Travelling with pets

You thought about Hydro, but what about Fido?

You are on top of your move! Change of addresses sent, utilities notified, truck rented. But what about your furry sidekick? (or scaly, or slippery, or feathered?)

By now, you’ve already checked the municipal by-laws, as well as any apartment / condo rules, to ensure your pet will be welcomed in your new home, as well as any codes of conduct you will be required to adhere to.  So how do you get from your old home to the new one seamlessly?  By thinking ahead and doing some research!

For short haul moves:

  • Decide whether you are keeping the same veterinarian.  If not, get copies of your pet’s medical records and ask for a referral to a clinic in your new area.  Ditto for your kennel, groomer and pet supply shop.
  • For dogs, start taking walks in your new neighbourhood to familiarize Fido with the sights and smells.

For long haul moves:

Long distance moving with pets requires special considerations.

  • Verify the regulatory entrance requirements: vaccine, certification and possible quarantine restrictions requirements vary.  Be extra vigilant when crossing national borders.  Contact local authorities to avoid any surprises. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency offers helpful advice and certificates.
  • Consider how your pet will travel to your new home.  Read the fine print!  Your moving company may not take animals.  And even if they do, make sure that their methods are right for you and your pet.
    • If you are gearing up for a long distance drive, pack up a travel kit for your pet including extra food, treats, water, bowls, toys, medication, ID tags, towels and other equipment, including a first aid kit. You have the canned food, but do you have a can opener? Plan your route well in advance, giving special consideration to pet-friendly hotels or rest stops. How will you manage a bathroom break? Planning is your key to success!
    • Airlines offer several travel options, depending on the species and size of your pet, ranging from in-cabin, checked baggage and cargo. Book your travel as early as possible as many restrictions exist, including limiting the number of animals on a flight.  Additionally, airlines advise that you book direct flights and avoid flight paths with extreme weather.
    • Cats, dogs and rodents can travel as cargo on Via Rail in Canada, however Amtrak does not permit any pets.  Again, the procedures are quite specific, so book early and read all policies in great detail.
    • Animal relocation companies specialize in transporting pets, including advising on legal requirements.  If your move is too complex, or you’d prefer to leave it to the pros, options abound.

Settling into your new home:

  • Arrange to have your pet cared for on moving day.  In addition to giving you greater peace of mind, you can spare your pet the stress and potential injury that comes from having a whirlwind of open doors, busy people and heavy boxes.  Why not give yourself an extra day to get things ready and welcome your pet to his new home once the basics are settled?
  • Scrupulously check the condition of all fences, railings, gates, doors and windows of your new home.  Is there room to scramble under the fence?  Does the screen push out if jumped on?
  • Check your garden for potentially toxic plants.
  • Follow up on the recommendation for your new veterinarian, kennel, groomer and pet store BEFORE you need them.
  • Contact your local authorities to register your pets, as required.

But my tiger doesn’t fit in my car!

Are you dealing with a creature more exotic than a poodle? Check out Moving Exotic Animals – coming soon!