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A step-by-step guide to moving your best friend

How do you feel when you change your surroundings? We bet the answer is: a bit insecure, uncomfortable and unsettled. Chances are your pet feels the same way. With the support of our pet-moving experts, we have developed a step-by-step guide to make your relocation abroad with your furry (or sometimes feathered!) friend less stressful.

1. Planning the move

From medical checks to crates and passports, relocating with your pet needs a lot of preparation, so it’s important that you start making all the arrangements in advance. 

Moving your pet from country to country involves some health examinations, having an up-to-date pet passport and other important check-ups. It is essential to check with a veterinary professional what needs to be done and when – for instance, some vaccines need to be administered some days before a flight.

For long distances, air transport is the best solution and International Pet and Animals Association (IPATA) members are the best choice to ensure that your pet is transported safely to your new home.

As an international removal and relocation company with a network of pet transfer specialists, Crown Relocations can provide you with a broad range of services to take care of your beloved family member before, during and after the move.

Some common services are:

  • Pet transport advice
  • Handling of pet documentation
  • Custom-made crating 

2. Booking your flights

Many owners prefer to travel on the same flight as their pets. While this is possible, animal seats on flights are limited, so preparing in advance is essential. It is always a good idea to wait until your pet’s flight is confirmed before booking your own. 

Let your pet specialist know your preferred flight dates, airline and any other important details to consider for the booking. Bear in mind that direct flights are better for your pet as the departure and the landing are the most uncomfortable parts of the journey for them.  

If you are unable to travel on the same date as your pet, accommodation for them can be arranged close to the airport. These accommodations are supervised by specialized staff who provide food, any necessary medications and any other attention your pet might need. 

3. Getting ready to go

You’ll need to gently introduce changes in your pet’s lifestyle before you leave, but try to keep your daily routine as normal as possible.

The most important thing you can do at this stage is to buy a suitable crate for the journey and then familiarize your pet with it. Before purchasing a kennel for the journey, it is important that your pet is measured correctly. They should have enough space to stand without their ears touching the roof and enough space to lie comfortably.

According to IPATA, suitable traveling crates should:

  • Be well-aired from all sides and built with a resistant material
  • Have doors that close correctly without the option of opening from inside

Steps for familiarization:

  • Leave the crate in a familiar place with your pet’s favorite toy inside
  • Feed your pet from the crate
  • Try to keep your pet inside the crate for short periods of time

4. Setting off

If possible, avoid your pet being at home when the relocation transport comes to move your furniture and belongings. Having unknown people moving around in their territory can be stressful for your pet. Why not ask a friend or relative to take care of them that day?

On the day of the journey, leave your pet’s favorite toy inside the traveling crate along with an item of your clothing (for example, the pyjamas of the night before) that carries your own natural scent. This will help them to be more relaxed during the journey and miss you a bit less.

Last but not least, remember that the check-in for your pet is normally four hours before the flight, so get there with plenty of time to spare.

5. Arriving in your new country

When your pet arrives (depending on the destination) they may have to wait for a while. Quarantine is sometimes required and your pet may have to stay overnight at the airport if the flight lands outside of working hours.

6. Arriving in your new home

If possible, you should start working on your pet’s arrival in advance. When furnishing your new home, think about where your pet will be based. Search for a comfortable and warm spot where the family’s conversations can be heard. This is important, especially at the beginning, when your pet might feel insecure in the new environment. Avoid changing or washing bedding and try not to clean toys before or after the relocation to keep the familiar smells. 

Another good tip is to hide your pet’s favorite objects around the house. When your pet arrives, they can start exploring the new surroundings and search for their toys. This first experience in the new environment will be extremely positive.

However, the settling-in process is not over. It will still take some time until your pet is familiar with the new environment. Here are some tips to bear in mind during the first weeks:

  • Let your pet explore the new house
  • Set some rules, so they know where they can and cannot be
  • Let your pet explore the neighborhood little by little, keeping to the same paths to begin with

The most important thing is to re-establish a daily routine as soon as possible, as this is the key to your pet's adjustment. Soon your pet will feel right at home in your new surroundings.

To talk to a Crown representative about your move, visit our Find an Office page. 

Relocating internationally with your pet requires lots of planning, which is where Crown Relocations can help.

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