Moving is the 4th most stressful time in one’s life according to leading psychologists. Right up there with death in the family, divorce and having a major illness. Moving your precious pet often is the most important part of moving, especially overseas.
After 36 years of moving people and their precious family members, and having moved on average every three years of my life since birth, I can empathize completely with this issue. It has become our company culture, that whenever a pet is relocating with the family, the care is focused on the pet and the family.
It is critical for the individual responsible for assisting the family to ensure the pet is the priority, not that other things aren’t but focusing on the most important aspect often leads to all other good things falling into place. First Things First as Steven Covey would say.
I would like to offer a few key suggestions on how to ensure your pet is properly and happily relocated:
1. First and foremost is to get a clear and concise list of all export and import requirements of the countries involved as well as the timeline for each step required.
2. Consult your veterinary about the requirements to ensure all shots and your pet’s Health Certificate is updated.
3. Timing is critical to minimize the travel time to reduce the stress your pet will have to undergo.
4. Make sure you buy a good cage, and that your pet gets plenty of “cage” time before the journey to feel comfortable. This will help your pet feel more at home. Especially cats who are more attached to their surroundings vs. dogs that are more attached to people.
5. It is always preferable to take your pet with you on the same flight as you are on. This saves time as your pet doesn’t have to go to the cargo terminal first which requires much earlier check in time and collection time at destination. Accompanied pets may be checked in at the counter and collected at the destination airport in the baggage area. To do this you have to work with your airline to make a booking on your flight. It’s also less expensive to move your pet this way vs. airfreight (shipping via cargo terminal).
6. Nowadays, micro chips and blood tests are required for most destinations. Therefore, START as early as possible. For example, you need 180 days from the first blood test to the date you can import your pet into Australia. Each country is different and the origin country (where the pet is moving from) often determines the requirements at destination. The Philippines is low on the list of countries with strict requirements for rabies, hence, it is often necessary to move your pet to another country first.
In conclusion, while this is a stressful time, the stress can be minimized by following the guidelines above and ensuring you engage the services of a professional pet handler.