|Whether you are moving a small warm-blooded pet such as a guinea pig, gerbil, hamster, rabbit, ferret, or chinchilla to your new home, it's important that you abide by certain guidelines to reduce your furry friend's anxiety and minimize any stress.
Remember, if your move is stressful for you, just imagine how harrowing it is for a creature unable to comprehend a change in living conditions.
Look up pet travel regulations
Before you do anything, it's important to carefully research pet travel regulations to determine if you can move your pet (especially if you are travelling via aircraft) and ensure she is not prohibited in the district or territory.
For example, in some municipalities it is illegal to own a hedgehog, and those that allow often require licensing.
TIP: It is illegal to mail warm-blooded pets through the Canada Post. The only animals that are permitted via the mail system are certain cold-blooded pets such as lizards, salamanders and frogs.
Prep for the move
When it comes time to prepare your small pet for his big move you have two choices: you can either move him in his current habitat (be it a tank or cage) or move him separately in a carrying crate or container.
When travelling in his current habitat:
- As close as possible to your actual move time, remove anything from his cage or tank that could fall or injure him during travel
- Replace/clean any bedding
- Drape his habitat with a blanket to keep him calm and protected from the elements while still confirming that he has proper ventilation
- Don't completely limit his food or water source during the trip
When travelling via carrying crate:
- Create a soft, clean environment by placing a comfortable blanket on the bottom of the carrier
- Get him adjusted to this new vessel ahead of time by practising a moving run through
- The day of your move, place him in his travel crate/container so he can get acclimated to this new environment before the actual move, but not so far away from moving time that he will be stuck in the crate all day
- Make sure he has access to some food and water while relocating
Travelling by car
The most important thing when transporting your pet by car - since she is not permitted to travel with your moving company - is to ensure she is safe, comfortable and secure.
- Place the tank or carrier in a secured area in the backseat of your car where it will not get jostled during the drive, preferably kept in place with a seat belt
- As you would with all pets during the moving process, keep the heat and/or air conditioning at a comfortable level for your small, warm-blooded friend
- Keep rest stops to a minimum
- Do not lengthen your small pet's moving time any more than necessary
- Leave the car running to maintain a temperature controlled environment
Travelling by plane
Most airlines will allow your petite, warm-blooded pal to travel as cargo on flights, which may be an unfortunate necessity when moving with pets long distance.
To prepare her for her flight:
- Check with your airline to make sure that you can travel with your pet
- If the airline allows it, ask for their rules and regulations regarding pet air travel
- To save time during the check-in and security process, purchase your pet an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved carrier (which you should get her adjusted to ahead of time)
- Prepare any paperwork required by the airline
After your move
Once you have finally arrived in your new home, immediately move your warm-blooded pet to a temperature controlled area away from the hustle and bustle of the ongoing move.
Don't forget to refill his water and food containers, readjust his environment to its pre-move arrangement and allow him to re-acclimate and de-stress after his moving ordeal. If you have transported him in a separate carrier, now is the time to return him to his tank or cage.
After he has returned to a normal routine, you can move your pet and his living arrangements to a more permanent location in your new home.