Moving home? Tips for moving your pets locally or interstate

Moving your pets can be stressful for you and you pet but there are lots of things that you can do to reduce the stress a lot, and help your pets to adjust to their new surroundings quickly. There are different things to think about if you're moving locally or interstate.

Some tips regardless of how far you're moving

  • First off, take care of your own stress. Pets can sense your moods and it can affect them, so read our tips on how to cut the stress out from a move.
  • Then, focus on your pet. Keep their routines regular as much as possible, as close as possible to the moving date.
  • Make sure your pets are registered and have their ID tags or chips. In unfamiliar surroundings pets can get lost or run away, so you want the best chance of finding them if they do.
  • Decide who in the family is responsible for looking after the pet on moving day.
  • Give your pet a taste of home immediately by surrounding it with familiar things such as bowls and toys.
  • Organise the correct size animal carrier for your pet. Some pets won't need one, but a carrier can definitely make the moving better for cats and small dogs.
  • It’s a good idea not to feed pets substantial meals during the trip, but rather have snacks and plenty of water.
  • Incorporate breaks and exercise time for pets into the trip (unless it's very short), and plan for their normal body functions by taking a litter box for cats and scoop and plastic bags for dogs - even on short journeys.

Tips for specific types of pets

  • Take dogs for local walks immediately to let them become familiar with the surroundings.
  • Cats should be in one room without lots of throwing boxes around and tearing things open. You might think your cat is unhappy cooped up but until they're familiar with their homes they'll not want to venture out much (unless they're frightened by loud noises in which case they're likely to run away or get lost). Rooms with windowsills are great as they let the cat look outside but not be outside. A great trick for cats is to cover their paws with butter - this forces them to clean themselves a lot which can comfort them.
  • Caged pets like hamsters or reptiles should be kept in cages as usual and covered.
  • Fish might become bruised while traveling. Liquid healing agents to put into the water are available at pet shops

Extra steps for moving your pets interstate

Visit your vet

  • Take your pet to a veterinarian for a checkup and health documents if needed.
  • Sedation may be an option to discuss with your vet too.
  • Inquire about sedation for pet
  • Get your pet’s health record
  • Ask your vet to recommend a colleague in the new city.
  • Check with a vet in your new area that your pet meets local laws and regulations – some states have curfews or bans for different animals.

If you're flying with your pet

Airlines that accept pets for transportation have specific regulations covering their passage, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied. When making inquiries, be sure to ask about transportation charges and pet insurance.

Reservations should be made well in advance as the number of pets allowed on each flight is limited with places on a first-come-first-served basis.

For dogs and cats, many airlines recommend their own travel kennels supplied from their own freight departments.

It is better to ship pets only during moderate weather, and then either on early morning or late evening flights. Occasionally in inclement weather your pet won't be allowed to fly.

If you're driving

Unless your dog or cat is already conditioned to car travel, start taking it on short trips to accustom it to car motion and teach it travel manners.

For either a dog or cat, a carrier or portable kennel is one of the most useful items you can have on a car trip.Have your dog’s nails clipped before the trip to prevent scratches and upholstery damage to the car.

A few treats will do for snacks during the day.Plan stops at regular intervals to give your pet a drink and a short run away from traffic (and keep them on the lead).

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