Moving to a new home interstate or internationally can be an exciting & busy experience. It also can be a stressful time if you have animals that are moving with you. There is a lot involved in making sure your animals make it to their new home in a safe and stress-free way. Trisha has successfully moved her four animals from Sydney to Perth, and works regularly with clients guiding them through the best way to harmoniously move their animals too.
So here is what you need to know before you start planning:
Breaking the News to Your Pets
Your animals notice everything in your lives, not only because they can see the physical signs but also because their silent language involves telepathy (mind to mind communication). This means they know when you’re planning the move, because when you are discussing the move with the other occupants of the house, talking to friends or thinking about your plans, they are picking up the information from your thoughts in both these cases. That is why it is so important that they get the whole information in a calm way and not bits and pieces whereby they are not clear what is exactly going to happen to them. Imagine if someone was planning your relocation and you had never travelled before, hearing just snippets could make the upcoming event quite terrifying. So I always recommend a consultation well before the move to clear up all the details for your pets so they can rest assured they will be okay and taken care of, and closer to the time to remind them of what is going to occur and some clients ask me to walk them through as it is happening on the day they travel including the actual flight. That any of their questions can then be answered to make this move an easier transition. What will happen to me? Will my person be with me? What will it be like at their new home? Imagine the peace of mind this will give you, to know that it will be smooth sailing for all your much loved fur family members, including you. Of course if you learn how to communicate in this way with your animals yourself, then it can be a continuous dialogue.
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Booking Your Pet’s Flight
Did you know you could book your pet’s flight to match with yours? JetPets Travel is Australia’s leading family owned pet travel agency that ensures the welfare and safety of your animals when they travel. You can hire or purchase their airline approved travel crates for your animal, and they can help you choose the right size too. They have holding facilities available so your animals can relax and wait until it’s time to depart, with JetPets Veterinarians onsite at all times to ensure your animals are safe and happy before departure.
To learn more about JetPets Travel & book your animals’ flights, head to
Transport: The Crate
Preparing your crate will improve your pet’s experience during the flight. Add a wee absorbent pad at the bottom with shredded paper over the top to make it easier for your pet to relieve itself and also to be more comfortable. Adding a piece of your clothing with your scent inside the crate will make a world of difference to your pet; the familiarity will comfort them if they get nervous. Cats prefer to be in a dark quiet place when in a noisy environment. It is ideal to attach a small towel over the top of the crate door. On the day of departure, have a frozen water bottle ready to put into the water feeder attached to the inside of the crate. Your animal can lick the condensation off throughout the flight.
If your animals are crate trained, meaning they feel comfortable and safe in a crate for periods of time, then your animal will be safe and happy for the duration of the flight. If your animal is not crate trained, you can desensitise them. Have the prepared crate sitting in your living room or the backyard, depending on where your animal hangs out the most. Make sure the door is open and secured so it does not close on your animal when unsupervised. Allow your cat or dog to take their time sniffing and moving towards the crate. Let them investigate the crate on their terms whenever they like. As they feel more comfortable around it, feed your animals near the crate. Encourage your animal into the crate by feeding their meals inside it with the door open. Once they feel comfortable with this, you may start closing and opening the door for a few seconds whilst they are eating. Extend the time you have the door closed until they are comfortable to sit in it without protest.
Your Animals’ Health
It is required that your animals have a vet check-up before they travel. Dogs must be up to date with a C5 vaccination and cats must have their F3 vaccination. If you get titre tests (test your animals for anti-bodies instead of vaccinations) for your pets, it is recommended that you present your certificate showing your animals are up to date. It is wise to microchip your animals beforehand, and ensure they are flea and worm protected.
