| Apr 22, 2014
In terms of difficulty when it comes to moving with animals, dogs and cats are fairly easy. After all, your furry companions tend to be vocal about their needs, and you can tell from their actions whether or not they’re hungry, tired, thirsty, or in desperate need of a good run. With the right planning and a little extra wiggle room built into your schedule, you should be able to move your canine or feline pet without much of a hassle.
For many pet parents, however, there’s a lot more subtlety and care that has to go into the process. If you have an animal that is kept in a cage or tank (fish, reptiles, rodents, or birds), it’s not enough to plan a pit stop on the road. You may need to hire specialty movers or even consider giving your pet away to someone closer to home. It’s also recommended to always take your pet to a veterinarian for a checkup to ensure they’re healthy enough to make the move.
Moving with Fish: Fish who live in aquariums tend to be the most difficult in long distance moves because they require regular oxygenation and temperature controls (especially if you’re moving a saltwater tank). Some families choose to give these fish to families or friends—or even see if a pet store will adopt the fish back—rather than attempt the move.
If you do move your fish, always transport them separately from the aquarium itself. Fish should be moved in specialty Styrofoam fish containers (pet stores will be able to supply these) in clean, properly warmed water from their original home. In fact, it’s best if you keep as much of this water as possible, transporting it in sealed buckets, if you can. It will be less traumatic for your fish when they arrive to have the familiar water to return to.
Moving with Reptiles: Like fish, most reptiles require temperature regulation in order to survive. For short trips, you can line a cardboard container (with moist towels if they need the damp or dry towels if they need to stay warm), provide air holes, and transport them via car. Large reptiles can even be moved in dog or cat crates, assuming they are properly lined.
Many types of reptiles can actually be transported by mail (as long as you do overnight shipping to reduce the amount of stress on the animal), but you must follow all the guidelines carefully and ensure that you follow laws regarding animal transport across state lines.
Moving with Rodents: Treat your rodent animals the same way you would a dog or cat during a move. If their regular cage is easily transportable, all you need to do is ensure they have clean bedding, plenty of food, a blanket to cover the cage, and you should be all set. (All these items should be secured to the cage to ensure they don’t spill or move around.)
Airlines have their own regulations regarding rodent air travel, but most of the time, a clean, secure crate is all that’s needed to make the move.
Moving with Birds: Birds can be easily stressed out by a move, so plan on being as gentle as possible to your winged companions. Specialty cages exist to facilitate the transition (especially if you’re shipping a bird via plane), and you should always expect to move your bird in a cage that’s clean and has a cover.
If possible, have a cage set up for the bird at your destination—preferably with all his or her favorite toys an comforts in place. This will help them settle in better and unwind from the stresses of travel.