When relocating with a pet domestically, some people choose to plan the moves themselves or with only limited support from a pet relocation company (mostly with documents). For these types of situations, it’s critical that pet owners provide all essential items for the pet’s move themselves. Even for those who have retained the services of a pet moving professional, having the following items for the Meet & Greet on the day of travel will assure that they’re provided and not forgotten.
The Travel Crate
If a pet owner chooses to provide their own travel crate, it’s important that the crate has been selected properly for size. However, other issues involving the travel crate can also influence whether it’s accepted by airline officials (and whether it’s truly safe for pet travel). It’s important to check the metal bolts and hardware surrounding the crate multiple times before the pet is checked in for its flight. This eliminates the possibility of an airline official losing an animal from handling a crate that falls apart. Additionally, the crate should be inspected for cracks or damage, and a dirty crate should be cleaned or replaced if it is extremely filthy. A clean, undamaged travel crate will stand out to airline employees among other crates and items that are less eye-catching.
Beyond being eye-catching, crates and aesthetic crate accessories such as decals enable airline officials to immediately ascertain certain information. There should be several “live animal” and vertical arrow stickers. The top of the crate must have a clear adhesive document pouch, an adhesive feeding declaration (sometimes provided by the airline), an IATA species label, and an optional name sticker on the front. Two bowls (food & water) need to be provided that are capable of being attached to the door of the crate.
Extra food can be taped to the top of the crate among the various decals in a plastic Ziploc bag. A thin layer of linen that lines the crate is a good idea, as it gives the animal a small bed but doesn’t present an opportunity for shredding or chewing. It is ideal if the thin bedding smells like the pet's owner. Lastly, the collar and leash should be fastened (snug and taut) to the metal slits in one of the crate's windows.
Several zip ties should be brought in order to seal the crate’s front door immediately prior to check-in. Most crates have a few small holes along the front opening’s top that are ideal for securing the metal door with zip ties. Even though zip ties are not mandated by most airlines for domestic travel, they serve to prevent a careless airline employee from wanting to open the crate for any reason. While an animal escape is uncommon, it has happened and resulted in runaway animals. Zip ties provide peace of mind.
Consult a Professional
It is possible for a pet owner to plan their own pet’s domestic move. When relocating internationally with a dog or cat, it’s wise to seek advice from a pet relocation specialist. When planning an international pet relocation, one must not only consider the varying airline regulations, but also country-specific requirements as well. The documentation that accompanies the travel crate (mostly pertaining to gov’t agencies and veterinary records) varies greatly depending on the destination.
If you’re making an international move and require a pet relocation professional, or if you simply need some accessories and planning for a domestic pet relocation, please give us a call to receive a free quote!