Relocating can be a stressful time for everyone, including the family pet. With preparation, planning, and affection, you can help your pet through the process and happily adjust to a new home. These tips are primarily for dogs, but many can apply to other domestic pets.
If you have to move quickly— such as for a job relocation—consider the strong possibility that you will have to arrange for your pet’s move to take place after your own. Find a trusted friend or family member who your pet can stay with while you get everything in order, and work with both your current vet in Australia and your soon-to-be new vet to make sure you don’t miss any important steps.
- Obtaining some documents can take up to six weeks. First, confirm with your international pet transport company what documentation you will need and the specific timing for each item. They can handle all this for you, if you prefer, which can save you countless hours of online research and phone calls and office visits.
- Just like humans your furry friend is going to need a passport.
- To obtain a pet passport, your animal will first need to be micro-chipped and have a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before departure.
- Find a veterinarian at your new location.
- Select a pet transport company that specialises in pet transfers. Crown can provide recommendations.
Preparing your pet
- Maintain a normal routine and stay on the same feeding and walking schedule before and after the move.
- Help nervous pets become more at ease. Prior to the move, put moving boxes inside in plain sight; move them around so the sound becomes familiar.
- A few weeks before the move, gradually re-familiarise them to their carrier/crate by putting it in the open with a couple of their toys inside, then put in a treat a day or so later and eventually place their meals inside the open carrier. Soon they’ll eat their meals in the carrier with the door shut. Small pets can be carried around in the carrier or taken for a short drive. Reward your pet with treats and playtime afterward.
- You will need to ask your vet for a Fit-To-Fly certificate as close as possible to your departure date. Dogs will also need a tapeworm treatment. Your vet will then issue your pet with its very own passport.
- Rabies vaccination and certificate: For most foreign countries, your pet’s rabies vaccination must be at least 30 days old but less than one year old. That means if your dog or cat received a 3-year vaccination more than a year ago they will need a booster to meet the timing requirement. You’ll have to provide a signed rabies certificate.
- It is suggested that dogs have been vaccinated for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus. Cats are suggested to have the following vaccinations: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP).
On moving day
- Either leave your pet with a friend, sitter or boarding facility or keep them in a quiet room with soft music playing and the door shut.
- Bring in their favourite blanket and toys and fresh water and put a sign on the door so your pet isn’t accidentally let out.
- Some movers prefer to not have pets around during packing due to liability reasons, so check with them beforehand.
Settling in your new place
- Let your pet explore their new surroundings. Initially, your pet may want to stay close to the family. Don’t isolate your pet in a room by themselves; this can cause them to develop anxiety and discomfort.
- Place bedding, toys, food, and water in similar spots in your new home as they were in your previous location. If the food bowls were by the kitchen door in your old place, keep them by the kitchen door in your new home.
- If the new location has steps, but your previous one did not help your pet by gently guiding them up and down the staircase one step at a time using a leash if necessary. Reward your pet with plenty of praise and encouragement until it becomes second nature.
Moving with pets internationally is a long, often stressful process, but having your best friend with you in your new home is worth it. Happy tails and happy travels!