What You Need to Know About Moving Pets to Another State or Region

What you need to know before transporting pets

Australian Shepherd dog with Head out of Window
?Natasha Japp Photography / Getty Images

Moving pets to a new home, in particular to a new state, region or province requires a lot of planning and research. For instance, in Canada, the major national airline recently stopped transporting pets. This severely limits the ability to move a domestic animal across the country.

So, when you're planning a move, make sure you allow time to arrange the safe transport of your companion animals.

Arrange Transport

Decide if you're going to drive with your pet or fly them to the new destination.

Make the necessary arrangements well in advance of your move - at least a month if not longer.

Get a Vet Check

Take your companion animal to the veterinarian for a checkup and let the vet know that your pet will be moving. Tell them where and when and ask what your pet will need in terms of health documents and records.

Also, ask about your concerns about moving your pet. If your companion animal is a senior, there are some precautions your vet may recommend, such as blood work and a heart check.

Ask your vet for a recommendation of a vet in the new city. They may be able to provide you with a vet or the name of an animal hospital.

Your vet should also provide you with a copy of your pet's health records or offer to send a copy to the new vet once you're settled. Ask for a printed copy or electronic version just so you have the records with you while traveling. If you're driving with your pet, you should always carry their records with you.

Check State Regulations

Each state has its own regulations surrounding importing of animals, including domestic pets. To avoid being detained at the border, make sure you check the regulations before you leave. Often, your vet can provide you with the information, but it's also a good idea to keep checking the state website for updates as the move grows closer.

Although most states will perform only random searches, some do check every vehicle that enters. If you have all the papers required, this should not be a problem. If you're flying your pet, some customs officials will check the pet upon arrival. Again, it depends on the state you're moving to.

Health Certificate

Basically, this states that your companion animal is free from diseases and has had all its necessary shots. Dogs and horses must have an interstate health certificate, while cats, birds, hamsters and other small companion animals may need them depending on where you're moving to. Again, speak to your vet about preparing this document and check with the state itself to determine what is required.

Get Your Tags

Most states require that dogs have a rabies' tag stating they've been inoculated against the disease. Usually, your animal must have a rabies' shot every three years. Again, check with your vet or the state regarding the regulations. Cats may need their rabies' shot, too - it's up to the state.

IDENTIFICATION In addition to permanent identity and rabies tags, both dogs and cats should be provided with special travel identification tags. A luggage- type tag with space on both sides for writing is excellent for this particular purpose. The tag should include the pet's name, your name and destination address, and the name and address of an alternate person to contact in case you cannot be located. Other pets are less apt to become lost, but birds are sometimes identified by leg bands; horses and ponies by brands, tattoos, color photos, and/or registration papers. The pet's health certificate may also be used for identification.