Whether vacationing or relocating, traveling is one of the most stressful undertakings of your life. When you take a pet, it adds exponentially to your relocation jitters. As with anything, if you arm yourself with knowledge and organize your affairs well in advance, you will make pet transportation easy. Furthermore, you can eliminate most worries by hiring a professional for prep work and the move.
Questions to Answer
- Where are you going? Are you traveling within the United States, to Hawaii, or abroad?
- What kind of pet will you take?
- How will you go? Flying requires different paperwork and considerations than driving.
- Is your pet healthy?
- What tests do you need on your pets, and how long will the results take?
- Are specific vaccinations required, and within what time frame should they be administered?
Your main goal in traveling equipment is to keep your pet safe and secure during the move. Flights require carriers for pets even if you bring them into the passenger area. However, your pet will likely benefit from a crate even in the car. Fish travel best in secured plastic bags (short trips) or buckets. Reptiles and birds travel safest in plastic, either in the form of cat carriers (depending on the pet) or smaller transport containers sometimes lined with moist paper. Transporting your horse can be tricky unless you both are seasoned travelers. Hopefully, you have trained your equine friend to board and ride happily in a trailer if you will drive to your future destination. International and some cross-country treks require your horse to board a flight. Horses, like exotics, experience a lot of stress with change, and your travel plans must take this into account.
Plan Your Arrival
A lot of anxiety stems from the unknown. You can make your pet’s transportation easy not only by planning beforehand but also by organizing all the details of its arrival in the new location. Your pet needs time to acclimate to its surroundings. Some may benefit from remaining in their carriers for a few hours. If possible, you can dedicate a small space for your dog, cat, or ferret. Take time to familiarize yourself with the location before allowing your pet to disembark. At this point, you can select a space where your pet can unwind and another where it can find comfort with you. Quarantine periods are potentially extremely stressful for your pet as it may have to spend days without seeing you. Your paperwork should be easily accessible so you can present it as needed. Set up a space for your exotics (birds, fish, reptiles, or small mammals) and their habitats as soon as possible. They will take longer to adjust than your typical dog or cat. Fix up your horse’s stall immediately and locate the water, bathing center, and workout area.
Hire a Relocation Service
When you hire a reputable international pet transportation service, you save a lot of headaches and planning. Pet transport companies are knowledgeable about the needs of different species and the document requirements of various locations. Although you still must do much of the leg work involved in acquiring tests, inoculations, and exams, the relocation service provides you with checklists and equipment guidelines. Below are several samples of helpful tools from pet transportation companies:
- Quarantine requirements – location and length of time; some countries have a waitlist
- Vaccination requirements
- Banned species or breeds – animals that are not dogs or cats often prohibited in other countries; designated dangerous dogs
- Tests – some require six months; titers, antibodies
- Documents – health certificates (including Fit to Fly), veterinary exam, test results
- Appropriate carriers and other transport containers
Although moving is stressful for most pet owners, it does not have to be anxiety-filled and chaotic. How to make pet transportation easy boils down to a few important steps such as preparing well before your trip and having a plan in place when you land at your final destination. You can accomplish an easy pet transport on your own, or you can hire professional outfitters that will take upon themselves the organization and execution of your companion’s trip.