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Moving with Pets Overseas: Everything You Need to Know

Posted Moving Tips / July 11, 2018

Since animals can’t comprehend the relocation process, moving with pets can be very stressful for you and for them. Furthermore, they are attached to their known environment and can react badly to any change. And when relocating overseas, things get even more complicated. Your beloved animal will have to endure a long flight and, just like yourself, learn how to live in another country.

Moving With Pets to Your New Home 

Dogs, especially young ones and old ones, need to get out more frequently, so an apartment building might not be a suitable option. In that case, opt for a house with a garden. Cats are less demanding as they mostly stay indoors, but they will need enough indoor space for all their activities. 

Now comes the difficult part – moving across the world. Pets are mostly transported in carriers, so if they are not used to them, you have to train them in advance. You can do that by placing their food inside and after a while, close the carrier door. Then, you can start putting their toys and treats in the carrier as well. 

If moving abroad by sea, keep the carrier with toys near you during the trip and give your dog treats and water at the usual time. That is, of course, if you have access to the animal during the trip. 

If you are moving by air, which is the more common method of traveling overseas, you can carry smaller animals in carriers with you in the cabin while service dogs can even sit with you. However, larger ones need to go in the cargo section. Remember to clearly label the container your pet is traveling in with its name. You can write down other useful information such as LIVE ANIMAL and THIS SIDE UP, just to be safe.

And you must inform yourself on time about the health and vaccination requirements in the country you are going to. Also, get familiar with other legal procedures and important documents needed to travel abroad.

Good Methods of Moving with Your Pet

Packing to move can be chaotic, so try to have your friends take care of your pets or keep them away from all the action, as they can get upset with all the fuss. Choose a quiet room, place their toys and water, and occasionally check how they are doing.Once you arrive at your new home, keep your cat or dog secluded for as long as you can and try to move the house items in advance, so your pet can come into a familiar setting. Walk it slowly through the new home, introducing one section of the new home at a time.

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Book Your Moving Services for the Morning

It is advisable to book a direct flight when traveling with your pet. Also, weekends are crowded, so try to avoid them. It is very important to verify in advance that your airline allows the transport of animals, and if it does, how many are allowed on a flight. Remember to bring the animal to freight loading a few hours before the departure to avoid any inconveniences.

If you are transporting your pet during a warm season, choose morning rather than a hot part of the day. Heat exhaustion is a real threat. Feed it a light meal five to six hours before the departure.

Pet Essentials You Need to Have at Hand

Your animal also needs its overnight kit for the first few days upon arrival. Put some favorite dog or cat food, water from back home (as it differs by chemical composition in different places and pets are sensitive to that, too), kitty litter for cats, toys and basic grooming tools. And don’t forget the first aid kit.

Don’t Make a Mistake

If you have a connecting flight with more than 8 hours of waiting time, check if the accommodation you have booked is pet-friendly. Check the room for open windows before letting the pet out of the carrier. And don’t forget to feed your animal regularly. 

Before you let your pet roam around your new place, secure electrical cords and plugs and install secure screens on windows. Also, take the time to make sure that there are no pest traps or poison residues left.

Get in Touch with Your Vet

Have your pet checked by its vet and ask about the required vaccinations for that particular country to avoid health risks. If your pet does not have an identification chip, your vet should implant it, particularly if it is transported by air. Also, a signed health certificate will be required in most countries. Your vet can also give you prescription medications you might need and even recommend a colleague in your new location.

How to Deal with Dogs?

Dogs adapt to the new environment easier than cats because the most important thing for them is to be close to you. However, moving with dogs might be problematic and you should introduce them slowly to the new home, room by room, first with a leash. Upon arrival, take some time to walk your dog in the new neighborhood so that it can get familiar with its future location. Put some dog toys, blanket, and water at the designated place in the house.

How Will Cats Handle the Move?

As mentioned, a typical cat does not like changes. They are prone to behavioral and health issues caused by the stress of relocation.  So, prepare your cat for your big international moving ordeal by introducing moving boxes in advance. You can either shelter them in a separate room while packing or leave them with a friend. Try to maintain the daily routine, including the feeding schedule, as regular as possible. Leave the carrier nearby for the cat to explore it well in advance and place its favorite blanket or toy inside. Give your cat treats when it comes inside.

Relocating with Fish, Birds or Hamsters

  • Fish are difficult to move for obvious reasons. For shorter trips, you can put them with their tank water in bags, but longer trips can be fatal for them, so it is best not to move them at all. 
  • Birds, too, can get very nervous about changing the environment, so make sure you transport them in their cages. 
  • Hamsters also do not favor change much. In fact, their hearts might not withstand the stress, so transport them in a suitable carrier and try not to tumble them around.
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

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