Moving in a Rush? Here's How to Plan Your Pet's Safe Relocation
Sometimes life throws a big surprise your way and you find yourself needing to relocate with very little warning. Moving is stressful enough as it is, and if you're short on time and have a pet to bring along too, this can be a particularly challenging life event to navigate.
That doesn't mean it's impossible to carry out a smooth and safe relocation, though! Here are a few things you can do to make life easier during this rushed and hectic time.
As soon as you know you're moving, determine the pet travel requirements you'll need to follow.
Measure your pet and purchase the correct airline-approved pet travel crate so that they'll have as much time to get used to it as possible.
Contact a professional pet travel service provider to help you—when stress levels are high and time is short, it's better to leave the details to someone whose job it is to ensure pets travel safely.
This one's challenging but so important: try to stay calm! Pets pick up on their owners' anxiety, so if you can maintain a regular schedule of diet and exercise, breathe deeply, and generally set a positive example for your pet to follow, everyone will feel much better about this transition.
Once you start to find your way towards a viable move plan, go back to basics and follow these handy tips for all pet travelers:
Help your pet get plenty exercise before the flight—tired pets make better travelers.
Don't feed your pet right before a flight (even if it's a long one). Give them a meal at least 2-3 hours beforehand so that they'll have time to digest their food and avoid having an upset stomach.
Give them plenty of water, though, and make it available during the flight by filling the water cups that will attach to their kennel and freezing them the night before the trip (the water will slowly melt and last a bit longer).
Be flexible and have a back-up plan. Travel doesn't always go as planned (for pets or for humans), so know what you'll do if a flight is canceled or delayed or if something else unexpected arises.
Be Aware of Potential Complicating Factors
Sometimes, no matter how fast you'd like to move and how much you're willing to pay to expedite the situation, you simply won't be able to go within a certain timeline. Example: If you're moving somewhere classified as “rabies-free” (like Australia) and you haven't taken the appropriate beginning steps (having your pet microchipped and given the first of two rabies shots that may be needed), your pet may need to stay with a friend or board for a few days if your own move can't be delayed.
Also, when you're in a hurry it's easier to make mistakes. Showing up at the airport with missing paperwork or the wrong travel crate will cost time and money and add extra stress, so avoid problems by hiring expert assistance and/or proceeding very carefully on your own.
Moving Soon But Aren't Sure Where or When?
Follow these tips so that you'll be as ready as possible whenever you get the call that it's time to relocate:
Keep pets up to date on all vaccines—most importantly rabies. Across the board, pets need to have current rabies vaccinations in order to gain entry into a new country.
Have your travel crate or be ready to get it as soon as possible so that your pet has time to get used to it. Crate acclimation is one of the best ways to help your pet have a smooth trip—we can't stress this enough!
Keep your pet as healthy as possible and maintain a dialogue with your vet about your possible future travels.
Contact a pet travel consultant for a preliminary move discussion (or decide exactly who you'll reach out to when the time comes).
How Long Does it Really Take to Plan a Pet Move?
The answer varies, but in general domestic moves can be put together in as little as a few days while international moves often need 30 days or more (but not always). If you're going to a rabies-free country like Australia or New Zealand even more time is needed, but the wait might not be too long if you've already started your pet's vaccines in the right order.
In summary, pet moves can often be easier than you think, but it's best to prepare yourself through education, crate acclimation, and by seeking the help of experts if you can.