Before the move

Particularly before long journeys, the stress for animals should be reduced to an absolute minimum. If an air journey to the new domicile is necessary, the pet owner could contact the airline ahead of time to find out how and where the pet will be kept for the duration of the flight. The stress for the pet will be more bearable and the flight for all participants more comfortable if the pet can be provided with its sleeping basket or favorite toy.

Pet owners would be well advised to inform themselves early on the website of their future place of residence to see if specific conditions for certain breeds of dogs need to be considered. It is also advisable to already have the address of a vet in the neighborhood of the new place of residence before you move.

The pet owner should bring the food that the pet is used to eating as well as some water from the former neighborhood. A sudden change of water may cause stomach problems.

The day of the move

For pet owners and also for pets it is usually better if the animals are not around on the day of the move, but put into care for one or two days, ideally with a familiar person. 

If this is not possible and the pet is not in care on the day of the move, we recommend packing a care package that stays close to hand. The package should contain bottled water, sufficient food for the upcoming days, the old food and water bowls plus favorite toy. The pet’s favorite sleeping place, such as the blanket, basket or scratching post and the grooming kit with brush, shampoo or flea comb should not be forgotten. Last but not least, the box should also contain the telephone numbers of the present and the future vet.

Cats should be put into special cat baskets before the movers arrive and the transport begins. Such baskets are available in most pet shops. Transport boxes usually have negative connotations for cats because they know them from their visits to the vet. They might therefore fight against being put into them. Pet owners can try to overcome their resistance with patience and tasty food. Sedatives should not be used unless strictly necessary and should only be used in consultation with the vet!

Moving with cats and dogs

When relocated, cats and dogs lose their familiar territory. They therefore need enoughtime to discover and explore their new neighborhood. Cats usually need aperiod ofabout one month to adapt to their new territory. They should therefore not be let outfor the first four weeks. Otherwise they might run away and never return.

Owners of more than one cat should bear in mind that a move may stir up the distinctive hierarchy among the cats. The lead animal often has the most problems adapting to the new home and the new neighborhood. The “lower-ranking” cats may use this opportunity for territorial fights.

Contact with paints and solvents can make it much harder for the pets to become accustomed to the new home because their strong sense of smell will be affected.

Moving with other small pets

Moving with small animals, such as guinea pigs or fish is usually not a problem. However, vets give useful tips for optimizing the move with those pets.

If possible, rodents should travel in dark transport boxes. Most rodents are easily frightened; apart from that, hamsters are nocturnal and mainly sleep during the day. The transport boxes for rodents must be adequately ventilated. On longer routes, food and water must be provided.

Certain animals are considered dangerous by the government or legislators, such as certain dog breeds, poisonous snakes, tarantulas and scorpions. Owners of those animals need permission to keep them. Well before the move, animal holders should check with the local administrative authorities how their animals are classified in this respect.

Userful tips for the journey:

  • Put a blanket or a small toy in the cage, so that the pet feels at home.
  • Put a label on the cage with the pet’s name, age and sex plus contact details (names and telephone numbers) at the place of departure and the place of arrival.
  • Make sure that the pet animal wears a collar which contains all relevant information. If applicable, supply a leash.
  • Prepare a small food parcel for emergencies and attach it to the outermost edge of the cage.
  • Feed the pet 4 to 6 hours prior to departure and supply enough water.
  • Do not give the animal any sedatives.
  • Give the animal sufficient time to empty its bowels before departure.

What you need to know about cages

Cages must be big enough for the pets to be able to stand upright without touching the inner side of the cage with their ears or tails. Since the head of some dog breeds is higher up in the sitting position than in the standing position, the highest position must be used as a measurement.

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