6 tips for a successful move with a pet

Are you moving to another country? New experiences await you and your family – including your pet!
You already know that the first thing to do once your move has been confirmed is to contact a moving company with solid experience in international moving such as Indygo Moving Solutions (see our article: https://www.indygo-moving.com/en/when-is-the-best-time-to-move/).
If you have a pet, you should also think ahead and prepare them for the journey and new environment.
Here’s a checklist to help you prepare for your move with Spot or Fluffy and settle into your new home.

Note: There are many different types of pets. We will concentrate here on the ones that are most common when living abroad: dogs, cats and small mammals. For other feathered, scaly or cold-blooded companions, we recommend that you contact the consulate of your destination country to find out about the documents required to bring your pet into the country.

1. Moving by the rules

First and foremost, it’s important that your pet enters your destination country legally.
Collect all the documents proving that your pet has been vaccinated. The best thing is to arrange a visit with your vet, who will give you a passport for your pet or the vaccination documents and essential medical information, as well as inform you of the rules and laws in force in your future host country. A microchip may be compulsory in your destination country, and vaccinations may vary in frequency or with regard to certain diseases. Be aware that variations exist even within the European Union.

2. Plan ahead

If your pet is taking medication, make sure to have at least a week’s supply to allow time to organise a medical visit at your destination.

If you are taking a plane, make sure your pet can travel with you. Some airlines prohibit or have restrictive regulations on the travel of certain breeds of brachycephalic dogs and cats, in the hold or cabin, because of their breathing difficulties and sensitivity to stress. Please check with the airline whether it will accept your pet.

Buy your ticket as far in advance as possible and indicate as soon as you buy it that you will be travelling with a pet. Each airline has its own policies for welcoming pets on board, including the number of animals allowed on a flight.
Cats and small dogs are often allowed to travel in the cabin in a closed bag or crate, but this is not always the case. Some airlines do not accept any animals in the cabin.
Large dogs must travel in the hold – except for assistance dogs. Make sure to purchase a closed crate of adequate size so that your pet can travel comfortably and safely.
Recognised assistance dogs for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility must be allowed on board at no extra cost, subject to prior notification to the carrier, its agent or the tour operator, as far in advance of the journey as possible.

Flying can be a stressful experience for your 4-legged friend, especially in the hold – in an unfamiliar environment, separated from you, in a cage, etc. So it’s best to choose a direct flight.
Your vet may prescribe something to relax your pet. Please note that your pet must be awake to pass the veterinary checks when boarding.

On the day of the flight, animals have to follow a special procedure that can be a little lengthy, so it’s best to arrive at least 2:30 hours before the plane departs. Moreover, if you’re rushed and stressed because you don’t have enough time at the airport, your pet will sense it and this could increase their level of stress.

3. A few precautions on moving day

Depending on the temper of your pet, you may want to protect it from the comings and goings of removal workers, noise and even doors and gates that are left open by isolating them in a bathroom or a room where they won’t be disturbed.

If, on the other hand, your 4-legged friend is the sociable type and prefers to see what’s going on – even if there’s a lot of movement – and to follow you, if only with their eyes, keep them close to you. In this case, isolation could stress your pet out.

Once at your destination…

4. As soon as you are settled in, have a new medallion made for your pet’s collar with your current contact information.

5. Walk your pet – on a leash at first – in your new environment so that they get their bearings quickly.

6. Make an appointment with a new vet to get to know each other and make sure your pet is in good health.

Bear in mind that your companion may need time to adjust to their new environment and may behave in an unusual way (not wanting to go out, showing signs of stress, etc.) for a short time after your move.