Arranging pet transport logistics can feel overwhelming no matter what kind of pet you have, but moving with older dogs can be especially stressful.
The good news is that this process is possible to carry out safely with the right preparation and attention to detail. We’ve helped many older pets move (some multiple times), and based on years of experience our experts have put together the following tips to help you move your senior dog safely.
Special Considerations for Moving Senior Dogs
Note: Every pet move is a little different. Let these tips serve as a guideline to planning your senior dog's upcoming move. If you need extra help, contact a PetRelocation specialist today! We're happy to help you and your older friend plan your move.
First and foremost, check in with your vet before planning to relocate your older dog. Requesting a geriatric exam to uncover any underlying issues and taking the time to ask questions are essential steps, as the information your trusted vet provides can be the key to helping your dog have a safe trip.
Senior dog, Stella, retired to Florida.
As with any pet relocation, it’s strongly advised to spend some time crate training your older dog in the months or weeks before your move. This is especially important if they’re not used to spending time in a crate. When dogs feel comfortable in their crate and see it as a safe space, they are likely to feel calmer during the trip.
You may need to take into account your older dog's breed when choosing a crate size. It may be advisable for certain breeds to go up a size in their travel crate. Talk with your relocation coordinator about the sizing of the crate. They may ask you to send pictures so that everyone is confident your older dog is flying in the right size crate.
Older dogs, Taters and Chubs, moved to Germany
Food and Water
Older pets often have more sensitive stomachs, so we recommend offering food mindfully (small amounts at least 2-3 hours before departure). Hydration is highly important for all pets, so be sure plenty of water is available before and after the flight and make sure water cups are securely affixed to the inside of the crate and filled at check-in.
Not all airlines offer the same level of care when it comes to transporting pets, so take the time to research your options and choose a carrier with an established pet safe program. Your PetRelocation specialist will advise you further on this matter to make sure your dog is always kept in a temperature-controlled environment, given water when needed, etc.
Senior pup, Parker, moved to Australia.
Setting an Example
Pets pick up on your emotions (especially older dogs who are probably strongly bonded to you), so for their sake, do your best to stay calm and positive during your move. We know it’s easier said than done, but exercise, deep breathing, and discussing any concerns you have with your Relocation Specialist can all help.