Moving to another country is a stressful and difficult experience for almost anybody. We can only imagine how it must feel to our pets, which tend to get extremely anxious when they are taken away from their comfortable environment. Besides, relocating with an animal won’t be an easy trip for you either; it takes quite some effort and sometimes a considerable amount of money. Though every pet owner would do whatever it takes in order to ease the transition for their beloved friend. And the journey doesn’t necessarily have to be a burden for any of you two.
Planning is probably the most important stage. The first thing you need to do is learn about pet laws and regulation of the country/state you are moving to. These should be easy to obtain online, from the Veterinary Office or Department of Agriculture. Exotic animals will most likely require a special permit. Moreover, some residential areas don’t allow animals such as pigs or chicken.
Take your pet to the veterinarian to see if there are any issues that might make the relocation more difficult. Make sure your pet has all the necessary vaccines for travel or boarding and get a health certificate; you will need it when travelling by plane. If you have an anxious or even aggressive pet, you might want to get a sedative for the trip. Also, it’s not a bad idea to get a microchip for your pet.
If you are traveling by plane, make the reservations directly with the airline. Most of the times, cats and small dogs can fly in the cabin, in a carrier, while large pets will probably be required to go in the cargo area. Airlines have specific regulations regarding pets transported in the cargo area, for example if the temperature is not right (too cold or too hot), so you should confirm that your flight will accept pets. Find out what maximum carrier measurements are allowed. You don’t want your pet to be cramped in a small and uncomfortable box. Also, it’s advisable to travel on the same flight as you pet. Puppies and kittens less than eight weeks old are not allowed to be transported by air, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, so you might want to consider that when you book the flight.
Arrive extra early at the airport so you’ll have enough time to make sure that everything is alright (possible airline changes, pet’s documents) and deliver your pet to the air terminal at least 45 minutes before departure. Don’t feed them anything before take-off and give them water about two hours before the flight.
There is also the possibility to hire a pet travel company. You will have to pay for their services, but it will save a lot of time and nerves. They will gather all the health documents, book a pet friendly flight and arrange all transportation details.
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