no good way to transport fish… Move the aquarium dry. For short trips, put the fish in plastic bags and keep them out of the heat and sun.
8. Never Leave Pets.
Never leave your pets unattended. The temperature of a non-moving vehicle parked in the sun can escalate quickly, causing injury or even death. Remember, if you have your windows lowered in order for your pet to have ventilation, you are also leaving your vehicle and possessions vulnerable to vandalism and theft.
Never put your animal in the trunk of a car. Many people leave their dogs in the open bed of a pickup truck, thinking that they are being kind to the animal. However, you are also leaving your pet open to abuse, teasing and even theft. Keep your pets with you. There is less chance of them being lost, stolen, or dangerously dehydrated.