There are many details to take care of when getting ready for pet travel on an upcoming trip. Should I fly or drive with my four-legged friend? Are there any pet friendly hotels where we're going? Have I packed everything he's going to need? It's extremely important that everything is taken care of ahead of time to make sure he has a stress-free adventure.
But what if your company is relocating you and your family across the country, or even overseas? Is it time to take that opportunity and move somewhere that's warm all year round? Planning for a move is much more of a daunting task than planning a trip. Packing, finding your new home, selling your old home, getting the kids enrolled in a new school, address changes - the list is endless. And of course, you've got to make all the arrangements for your family's best friend to move with you.
It can all be very overwhelming.
If a move is in your future and you've got furry family members, a pet relocation service may be a good option for you. They handle all of the details of getting your pet to your new residence safe and sound.
How Do I Choose a Pet Relocation Service?
Your pet is precious cargo; you won't trust just anyone to move your dog 5,000 miles or even 5 miles. How can you be sure which company to trust? Thankfully, the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) was founded in 1979 "to provide professional, competent and caring pet transportation relocation services throughout the USA and around the world." This network is made up of professional pet shippers who are registered with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and adhere to the rules and regulations of the USDA's Animal Welfare Act. You can find a trusted pet relocation service by visiting IPATA's website.
Keep in mind that the company you work with does not need to be in your current city or in your new destination. After you start narrowing down which IPATA members you're interested in working with, jot down a list of questions that you have about the pet relocation process. Here are some important things to ask:
- What are your policies and procedures?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- How long have you been transporting pets?
- How long will it take to get my pet to our new home?
- How often do you stay in touch with me during the trip?
- Who will be my point of contact throughout the duration?
- What are your fees? Is that the total cost? - How will you ensure that my dog or cat gets fed and has enough water?
As you're interviewing the services, they should be happy to answer any and every question you have. Don't forget to request testimonials from happy and satisfied owners who have used that company's service. When you make your final decision, it's important to feel confident in their abilities - they are handling a very special family member. They Make it Easy IPATA's pet relocation members are experts in arranging door-to-door service for your pet. You do not have to handle any of the travel arrangements because it's all taken care of for you. Pet relocation professionals know the best airlines to work with, the most reliable pick up and delivery services, as well as all the regulations and restrictions surrounding transporting animals (and when these regulations change).
If you are moving overseas, your new country of residence will have its own regulations regarding the importation and exportation of animals. You may recall our post on international pet travel and the fact that there is a good deal of paperwork that needs to be taken care of before your pet can enter a different country; some countries even require a pet passport! Paperwork aside, there may also be quarantine periods. Your pet relocation company will make sure that all of the required paperwork is in order and be able to debrief you on the country's quarantine or other import policies. Pet relocation companies exist to make moving your pet a lot less stressful.
Who Shouldn't Use a Pet Relocation Service?
On a tight budget? You may find after looking into various pet relocation companies that you underestimated the cost of getting your pet from point A to point B. In addition to paying the documentation fees, ground transportation fees, airline fees, etc., you still have to pay the relocation company for their time. This is something to take into consideration as you're planning your move.
Another factor that must be considered is that there are some pets that most pet relocation companies consider to be "at risk". There is no specific age limit for dogs and cats, but it is always critical for owners to put serious thought into the amount of stress their elderly pet can endure. High-anxiety pets may also pose a risk for hyperventilation or injury to themselves if they are not properly crate trained and conditioned well ahead of the actual moving date. Also, brachycephalic dogs like pugs or English bulldogs have delicate respiratory systems that could possibly become impaired under a high stress situation. Consult with your vet in order to make the best possible decision for your beloved companion.