Sedation is not recommended for your animals as they are less likely to drink water during the flight and it can affect their blood pressure. You can use alternative solutions to help relax your animals in the days leading up to their flight. Bach Flower Remedies are a list of 38 Flower Essences with fantastic properties to balance emotions for animals and people. The dosage is the same for people and animals, adding 3 drops twice a day in your animals’ food or rubbing the drops on their ears or between their shoulder blades 2-3 times a day. The most ideal Bach Flower Remedy for your animals’ relocation is Rescue Remedy, to relax and calm and Walnut, which is designed to help cope with major events or change. You can purchase these Essences online or through a holistic veterinarian. The Rescue Remedy is available at most pharmacies. It is ideal to begin treating your animals with the Flower Essences a week before departure, during and at least 2 weeks after. Because even packing and unpacking can be quite unnerving to animals especially cats. They hate change and this can trigger other behaviours such as spraying and hiding.
The Day Before Departure
We are almost there! Preparing for the day of departure will make the day smoother and more relaxed for you and your pet.
- Your pet’s travel crate is prepared and your pet is crate trained.
- You have their vaccination certificates packed with you to present to JetPets.
- Their flight is booked to match yours, and you have confirmed their booking.
- You have administered the Bach Flower Essences including in the frozen water bottle.
The most important part of your pet’s travels is preparing them mentally for what’s going to happen over the next 24 hours. Even if you have booked a consultation with me to keep them abreast of the situation, you can clearly visualise to your animals what is going to happen to reassure them.
Take a few deep breaths to settle your mind and centre yourself. Using your imagination, clearly create a video clip in your mind’s eye of your animal’s routine for the day of departure:
- Going for a walk or play time before you leave home.
- Your animals are settled into their crates. They feel safe and relaxed.
- Carrying them to their transport, driving to the pet freight terminal – seeing people and hearing strange noises.
- If they are going to be removed from their carrier and placed in an enclosure and then back into their crate.
- The frozen bottle is added into the feeder attached to the crate door, so they may see a person and a hand going into their carrier.
- Visualising your face to them and reassuring them that you will be on the same flight with them the whole way.
- They are in their crate possibly surrounded by other crates with all sorts of animals.
- They are put onto a large trolley and driven out to the plane; they can hear the noises around them.
- The crate gets picked up and put onto a conveyor belt, and people may be talking around them that they can see.
- They are all stacked into a separate section of the plane.
- They begin to hear a loud roaring noise as the plane’s engines fire up and we take off.
- Visualise the hum of the plane after take-off and visualise them relaxed and falling asleep.
- Visualise the plane jolting a little as it lands in the new place.
- An animal attendant walks past and looks into your crate to check on you.
- You watch other animals in crates leave, you are picked up and put onto a trolley and you are taken to a building that looks familiar to the one before.
- You can hear your people’s familiar voices and an attendant picks up your crate and brings you to your family. Your family is excited and happy to see you.
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Our animals can reflect ourselves – when we are happy, stressed, relaxed or anxious, they can feel it too. Try to stay positive and calm, and your animals will feel relaxed for the duration of the journey.
Day of Departure
Exercising your animals before you leave will help release any excess energy and reduce stress. It is best to not feed your animals the morning of their departure. It is easier on their stomach and less chance of travel sickness! Do not put any hard or precious objects such as favourite toys in the crate – if your animal does mess them up, the attendants may have to throw them out. You can repeat the visualisation process above again before departure, so they are very familiar with what will happen. It is crucial you do this visualisation throughout the journey, and ‘be’ with your animals for every step of the way, remembering to run through things just slightly before they happen. E.g.; the roaring of the engines and take-off, so they are prepared. As stressful as it can be moving and travelling with your animals, it is important for you to stay calm and positive so your animals will be too.
Arriving at the new home
Once at their destination place the crate down and open the door. Let them take as long as they like to come out. Remember to have all doors closed as an escape at this time in an unknown environment could be disastrous. Also confine them to one room until they fully investigate and then begin to open up other areas to them. Make sure they have their favourite food at their next mealtime. A great way of getting your animals used to the new place is bringing their staple possessions with you when you fly over. Their regular food and water bowls, their favourite beds, toys and anything else you feel will bring familiarity. As dogs are confined to a backyard and make sure that is very secure, outdoor cats should be confined to the house for the first 2 weeks. After that they need short supervised visits outside to get used to their new environment. Starting a routine with them as soon as you arrive will help to bring some stability and reassurance.