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7 Ways to Get Your Pet Ready to Move Overseas

Published on: March 15, 2024  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

cat eating from bowl and dog watching

Preparing your pet for an international move goes beyond just physical logistics. It's about understanding that your furry friend is a part of your family and deserves the same level of care and consideration when it comes to such a significant life change. Communication with your pet may not be as straightforward as with other family members, but it is crucial to ensure they are mentally prepared for the journey ahead. This means taking the time to help them adjust to the idea of a new environment, different smells, and potentially unfamiliar surroundings.

Ultimately, the key to preparing your pet for an international move is to approach the process with patience, understanding, and love. By taking the time to help your furry friend adjust to the upcoming changes, you can ensure that they feel secure and supported throughout the journey. And when you finally reunite with them in your new home country, the joy and relief of being together again will make all the effort and planning worthwhile.

1. Create a timeline

Preparing your pet for an international move requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. It's essential to create a comprehensive timeline that acts as a roadmap for vet appointments and essential paperwork. Neglecting to adhere to each country's specific requirements could potentially jeopardize your furry friend's entry. By maintaining a well-structured checklist and calendar, you can guarantee that no crucial task is overlooked throughout this significant process.

2. Talk with your vet

One of the first things on your timeline should be an appointment with your vet. Identifying the essential health requirements and necessary paperwork for your furry companion should take precedence. Each country has their own requirements for pet travel which can include a microchip, vaccinations, blood tests, and other mandatory treatments. Many of these items have specific timing requirements or waiting periods. You'll need to follow all the rules to a T so you don't run into any issues when your pet arrives to your destination. 

3. Work with a professional

Pet travel specialists like Starwood have extensive knowledge of the complexities involved in transporting animals globally. They are well-equipped to handle the unique challenges of selecting the safest and most efficient travel route for your furry companions. As you embark on a lengthy journey, these challenges can become even more intricate. Factors like weather conditions and airplane size may present additional hurdles that may not typically be considered. By entrusting a professional pet transport company with your pet's travel logistics, you can save time and have peace of mind knowing that their journey is in expert hands.

4. Acclimate your pet to their travel kennel

Every pet traveling by air is required to be transported in an IATA-compliant carrier or crate that meets stringent safety and durability standards. To best prepare your furry friend for the journey, it is recommended to purchase the crate well in advance and get them acclimated. This allows them ample time to familiarize themselves with their new space, ensuring they feel comfortable and at ease by the time departure day arrives.

5. Decide which pet belongings to bring along

When relocating to a new country, downsizing becomes essential. Moving household items can incur high costs, especially when transitioning to a smaller living space. It's crucial to sift through your pet's belongings, such as their cherished dog beds and beloved cat toys. When your pet flies, they won't be able to bring any luggage with them, so keep that in mind during your packing and planning process. The only items that pets can fly with are their original paperwork, travel kennel, food/water bowls that attach to the kennel, thin blanket, t-shirt or towel that smells familiar, and a crate pad (no more than 3 inhes thick). Other items run the risk of getting lost or won't be accepted by the airline. Pay extra attention that you don't pack away your pet's paperwork for travel, or you could run into major issues later.

6. The day before departure

As you near the final stages of preparation, feeling the weight of completing countless tasks to ready your family for the upcoming move, you find yourself on the brink of the ultimate moment. Tomorrow marks the eagerly awaited Big Day for your pet. (For families relocating to countries with quarantine requirements, sending pets ahead is a common choice.) Surprisingly, a sense of calm washes over you, reassured by your thorough readiness.

To ensure a smooth journey for your pet, take a moment today to double-check everything:

  • Make sure your pet's paperwork is in order and all original documents are on-hand.
  • If you already have the travel kennel, make sure it's put together properly and lined with a thin blanket, t-shirt or towel that smells like home and a crate pad under 3 inches thick.
  • Pack a zip lick baggie with 2-3 servings of food to go on top of the kennel.
  • Fill the water bowl half-way with water and stick it in the freezer for the night. That way, it will last longer on the day of travel.
  • Make sure your pet's flight is confirmed and take a peak at the flight status and weather for departure time.

Allocate extra time today to engage with your furry companion. A good workout will help alleviate pre-travel jitters for both of you. Shower them with affection and enjoy some quality bonding time. Amidst any recent changes your furry friend may have faced, your unwavering presence remains their anchor.

7. Travel day

The key to a successful departure day for your furry friend is to radiate a sense of calm. While it may not be easy, remember that your demeanor sets the tone for your pet. By staying positive and relaxed, you can help your furry companion feel at ease as you embark on the final pre-flight check and head to the airport. Before you know it, you'll be joyfully reunited with your beloved pet in your new home country.

And when you and your furry family member finally arrive at your destination, how should you welcome them after their international journey? It's simple - shower them with kisses, cuddles, and of course, some tasty treats!


*Photo by Greeshma Gangadharan on Unsplash

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