Moving abroad with pets makes an already emotionally charged event something potentially even more stressful. We’ve already talked about moving with children, providing some great tips on how you can make the move less stressful for everyone. So it’s time to dedicate a special blog post to the other most loved members of the family, our four-legged friends.
And while moving your hamster would hardly cause you (or them!) much stress, moving cats and dogs can turn into a very different story.
It’s no secret that cats and dogs are very sensitive creatures and react badly to the changes in their surroundings. They are used to their set routine and familiar surroundings and can feel threatened by even the slightest change. Considering this it comes as no surprise that moving home can cause anxiety to your little furry friends.
But don’t worry – to help you out, we’ve put together a useful checklist which will make moving with your pet a little bit easier.
Moving abroad with pets: Before your moving day
A few weeks before your moving day, you need to decide whether your pet will accompany you during the move, or if it will be transported by the moving company or a specialised pet travel/export service.
⊗ Before deciding how to transport your pet to your new home you must carefully research all requirements for importing pets into the country you’re moving to. This will save you much trouble in the future and help you decide how to transport your cat or dog.
If your pet is flying with you, call the airline you’ll be flying with, as they may have their own rules when it comes to transporting pets as well as specific requirements for the cattery or kennel you’re using.
⊗ Visit your vet and ensure your pet is vaccinated and microchipped
Seeing your vet is imperative before moving abroad with your pets, be it by plane or using the services of a professional moving company. The medical check is necessary to ensure that your pet is in good health and can deal with the stress being transported a long distance.
In addition, your vet will be able to advise you of any additional vaccinations and must confirm that the rabies immunisation of your pet is up-to-date, which is vital when crossing international borders.
If you haven’t done so already, you will need to have your pet microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 standard microchip.
⊗ Don’t forget your pet passport
Only certified vets can issue a passport for your pet but the good news is that pet passports are standardised throughout the European Union. They contain information such as your pet’s microchip number, their most recent immunisations, your contact details, etc. To arrange the passport, you need to take your pet to the vet and bring their vaccination records.
The bad news is that if you are moving from or to the UK, the conditions around Brexit will directly affect the conditions for bringing your pet with you. Best case scenario, the passport is accepted at least until Dec 2020. Worst case scenario, your pet needs a new rabies injection, a blood test 1 month later and another 3 months before you can take it with you. We’ll try and update this post as soon as possible but this page will always have the latest and most accurate information
⊗ Introduce the kennel /cattery
Undoubtedly, moving will be a scary experience for your pets so you should do your best to make them feel as comfortable and calm as possible. For example, if your pet will be transported in a kennel or crate, get one in advance of your move and let your cat or dog spend some time in it. Put their favourite toys in there and have them sleep in it for a few days.
⊗ Make sure that you get new ID tags for your pet with your new home address and telephone number.
Moving abroad with pets: On the Moving Day
⊗ If your cat or dog is staying with you on your moving day, make sure to keep their routine as normal as possible, such as feeding times and walks.
This may be tricky with so much going on and all the stress that comes with moving, but try to stick to it. Pack their bedding, bowls, and toys at the last minute as they tend to provide great comfort to your cat or dog.
⊗ Don’t feed your pet for a few hours before the transit to prevent any unpleasant situations.
⊗ Try to keep your cat or dog in one room as this will keep them safe during loading and unloading.
This way you’ll always know where your pet is and you will avoid any accidents or injuries.
If you’re using the service of a professional removing company, let them know that you have a pet and show them which room you keep it in.
After the Move
⊗ Spend more time with your furry friend
Once you have moved to your new home, keep your dog or cat confined to one or two rooms, surrounded by familiar things. This will eliminate some of the stress and will help your pet adjust to their new home.
⊗ Give your cat or dog plenty of attention and treats to reassure them that your new home is a nice and safe place to be. Take your dog on regular walks around your new neighbourhood, let them explore and have a sniff around. Be patient, it may take a while until they feel comfortable and calm.
⊗ Research veterinary practices in your new neighbourhood and register your pet.
Check local web directories or ask friends who live nearby for recommendations. Choosing a veterinarian is not an easy task so spend enough time on research, getting feedback from various sources. The web is full of sites for reviews and ratings, so make sure to use them to your benefit.
Moving your pet to the UK – Highlights
AQt the moment, you can move or return to the UK if your pet:
• is microchipped
• have a pet passport or a third party veterinary certificate, bear in mind that you need to bring originals of these documents as photocopies are not allowed.
• has been vaccinated against rabies.
This is likely to change after Brexit. Please visit this page for the latest information.