Should I tranquilize my pet prior to their move?

We here at ( come across a lot of different questions and comments that surround the pet relocation process. It is these questions, or what we like to call Myths, that has prompted me to post of few of our answers to these common Pet Moving Myths!

Myth #1: Pets should be tranquilized before shipping because it will be so traumatic.

Truth: Picture two children going to summer camp. The parents of one are happy and excited to see their child taking off on a wonderful new adventure. The parents of the other are fussing and fidgeting, just certain that their child will not like it and reassuring him/her that they can call to come home whenever they want. Which child is going to have fun? Which one will see camp as the adventure?

When clients ask if they should get tranquilizers from their veterinarian we simply respond, "If you have tranquilizers and feel you need them, you should take them, but don't give them to your pet!" The truth is, of the "horror stories" you hear, the majority can be directly attributed to the use of tranquilizers.

If we could shout just one thing from the rooftop of every airport to be heard by pet owners all over the world, it would be "Don't tranquilize your pet! In fact, most professional pet shippers will refuse to handle a shipment should the owner demand that their pet be given tranquilizers. Why?


- Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which makes it hard for a pet to cope with the changes in altitude and temperature. This is particularly true in "pug nosed" breeds.

- Aircraft are pressurized to an altitude of 8,000 feet or higher. No studies have been done to determine the effect of tranquilizers at such high altitudes.

- A pet may react differently to the same drug, in the same dose, depending on its state of excitement.

- Pets are more resilient and adaptable than most people give them credit for, and when properly handled, are no more traumatized by traveling by air than by taking a ride in a car.

A pet that has been acclimated to an airline carrier or "crate" will have little concern when flying. The greatest fear for a pet that has not been trained to accept the enclosure as his special place is the fear of the confinement itself. By simply feeding and sleeping the pet in its crate for a week or so before the trip, you will make the trip much more enjoyable.

What it all comes down to is this: Thousands of animals are shipped by air every year, but the only ones you hear about are the ones that went wrong - for whatever reason. The truth is, horror sells! Traveling by air is just as safe for your pet as it is for you. Is that to say nothing can happen? No, that's unrealistic. But a healthy pet, traveling on a well-planned itinerary, is as safe as walking with you in the park.

So what's the trick? Use a professional. You don't expect the same results from a "home perm" that you'd get from one that's professionally done, would you? Would you expect to frame a house, lay a brick wall or build a bridge if you weren't trained for that task? Of course not. Shipping regulations can be complex, especially when traveling overseas. Airline ticket agents are trained to sell tickets, not ship pets.

Feel free to visit our website to learn more about us and how we, as professionals, will work on moving your pets.


PetRelocation Team




Back to top