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How to Move Your Pets – Tips for Moving Dogs and Cats

Bekins Pet Care

Updated: January 22, 2019

If you are a pet owner, moving to a new home also means relocation for Fido, Tabby, and possibly a menagerie of birds, gerbils and tropical fish or even your favorite boa constrictor. Household goods carriers are not in a position to transport pets in moving vans, but, as another step in our continuing program to make moving better for the entire family, would like to present the following information on how to move your pet(s).

The most common methods of transporting pets are by automobile or airplane. Due to new, more stringent regulations, some railways have discontinued carrying pets on board. Most bus lines do not carry pets but we suggest you check bus and rail service in your area just to be sure. There are companies that specialize in moving pets which you might wish to contact. You know your pet better than anyone else so, depending upon the individual animal, the time element and other contributing factors, you can determine the safest and best way for your pet to move to your new home. Whatever mode of transportation you choose, visit the veterinarian first to have your pet pronounced fit for travel. If the animal by nature is high strung or susceptible to motion sickness, the veterinarian may prescribe medication.


Airlines,Airlines Moving Pets which offer safe, speedy transportation, will carry most species of animals and offer guidelines for shipping. Discuss all aspects of your pet’s shipment with the airline well in advance of your planned move. Airlines do regulate the shipping of four-legged pets based on temperature control, and these carrier restrictions vary. For example, one airline will not accept a pet for shipment if the temperature is below 32 degrees or above 80 degrees, taking into consideration both the origin and destination. If possible, you will want to book a weekday flight during slack periods when there is more room in the plane’s cargo compartment and airline personnel have more free time to assist. Make your reservation at least four days early and select a flight schedule that has the least number of transfers and a minimal amount of confinement.

Health Certificate, Etc.

A health certificate and rabies inoculation are required in many provinces and states. Ask your veterinarian or the Department of Agriculture (U.S.) about requirements in the province or state to which you are moving. For instance, Hawaii Requires a 120-day quarantine, at the pet owner’s expense. If you ship your pet by air, two copies of a health certificate will be required on all warm-blooded animals and on birds. The health certificate must be signed by a licensed veterinarian and cannot be more than ten days old. Some airlines also require a rabies record accompany the health certificate.


Bekins Pet Containers Selecting the proper container for transporting your pet by air is important. For dogs, cats and other four-legged pets, the container should be very sturdy with good locks and open ventilation. The bottom must be leak-proof and lined with highly absorbent material.

The water and feeding dishes should be fastened securely in place and should allow for filling from the outside. Proper size is important so that the container does not restrict the animal’s movement – there should be room for the animal to stand up, turn around or scratch. If you’re shipping a dog, remove the leash. Don’t leave it inside the kennel where the dog can get tangled in it. Replace the dog’s collar with one that is flat and light weight. A flea/tick collar is recommended.

Be sure to attach an identification tag – a good idea for your cat, too. The airlines sell containers for four-legged pets that meet all the requirements for safe handling. Due to health requirements to prevent the spread of disease, containers cannot be rented. If you are shipping a bird, you will need to contact your local pet shop for a sturdy container. Some of the heavy duty cardboard containers are good and quite acceptable. Again proper ventilation is required. Shipping in a common bird cage or flimsy container would not be accepted by the airlines.

Shipping pet snakes will require a sturdy, escape-proof container. Wood construction is acceptable. Fish are shipped in plastic containers. Your pet shop or veterinarian can give you directions on acclimating your fish to the container and recommend feeding instructions. Attach a label to the top of the container listing the animal’s name, the address of your new home, or the animal’s destination, a phone number where you can be reached and any special handling instructions. Attach another label that says “Live Animal.”

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